At the launch of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) manifesto – a coffee table book called The Way Forward – on 28 September, retired army regular officer Mr Clement Puah Neo stood up during the Q&A session to comment about how it is wrong to classify Singaporeans as being disloyal for disagreeing with government policies.
Mr Puah Neo said he finds it “incredulous” when ministers in the government consider him disloyal when he objects to some of their policies or when he disagrees with how they govern the country.
Mr Puah Neo explained, “I’m a grandfather, I love my grandchildren. If you love your grandchildren, think about it what sort of legacy you want to leave behind.”
He then urged government servants, civil servants, Singapore Armed Forces personnel, and anyone else who works in government service to let go of their fear in questioning government policies and decisions.
Quoting Dr Tan Cheng Bock, he exclaimed, “This fear must go.”
In August this year, Dr Tan Cheng Bock spoke at the launch of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) where he said there were still many talented individuals who let their fear stop them from participating in politics.
He added, “So I tell them to use the fear as the reason to come up because you have the moral duty to make sure your children don’t experience the kind of fear you’re experiencing now.”
Mr Puah Neo later said that while Singapore survived the decades following independence as it was led by a group of intelligent people, the country is what it is today because of the efforts of thousands of Singaporeans who have worked very hard to build it up. He emphasised, “it’s not just those few in the cabinet that you see”.
Urging Singaporeans to let go of their fear, Mr Puah Neo said: “So get away this fear. You are not disloyal when you disagree with government policies. You are loyal to your country Singapore and you are faithful to your fellow Singaporeans. “