Engaging Singaporeans on Foreign Policy

MP Gerald Giam

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: Of all the Ministries, MFA’s work is probably the most esoteric to many Singaporeans. Some think that foreign policy is too complicated, is not as relevant to their daily lives as many domestic issues or is too sensitive to have open discussions about. As a result, foreign policy is often left out from public discussions. This is not healthy in a nation as educated and with as much access to information from around the world as Singaporeans are.

In a speech in July 2017, the Foreign Minister stated that “our diplomacy is only credible, if we are able to maintain a domestic consensus on Singapore’s core interests and our foreign policy priorities.” If there is insufficient engagement with Singaporeans on foreign policy, it will be close to impossible to build and maintain that “domestic consensus”, especially in the face of a plethora of news and information from abroad, including disinformation.

How is MFA engaging Singaporeans on foreign policy matters and explaining our core interests to citizens of all ages and education levels? Do our missions engage overseas Singaporeans on foreign policy?

How is the Ministry countering some of the narratives put out by foreign actors that attempt to influence Singaporeans’ views on policies that may go against our national interest?

During the debate on the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA) Bill in 2021, Minister K. Shanmugam acknowledged that a whole-of-society effort is required for public education and that he “welcome(s) everyone’s assistance in helping to engage and educate the population.”

How is MFA facilitating this? Is the Ministry working with schools, academic institutions, NGOs and business chambers here and abroad to engage, inform and involve them in Singapore’s foreign policy?

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
27 February 2023


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