PM Lee Hsien Loong at People's Association Kopi Talk held at Ci Yuan Community Club.

Simon Lim: Meritocracy in Singapore tainted badly with how ministers’ spouses and military officers with no experience, being appointed to head GLCs

by Simon Lim

“Although faith in Meritocracy is weakening, the ideology will remain a key principle for recognising individuals in Singapore. Though meritocracy is under siege, it has not failed. In the last few years, meritocracy has taken on a negative overtones due to its association with elitism and there has been an ongoing debate over social inequality and stratification in society. Even those who rail against meritocracy struggle to come up with a better system”– Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.

True Meritocracy is a very noble ideal and meritocracy comes from the word, Merit. Over the years and especially during the early years of our nation-building, true meritocracy had served us well when only the truly best people were selected to do the jobs according to his/her merits. And even as inequalities and stratification are also growing, something deeper and more sinister have also been brewing too and if we ignore or pretend that it is not the case, our ostrich mentality will definitely cost our people and our country a great deal.

So, what has gone wrong with meritocracy in Singapore and more specifically, what has gone wrong with meritocracy in the pap government until it has now been much weakened, much questioned, despise and come under siege by our own citizens?

I will be straight-talking. The answer is very simple really if only the Lee Hsien Loong administration is willing to be courageous and honest with itself. The answer is because meritocracy in Singapore under this useless government has been badly tainted.

I repeat. The answer is because the so-called meritocracy in Singapore has been badly tainted and that is why the current government is digging a big grave for truly genuine meritocracy in Singapore. Never, never mistaken mere semblance of meritocracy as truly genuine meritocracy.

Meritocracy when tainted, whether real or perceived, must obscure transparency which is a cornerstone of good governance.

The examples in the pap government are simply too many. People’s Action Party ministers’ spouses being appointed to senior positions in government or government-linked companies (GLCs) and growing numbers of senior military officers with zero private sector experiences whatsoever appointed to head important government agencies and/or GLCs. To me, describing all that as meritocracy is like calling a one night stand in Geylang, a romantic encounter.

I urge the Lee Hsien Loong administration and its ministers including Ong Ye Kung to stop treating and insulting Singaporeans’ common decency and intelligence. Think!

This was first published on Simon Lim’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission.