Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan called for Singaporeans to support the ruling party PAP government when dealing with foreign countries. Like the Nazi party in pre-world war 2 Germany, the PAP Minister said that Singaporeans should stand behind the government in no matter what approach the government adopts.
Minister Vivian Balakrisnan also criticised Singaporeans who voiced dissent against the PAP government’s approach to meddle in the South China Sea, saying they are only pursuing “short-term gains”:
“The effectiveness of Singapore’s foreign policy depends on its continued success and the support of a united citizenry. My ministry takes the lead in foreign policy, the issues are becoming more complex and cross-cutting in nature. In this regard, other government agencies are playing an increasingly vital role on the external front. The MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) must therefore act as a coordinator with other agencies to pursue a whole-of-Government foreign policy and strengthen domestic resilience in the face of an uncertain global environment. This also means convincing Singaporeans of the need for consistent and principled diplomacy for our long-term interests instead of taking the path of least resistance in order to achieve short term gains…in order for Singapore to navigate an uncertain world, the Republic needs to maintain its long-term value proposition and relevance to other countries. Singapore also needs to stick to an independent foreign policy that safeguards its sovereignty and interests.”
The PAP Minister said that he will step up on propaganda effort to “raise awareness” among Singaporeans:
“Going forward, MFA will engage stakeholders to raise awareness of Singapore’s foreign policy principles, constraints and pressures that the country will face from time to time. A united citizenry allows us to pursue effective foreign policy. While Singapore is small, the unity of its people is a source of strength. Our stability, consistency and reliability are all the more valuable in an increasingly fractious world, and people respect Singapore for that. Such respect is hard-earned, and allows Singapore’s voice to be amplified and to be heard on the international stage.”
The PAP Minister also praised two opposition MPs – Low Thia Kiang and Pritam Singh – for supporting the ruling party on the government’s approach against China:
“This unity of purpose is essential for us to pursue our foreign policy goals in this uncertain and volatile environment.”
Singaporeans are however not convinced and many expressed outrage at Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s repeative provocations of China, especially on calling the latter to give up their territorial claims when Singapore is not even a claimant country itself. During the period where the Terrex vehciles were detained, many Singaporeans gloated at the government’s embarrassment and even thanked China for punishing Lee Hsien Loong.
China-Singapore relations is currently at a record low, with tens of billions of Chinese investment funds flowing into Johor Malaysia instead of Singapore.