The national conversation is not an exercise in culling sacred cows and it should be balanced, as well as to improve Singapore prudently, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Mr Lee was referring to the Our Singapore conversation, in which thousands of Singaporeans are expected to take part in discussing the country's future over the next year through at least 30 citizen dialogues and a national survey involving 3,000 to 4,000 people.
A 26-member committee was unveiled by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat on Saturday, which include a taxi driver, an entertainment artiste, a social entrepreneur and government representatives.
Mr Lee had first announced the idea of a national conversation in his National Day Rally message.
In an interview with Singapore media on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders' summit, Mr Lee spoke about "returning stones to their original place".
"As I used to say, we leave no stones unturned. But some stones, after we look at them, the original place was quite nice, and we put them back," he said.
His remarks come after what Mr Heng had said on Saturday that the national conversation was not a "culling session" for sacred cow policies, reported The Straits Times.
Mr Lee also reminded people that Singapore is doing quite well compared to the situations in some other countries. It also continues to enjoy a good standing internationally.
"Not only internationally, but even in Singapore we are doing quite well considering the circumstances and comparing the situations that other countries face.
"So, we want to improve, but let's do it prudently," said Mr Lee, adding that the Our Singapore conversation is a chance to look at problems afresh with a new perspective, in a new situation and with a new generation.
"So each time we come back, some problems are revisited, some issues which we did not alter before, we may come to the conclusion we need to make changes.
"We have to take it in that perspective. We can't say that we have had a discussion before, so there is nothing new to discuss. That is not the way the world is."