The Business Times

It's about trust, in business as in government

Published Thu, Oct 3, 2013 · 10:00 PM
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TRUST was the theme of a presentation earlier this week by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Speaking to public service leaders, Mr Lee stated categorically that a basic trust in the state was essential to the success of major policies that the government has committed to undertaking. As it turns out, there are good reasons why his message of having the trust of stakeholders should resonate with private sector leaders, too.

In politics, "Trust me" is all too often a slogan bandied about during election campaigns and little heard afterwards. So much so that some sceptics divide countries into two groups: in the first, the people don't trust the government; in the second, the government doesn't trust the people. Such an extreme view can be dismissed out of hand. Still, the reality is that democratically elected governments, by definition, come to power on the back of a substantial minority - and sometimes even a majority - of people who did not vote for them. Winning the trust of all citizens is thus a significant challenge.

And trust must be earned. That point is clearly not lost on the current administration, with the prime minister exhorting the public sector to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency and service.

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