Governance in Singapore
Chapter 2
Governance in Singapore
• SIOs: At the end of the lesson, you should
be able to:
– Understand the government structure of
– Explain the functions of Singapore government.
– Explain the guiding principles of Singapore
– Explain how good governance can be continued
into the future.
Governance in Singapore
Government of Singapore
members of Parliament
makes laws
executes laws
law courts
implements laws
The Structure of Singapore Government
Governance in Singapore
• What is the system of government in
– Parliamentary democracy
• Model after Westminster government system
• Government chosen by the people in an
– Held once in every 5 years
– Candidate with the majority votes will be elected into
the parliament
– The leader of the political party with the most
number of elected members of parliament will
become the Prime Minister
» PM will select from elected MPs to form the
Governance in Singapore
The functions / role of government
Managing resources of a country
Meet the needs of the country
Perform specific functions
Involving people
Governance in Singapore
• The functions of the government:
– The government decides on POLICIES
• to overcome CONSTRAINTS &
• So as to achieve
Governance in Singapore
Definition: GOVERNANCE
The way a government manages resources of a
country so as to achieve economic and social
What are the ways to ensure good
governance? The 4 ‘A’s
Ability to make sound policies
Ability to implement policies effectively
Ability to deliver promises
Ability to gain citizens’ support
Governance in Singapore
• What are the guiding principles of
governance in Singapore? LARA
– Leadership is Key
– Anticipate Change and Stay Relevant
– Reward for Work and Work for Reward
– A Stake for Everyone, Opportunities for All
Governance in Singapore
• Leadership is Key
– Leaders to do what is right rather than what is
popular = PRAGMATISM
• If government does only what is popular (what people
want), they may not have the resources to deal with all
the constraints and vulnerabilities
• Pragmatism requires courage as it is doing what
majority of the people wouldn’t like  becoming less
• e.g. Electronic Road Pricing (ERP)
– Pay-as-you-use scheme
– Greater equity for motorists
– Honesty is also equally important
• Make fair distribution of the resources needed for the
country to progress
• CPIB = Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau
Singaporeans’ views on ERP from a forum.
Leadership is Key
• Ways to manage traffic flow in Singapore
– Land Shortage constraint
• Singapore cannot have too many vehicles on the road
– Will lead to traffic jams  leads to loss of man hours 
lowering of profits for investors  Singapore becoming
less popular for foreign investors
– Frequent road jams will mean that the transport flow of
goods will not be smooth. It’ll take the producers/investors
longer period of time to see profit returns  source for
countries where traffic is smooth
– Methods:
Area Licensing Scheme (ALS) – 1975
Electronic Road Pricing – 1998
Vehicle Quota System - Certificate of Entitlement (COE)
Park and Ride Scheme
Structured-Essay Question
• ‘The Vehicle Quota System (VQS) is the
most important measure in keeping
traffic flow smooth in Singapore’. How
far do you agree with this statement?
Explain your answer. [12m]
Governance in Singapore
• Choy Hon Tim : the largest total bribe amount in CPIB's history
Choy Hon Tim, the former Director of the Electricity Department
as well as the Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) of the Public
Utilities Board (PUB) may not be the most senior public officer
investigated by the Bureau, but his case involved the largest
amount of bribes uncovered. He was investigated in 1995
following allegations that he had received kickbacks in return
for awarding contracts to suppliers and contractors of PUB
when he was a Chief Electrical Engineer of PUB. Choy was
subsequently charged for obtaining gratifications totalling
$13.85 million. He was convicted and sentenced to 14 years' jail
term and the $13.85 million bribe obtained by him was forfeited
to the State.
Governance in Singapore
• Anticipate change and Stay Relevant
– Forward-looking
• Be able to foresee the developments in the future based
on current trends and developments
• Take active steps/measures to cope with future
• E.g. NEWater
– Government prepares for alternative sources of water in
anticipation of the expiration of our water contracts with
Malaysia in 2011 & 2061.
– Increases our level of self-reliance and lowers dependence
on other countries.
– Government prepares our people psychologically to
accept the NEWater
» Aware of the skepticism of Singaporeans over the
quality of it
• E.g. Desalination Plants
– Too costly
Q: Why does the reporter write about the
NEWater in this way? Explain your answer
Q: Can you believe the source in what it says
about NEWater? Explain your answer.
Governance in Singapore
• Reward for Work and Work for Reward
– Meritocracy for the best use of talent
– Stress on self-reliance and not welfare
– A system which encourage people to work hard as
they will be given recognition and rewards
• Promotion based on hard work in civil service
• Edusave award given based on good academic results
• A fair system that is based on equality
– Everyone has an equal chance to succeed.
• Progress Package in Singapore / Economic Restructuring
Shares (ERS)
– In this way, the people know that success is highly
dependent on their own effort and the government is
fair to all. Hence, everyone will strive to work hard
which will lead to improved productivity for the country
Governance in Singapore
• A Stake for Everyone, Opportunities for All
– Giving everyone a role to play in the society –
decision-making e.g. Building of Integrated Resorts
– Giving opportunities for all to realise full potential
– This is achieved through:
Making Singapore a global city and a choice home
Promote collective responsibility
Beyond physical stakes
Preserve core values and identity
– The citizens will feel a sense of responsibility that
they have to contribute due to collective

Governance in Singapore