Loyalty is a two-way street – let’s not forget that the government’s loyalty is to the citizens

Citizens’ loyalty to country is called into question from time to time. What is less often talked about is government loyalty to citizens.

First and foremost, the men and women who govern the country must show loyalty to the people who elect them and entrust them to serve with honour and integrity.

This is often taken for granted but in reality, not always practised.

Many call out the United States for having a dysfunctional system. The Republicans and Democrats are hell bent on villifying each other’s party. Theirs is a two-party system which causes gridlock. Politicians’ loyalty is by and large to the party, the donors and the base, not the citizenry as a whole.

In Singapore, we have a one-party system. While this cuts out the gridlock,  it does not cut out the tendency to put party before country.

Which political party, if given the opportunity, would not give in to the temptation of doing what it can (fair or foul) to shore up its power and dominance?

When this happens, the party inevitably comes before country, and loyalty to citizens takes a backseat.

One example is the Group Representation Constituency or GRC system. It is surely no coincidence that the system was introduced after the 1984 general election, when the People’s Action Party suffered its biggest-ever decline in its vote share and the first time since 1963 that they had not won every seat.

A case could be made that there are other ways to ensure minority representation in the House and the GRC system undermines the legitimacy of the electoral system. The same goes for the amendments to the Elected Presidency where and racial equality.

Another example is the elected presidency. The government suddenly decided it should be reserved for the Malay community and significantly raised the threshold for private sector candidates. This in effect ruled out Dr Tan Cheng Bock, a potential President they least wanted. Dr Tan mounted an unsuccessful court challenge but to this day, many feel he was robbed of the presidency.

But in a one-party system, the government of the day calls the shots. And this can be manifested in ways and means aimed at putting party first – not country, not citizens.

Loyalty to citizens also extends to helping those who for some reason are unable to help themselves. It is alarming when we hear that our society has become such that it is expected of frail old men and old women to clean tables at food centres and nothing can be done about it.

We also have to be concerned if politicians are only enticed to get out of bed each day to do their job because of million-dollar salaries. If the loyalty is to the pay cheque – and not the citizens they are elected to serve – we have a problem.

So, by all means, let us demand loyalty of citizens – but let us also demand that our government always puts country and citizens first, not party and certainly not pay cheque.



Augustine Low

* The author is a proud but concerned citizen. Voicing independent, unplugged opinion is his contribution to citizen engagement.



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18 Responses to “Loyalty is a two-way street – let’s not forget that the government’s loyalty is to the citizens”

  • Politicizing facts and values:

    And this one party system has devolved into a crony capitalist economy that inherently erodes political checks and balances.

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  • HarderTruths:

    You need to stop reading all these books that give you advice like the “the government first loyalty…etc.” That is all bullshit.

    The first rule of politics is that everyone in politics is corrupt.
    Secondly that they will cheat you so there is no such thing as loyalty. They are paid to do a job and that is it.

    There is no such entity as ‘the government’ – that is a convenient excuse by politicians and civil servants to shift the blame to some non-existent entity.

    There are individuals who make decisions in any body and they are accountable. There should be checks and balances and punishments to make sure they are accountable.

    To be accountable there must be transparency. There must also be a limit to their power. In this day and age this is possible.

    In a democracy everyone is treated equal. STOP PLAYING THE RACE CARD about minorities etc. Either everyone is treated equally or not. Giving any group advantages over another based on race, caste, creed or wealth is a failed system.

    Unfortunately if the majority of people are greedy or selfish and vote for despots there is nothing anyone can do – that is just life.

    If you cannot understand this then you cannot have a functional government.

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  • No Hew You!:

    I have lost the understanding of loyalty? Loyal to someone else believe?, an inanimate object?, someone that don’t care for you?
    or a piece of land that belongs to many others I don’t even know of?

    I don’t understand why should I be subjected to such demand?

    Sorry, no hew you!.

    Uncaring Government:
    I have a uncaring government.

    At $4,000 a month income, I hardly can make ends meet, let alone make any saving out of it. Yes, Lau Goh would labelled me as mediocre.

    But let’s say I manage to save 20%, so 80% is spent.

    So $4,000 X 0.8 X 7% GST = $224 of tax per month.
    So for 1 year $280 X 12 = $2,688 of tax for year.
    Over half month of my salary.
    Which is equivalent of saying out of 12 months, I am working for them half a month free for them.
    And that is aside from the personal income tax that I still have to pay to them, which is cheaper in reality, considering those “Reliefs” that can be applied [Wife, parents, children etc].

    And for those sad enough not working, can’t find a job. Logically, Zero Tax.
    But in reality, the GST is a form of tax even if he is not working.

    So effective, I have a uncaring government that prefer GST collection over Personal income tax, since is a definite collection whether you have a income or no income and additionally “Relief” cannot be applied. It’s illogical isn’t it?

    To think of the impending increase to 9% when many are out of jobs is even worse, can’t blame me to think that my government is uncaring.

    I have a uncaring government.

