6 Aug 2012, 5.52PM
Singapore cannot completely eradicate fraud and bad conduct, even though it has created a system that is very clean and efficient by international standards, said Law Minister Shanmugam to 1,800 residents at a National Day dinner in Chong Pang on Saturday.
“There will be people who, whatever rules you put in, they will look to find a way around the rules and they will fall for temptation. There is no society in the world, in the past or the present, where every person is totally clean,” said Mr Shanmugam.
He emphasized that in the clean and corruption-free society of Singapore, wrong-doers will be exposed and punished regardless of who and how high they are. "In the last 55 years, the political leadership has emphasised moral rectitude and correct conduct in public service. If anyone breaches that, if anyone goes out of that, it is likely to be found out and severe punishment is certain for those who are guilty."
Mr Shanmugam also touched on the issue of meritocracy, in relation to a Straits Times Forum Page last Thursday that Singapore’s meritocratic system “inflates egos of those who succeed such that their sense of entitlement and privilege can supersede their better judgment”.
He questioned the basis of this statement, as it is not logical to conclude that countries with high meritocracy will have high level of corruption nor that less meritocracy means less corruption. He highlighted that Singapore is built on the fundamentals of meritocracy and equality of opportunity and that the government has to constantly re-examine whether its policies are consistent with these fundamentals.
What are your views on the Singapore system of efficiency and meritocracy?