The growing cynicism among Singaporean youths can be attributed in part to the recent “negative developments” in the political landscape, said presidential candidate Ng Kok Song.
Speaking at an Aug. 29 walkabout at Marine Parade, Ng added that such cynicism is not limited to the younger generation, but is also becoming increasingly pervasive across society.
These developments, in which political leaders have “fallen short of standards”, might have led young people to perceive that there is hypocrisy in the system, Ng explained.
He was speaking in reference to the recent wave of political scandals, including the corruption probe involving Transport Minister S Iswaran and the resignations of People’s Action Party and Workers’ Party members over their respective extramarital affairs.
“At first this was just cynicism. But now it is building up into distrust,” he said.
“So I sense that the people of Singapore would like to have a deeper examination of what has gone wrong in our system.”
Such an act will require courage “to own up to the shortfalls”, Ng added.
But if the government can do so, “I think it will help, over a period of time, to restore trust and to reduce some of the cynicism”.
Ng also pointed out that such cynicism tends to lead to division into two camps — pro-government and anti-government — and is “not good for our society”.
“We have many challenges ahead of us. And I think the biggest domestic challenge is to restore trust and confidence in good governance,” Ng said.
Ng also responded to a question about the phenomenon of disgruntled voters intending to spoil their votes.
Spoilt votes are votes that are deformed in a such a way that they cannot be counted as valid.
“It is sad if this happens, because every citizen has the right to vote,” Ng said.
Ng also urged Singaporeans not to “waste [their] right to vote”, nor to just vote against a certain party, whether governing or opposition.
Instead, “vote for something positive,” he advised.
“Vote for a positive change in our society.
And I respectfully ask you, if you are uncertain, vote for me. Because I will help to restore trust — in our government, in our society.”
Top image by Mothership