In a conference held by the Lee Kuan School of Public Policy and Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), the Senior Fellow of Singapore Management University (SMU) Bilahari Kausikan accused Singapore Opposition parties and anti-PAP activists of exploiting foreign policy issues for their own gain.

Also currently the ambassador-at-large and policy adviser for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Bilahari remarked that these domestic groups are fanning public discontent against the ruling PAP Government:

“One opposition party has attempted to use our Middle East policies and relations with our neighbours for political advantage (while) some anti-establishment types – so-called activists – have tried to use our ASEAN policy to fan public discontent over foreign labour.”

Photo of Bilahari Kausikan by IPS
Photo of Bilahari Kausikan by IPS

Bilahari then claimed that these attempts were however clumsily executed and the Singapore public remains disinterested and indifferent in foreign policy. The former Permanent Secretary of MFA said that the best defence against these Opposition parties and anti-establishment activists is an “educated” public, and that the current National Education taught in Singapore schools should do more in terms of “reflecting” Singapore’s foreign policies “realities” and history.

Currently, social studies and national education teaching material in Singapore’s government schools are heavily peppered with propaganda and half-truth especially in history and foreign policies. Two of the most “taught” topics are National Service (which is fast seeing irrelevance due to the unfair priorities given to foreigners and new citizens) and Singapore’s Independence, where former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was glorified as Singapore’s founding father while his iron-fisted atrocities like wrongful allegations and unhonourable detention without trials of his political opponents become censored.

Singapore academics like Bilahari Kausikan are largely politically biased and pro-government. Other academics who have criticized the ruling party will be chastised and not have their tenure continued like Cherian George.