Minister for Health Khaw Boon Wan suggested that some people can consider sending their elderly parents to a nursing home in Johor Bahru, where the cost is less than half of the cost in Singapore.
This created a big uproar. It attracted more than 300 comments in postings in The Online Citizen. Over 80% of the comments were strongly against the suggestion. Many of the comments were rude and abusive. They called the minister inappropriate names. I was shocked at this behaviour.
First, it was not necessary for people to give their views in a rude manner. They should show respect to the views of other people. I am not suggesting that a minister deserves more respect than any ordinary people. But he should not be given any less respect either.
Second, there is a strong perception that any suggestion by a minister will be implemented as government policy. If the reaction is likely to be irrational and negative, the government may decide that it is better not to engage the public. Surely, as citizens, we like to have the chance of giving our views before any decision is taken by the government leaders? Can we give our views in an objective manner, rather than behave badly?
Third, there seems to be a strong dislike and distrust of the government. This is unhealthy.