Speech by Mr. Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC at the Second Reading of the Government Technology Agency Bill
Madam Speaker, this Bill will catapult Singapore to worldwide leadership in applied technology, and I stand in full support of it.
It will pave the way for Singapore to go full speed ahead as a Smart Nation, providing top class infrastructure for people and businesses to thrive.
Minister Yaacob shared that this will encourage citizens to participate in the co-creation of public digital services, in line with our Smart Nation initiative to solicit participation from non-government stakeholders to contribute innovative ideas and solutions.
I warmly welcome this move towards co-creation with the community, as I believe the government does not hold a monopoly on good ideas and innovations, especially not with the growing pool of exceptional talent among the youth.
Furthermore, as interactions with government services move increasingly to the digital realm, the move to streamline IT-related transactions can only serve Singaporeans better.
Many of my older and less tech-savvy residents in Nee Soon East face challenges navigating the complex web of government red tape when trying to apply for licenses, grants, social welfare services, and so on.
As such, I thank the Minister for the new whole-of-government approach to cut down on administrative burdens in government transactions.
Appointment of committees
Madam, allow me to raise a recommendation for Clause 36 on the Appointment of Committees to provide advice to the Authority. This committee will further strengthen our move towards co-creation with the community.
Based on my past experience as part of the Animal Welfare Legislative Review Committee, which led to improvements in animal welfare policies and legislation, I have found great value in setting up committees which include parties with differing views.
For example, the Animal Welfare Legislation Review Committee comprised of MPs, animal welfare groups, town council staff, vets and the pet industry. This was a group of stakeholders with diverse views, who are not like-minded at times, but came together to argue, to debate and find common ground.
Madam, I reiterate my comments from my maiden speech in Parliament, calling for the set-up of more of such committees to enable robust consultations with a wider spectrum of people from society.
I strongly believe that it is committees like these, with more devil’s advocates, where we will get the best policies drafted.
In this regard, I would like to ask the Minister if the setting up of new agencies, such as the Government Technology Agency and also the Info-communications Media Development Authority, can be accompanied with committees comprising of more people on the ground, from more diverse backgrounds.
The robust debate between people with dissenting views will ensure that we truly understand what the ground concerns are, the various ideas out there, and the different solutions available. Because ultimately, I believe we do not have all the answers.
These comments notwithstanding, Madam, I stand in support of the Bill.