    Anyone promise me to cancel GST will win my “VOTE”.

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  • PAP has the mandate:

    In this world, there is no loyalty, loyalty is what is good for me.

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  • Malaysia boleh Singapore bodoh:

    Trust is also a two-way street, i.e., “trust to be trusted”. Does PAP trust Singaporeans? If it does, then why doesn’t it tell Singaporean the size of Government reserves, the actual cost of building HDB flats, the amount of taxpayers’ money spent yearly on foreigners studying in Singapore, etc.? What is it afraid of? If PAP does not trust Singapore then Singaporeans should not trust PAP. If PAP cannot be trusted then it must be thrown out of Parliament by voting for REGIME CHANGE at the next GE. VTO. Follow the example set by our Malaysian friends.

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  • clown gang loyal to pap S$m !!:

    we cannot speak for ourselves.

    we can only speak for clown pap S$m gang.

    clown pap S$m gang is loyal to clown S$m courtesy of 70% sheep CPF money in gic temasick ntuc papPA.

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  • opposition dude:

    Yup a one party system is bad for Singapore and has been seen through all those idiotic policies voted unanimously by the monkeys. Remember the Population White Paper in 2013?

    So when some silly kuku tells you that one party system is good because there isn’t gridlock please don’t forget to laugh at the said kuku over how idiotic his statement and his naviety hor. It’s precisely why a one party system leads to complacency which in turn leads to frequnt flash floods, HDB flats you don’t own, an unreliable MRT and failed yearly AGO audits.

    So this one party system needs to be changed at the next election. I won’t ask for much lah since the majority are kiasees who just cannot imagine PAP not being in charge. Let’s just have 40% of parliament seats held by the opposition can liao.

    So how kiasees, 40% ok right? 60% still PAP so your HDB flats won’t become kosong before 99 years so don’t worry.

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  • C'est la vie:

    ……. not in your lifetime plus 100, not when the SGov plans and build the roads and designs the signages !!!

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  • LIONS:

    Tho$e who put $ before everything else will never be loyal.
    They have the highest potential to BEYRAY.
    This is true within the family in the micro sense and it is even truer beyond family units on a macro basis.

    Look around you n you know what i mean.

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  • Losers:

    Yes, gov should be loyal n grateful to citizens , for the mil$ salaries sg taxpayers are paying them.
    ..even tho they do not deserve that freaking much for the mediocre work theyre doing!

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  • Loyal To Country Not PAP:

    There are many loyal citizens writing in TRE, otherwise they wouldn’t bother.
    We saw four brave loyal sinkies calling for help to make Singapore great again, otherwise they wouldn’t bother. All of them already make good living.

    We have one familee member in exile calling out that it is no good for Singapore’s future to be governed by the same familee for long.
    He is a loyal citizen because he spoke the truth and is sincere. He could have not bothered, because he is already making good living and he is a familee.

    Greedy PAP ministars and cronies want you to be loyal to PAP and be their serfs, serving themselves rather than to be loyal to the country and her citizens.

    Be clear and see the distinction.

    Critical of the situation the country is in and KPKB against injustice and inequality to citizens is a clear indication of loyalty to the country.
    PAP’s persecutions of these critics are clear indications that they do not want you to be loyal to Singapore.
    They want you to be loyal to PAP instead.

    See and know the difference.

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  • cfvtgj:

    It is pointless to talk about loyal to the PAP, they will only be loyal to familee and self serving that’s all.

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  • What ?:

    @ Loyalty is a two-way street

    Haha just look at the result of this site donation appeal say it all.


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  • waste of time zzz:

    loyalty to the country???

    ns for singaporeans, jobs for foreigners. enough said. what am i defending when i do not have a ricebowl?

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  • Time to self introspect:

    You know why donations are low here? Look at all the comments here. No wonder Google also ignore this site. Visitors, first time here also got turned off. How to fight the opposition cause?

    What ?:
    @ Loyalty is a two-way street

    Haha just look at the result of this site donation appeal say it all.


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  • Calling A Spade A Spade:

    The discussions here are great, more for the consumption of the minority intellectuals, definitely not for simpletons who could easily be taken and pacify with token chicken rice.

    TRE will always have backers and get their fundings.
    These are smart people, some articles will bring them money, they will survive as always, you just have to read the right stuff accordingly.

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  • Time to self introspect:

    @ Calling A Spade A Spade

    I couldn’t agree with you more. With the exception of a few commentators, the rest could hardly qualify as “minority intellectuals”. More like ‘crazies’ firing up other crazies with 3-liners rhetoric to get a daily fix of thumbs ups.

    Calling A Spade A Spade:
    The discussions here are great, more for the consumption of the minority intellectuals, definitely not for simpletons who could easily be taken and pacify with token chicken rice……you just have to read the right stuff accordingly.

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  • The 'signs' are there.....:

    GE will probably be held in 2019.

    Opposition must move into Top Gear and not drag their feet anymore.

    Climate is right for the Opposition as voters are annoyed and angry with the Gahment over many things after 2015!

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