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Ethical Leadership in the Heart of Singapore: A National Day Reflection by RDU’s Ravi Philemon

Dear Fellow Singaporeans,

As we unite to commemorate our 58th National Day, we extend warm wishes to all. Today, we celebrate not only the progress of our nation but also the guiding values that shape our journey.

Recently, a debate in Parliament centered around the necessity of an impartial and independent Speaker of Parliament.

Advocating for an independent Speaker, particularly in a House dominated by People’s Action Party (PAP) MPs, is a cause we’ve championed consistently. We express gratitude to NCMPs Leong Mun Wai and Hazel Poa for echoing this motion.

A Minister staunchly opposed the original motion, citing potential unlawfulness and limitations beyond what the Constitution prescribes.

Predictably, in a Parliament dominated by the PAP, the motion was replaced with an amendment. Allow me to state plainly: having an independent Speaker of Parliament, detached from the PAP, is neither unlawful nor constraining.

Of course, the Minister may reject the notion, just as Big Business might resist a ban on transporting human beings in lorries, deeming it restrictive and unfavourable.

In another recent parliamentary discourse, the subject revolved around transporting foreign workers in undignified conditions within goods lorries. Fifty-three community groups in Singapore collectively demanded an immediate government ban on this practice.

Red Dot United (RDU) has championed enhanced transport safety measures for migrant workers for over two years. We maintained that treating guest workers fairly and empathetically would symbolize to the world our esteem for human dignity.

While Parliament conceded the unsuitability of lorries for worker transport, the Government failed to implement any new measures for their safety. The Government justified this stance, claiming “knock-on effects” on society including project delays and higher costs. In doing so, it sided with big businesses arguing that imposing a ban would hinder many companies from operating.

At this significant juncture of National Day, it’s apt to ponder the leadership shaping our nation’s course. Leadership transcends solely economic achievements; it’s also about upholding core values that define us.

Recent discussions on the moral landscape of our political sphere prompt reflection on the importance of ethical leadership. A nation’s progress isn’t solely dictated by economic indicators; it’s profoundly influenced by the ethical standards upheld by those in authoritative roles.

RDU’s commitment lies in charting a path based on robust ethical values resonating with Singapore’s spirit. We staunchly believe in leading by example, manifesting our dedication to transparency, accountability, and respect in every endeavour.

Moral and ethical leadership is the foundation of Singapore’s economic well-being.

Upholding transparency, accountability, and integrity nurtures trust and credibility, fostering inclusive growth, inspiring innovation, cultivating a responsible business ecosystem and respect for all human lives.

Ethical leadership, as championed by doughnut economics, encourages sustainable practices, curbs inequality, and fosters long-term prosperity for our economy and people alike.

How can citizens place their trust in a political leadership teetering on the edge of moral decline, seemingly driven to preserve its power hegemony?

In this moment of contemplation, let’s remember that the power to drive change rests within us. Collectively, we possess the capability to reshape norms and elevate leadership standards.

Our goal isn’t to enforce rules even the rule-maker finds challenging, but to inspire transformation through our actions, reminding all that ethical leadership is more than a concept—it’s a living principle shaping our nation’s character.

This National Day, let’s celebrate the potential we possess to carve a future filled with promise. United, let’s navigate toward a brighter tomorrow by embracing a resolute moral compass that steers us through challenges. As we celebrate Singapore’s progress, let’s envision leaders embodying the very values that have moulded our identity.

Happy National Day, Singapore! Let’s continue our journey with unwavering commitment to ethical leadership, ensuring a future we can all proudly embrace.
Warmest regards,

Ravi Philemon
Red Dot United

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