Govt will need to be more open, says PM

SINGAPORE - In a Washington Post interview, Mr Lee says the Government will become more transparent to adapt to society today, even if politics becomes untidy and its outcomes less predictable

Politics has become untidier and outcomes more difficult to predict, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, adding that he hopes the nation will be able to manage this major change safely over time and not suddenly.

The Government will have to work more openly as it navigates this transition to "normal politics", he said in a Washington Post interview published last Friday.

"It's a different generation, a different society, and the politics will be different," said Mr Lee. "We have to work in a more open way. We have to accept more of the untidiness and the to-ing and fro-ing, which is part of normal politics."

The Post asked Mr Lee about the People's Action Party's loss of seats in the 2011 General Election and if the Government would become more transparent and open to social media.

Mr Lee said in reply that the Government was "completely open to social media" and that today, with many more voices, views and interests, "the outcome is a lot more difficult to predict, and the reactions are more difficult to judge".

But that is part of the transformation that Singapore is going through, as it now has a new generation which is growing up with the Internet and Facebook and has access to the whole world, he said.

He spoke of another major change Singapore is undergoing - that of slowing economic growth due to a tightening of foreign workforce growth, a hotly debated topic following the Government's release of its Population White Paper.

"We are accepting a lower growth because we can't just expand our workforce without limit and constraint," he said, adding that Singaporeans feel the physical pressure of the foreign worker influx.

However, he cautioned: "I don't think everybody fully appreciates the consequences of slower growth, which are very serious. You need growth to have the resources to build the infrastructure, housing, to uphold the standard of living."

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