Putting the country’s interest first is more important than winning votes by pursuing populist policies, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Lim Swee Say.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Asian Young Leaders Convention at River Valley High School on Monday, Lim stressed that leaders must have the courage and be far-sighted enough to introduce tough measures necessary to sustain a country’s progress.
The Convention, which is organised by River Valley High, is an annual event that brings together over 1,200 student leaders, aged 15 to 18, from across Asia to provide networking opportunities.
“I (would) rather be voted out for trying to do the right things which may be unpopular, than to be voted in by people for doing the wrong things,” he said, as reported by mypaper.
Using the European debt crisis as an example, Lim said that leaders in Greece and Spain chose to lower taxes while increasing public spending, hence the crisis.
Earlier in April this year, Lim – who is also the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary-general -- shot down the wage shock therapy proposal put forth by economist and former chair of the National Wages Council, Lim Chong Yah.
Lim warned that raising wages for the lower-income strata would be a “very risky” move. He added that people who welcomed the proposal might not have been aware of the potential costs involved.
The proposal at the time was highly popular with Singaporeans.
When Yahoo! Singapore asked Singaporeans if they think wage shock therapy would work, 65 per cent said they believe’ it is the right move to tackle Singapore’s growing income gap’.
Out of the more than 4,000 people polled, 19 per cent said the proposal requires further thought and the remaining 16 per cent said they feared it would lead to higher costs.
Subsequently a month later, the NWC has – for the first time since 1984 – recommended a minimum quantum of pay rise which the government had accepted. Workers earning below $1,000 are likely to receive a pay rise of at least $50.
A clip of a man hitting an office worker – who appears to be an employee under his supervision - has gone viral in Singapore, sparking outrage and calls for the authorities to step in.