Speaking at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) forum on Friday (Sep 8), Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong warned the school’s academics that his government is not “getting money’s worth” for their funding on the school.
“While academics from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) should offer the Government critical alternative views, they should do so constructively and build trust with political leaders…The Government is not getting its money’s worth in terms of ideas being contributed by the LKYSPP. I want to get this flow-back to the Government. It’s a good tool and you must’ve very good opinions, you must be able to challenge the thinking of the Government in some areas. To be fair, no leader likes to be criticised … neither do I. But do it constructively. You must build up that trust between one another.”
ESM Goh Chok Tong’s comments came in light of the slew of quarrels that happened between LKYSPP scholars and government officials.
In April, the associate dean of LKYSPP Donald Low was forced to apologise to Law Minister K Shanmugam after he posted on Facebook criticising the Law Minister’s statement on criminal punishments:
“If criminal punishments are to reflect only public opinion, why bother having judges do sentencing? Just run an opinion poll each time someone has been convicted.”
Professor Donald Low apologised in less than a week, saying that he owed his job to the Law Minister.
About a month later in June, LKYSPP Adjunct Professor Yeoh Lam Keong criticised the Singapore Police for the mishandling of the 2013 Little India Riot. The Singapore Police slammed the professor asking him to “volunteer with the police to get a better understanding”.
Also in the same month, the dean of LKYSPP Kishore Mahbubani slammed the Prime Minister for “squandering our hard work” following diplomatic spats with China. A war of words followed after incumbent diplomat Bilahari Kausikan fended off the dictator Prime Minister.
In August, a LKYSPP academic had his permanent residency stripped for disagreeing with the Singapore government, which the official alleged that he was “influencing” key government members to change certain national policies. There was however no evidence presented by the Ministry of Home Affairs and neither did the authority explain which country was the professor acting for.