Essay by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong: Success in Combating Corruption – Views on the Singaporean Experience
Corruption is a scourge that can never be tolerated. Countries have tried all ways to combat it. They create anti-corruption agencies. They pass strong laws. They promulgate codes of conduct for public officials. Companies pledge to conduct business cleanly. Yet often corruption remains endemic, a cancer in the society. How then has Singapore achieved some measure of success in eradicating corruption? I put it down to four factors.
2. First, we inherited a clean and working system from the British colonial government. We had many compelling reasons to want to end colonial rule and to be masters of our own destiny. But to their credit, the British left Singapore with a working system and sound institutions – English laws, a working Civil Service, and an efficient and honest judiciary. Importantly, the Colonial Service officers upheld high standards. People like Sir William Goode, our last Governor and first Head of State, had a sense of duty and stewardship. After Singapore, Goode served as Governor of North Borneo, now the state of Sabah in Malaysia. He left an impression in North Borneo, as in Singapore. Even a generation later, the people of Sabah still remembered him fondly.
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