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Social Studies Model Answer Chapter 3 (Roles of Government and Citizens)

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

1. Roles of the Government

a. Maintaining Security

One of the most important role of the government is to maintain security of the country. The government must maintain both internal and external security so that its citizens can be safe from threats and go about their daily lives and activities. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is responsible for the internal security of the country. Some agencies that comes under MHA authorities are the Singapore Police Force, Central Narcotics Board, and the Internal Security Agency. These agencies keep Singapore safe by ensuring that there is law and order, low drug trafficking and terrorist threats in Singapore respectively. External security is overseen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Ministry of Defence (MINDEF). MFA uses diplomacy to engage with other countries to build friendly, closed and strong ties with as many countries as possible. When we established friendly and strong ties with other countries it is less likely that they will want to treat us as an enemy. Nations that are friendly with us will also be more likely to assist us when we encounter trouble next time. Hence, diplomacy will create an environment where others will not want to attack us and would also come to our aid when troubles with other nations arises. This will make us more secured externally. While MFA uses diplomacy to secure our borders, MINDEF uses a policy of deterrence to discourage other countries around us to attack us. MINDEF increases deterrence by making sure that our armed forces are very advanced and well equipped, and also make sure that our armed forces are very well trained and ready at all times. For example, Singapore has the best combat aircraft in the region. We also have a the Leopard 2 tank which is a very power tank in our region. Our navy is also very advance with submarines and big warships like Land Ship Tank. We maintain a large force of operationally ready National Servicemen who return for incamp training yearly to hone their military skills. By equipping our armed forces with lates weapons and training our military forces well, we are sending a strong message to our potential adversary that attacking us will be a very costly and possibly unsuccessful venture to undertake. Hence, deterrence can also secure our external borders.

b. Providing Goods and Services

Another important role of the government is to provide essential goods and services to its citizens. These essential goods and services ensure that our citizens have the basic needs to live a comfortable live. These goods and services include essential food, transportation, housing, healthcare services, education, etc. The government provide goods and services by making sure that they are available, affordable and accessible. For instance, basic food stuff like rice, noodles, meat, eggs, vegetables are always available in Singapore because our government uses diversification to ensure a constant flow of these goods to our markets and supermarkets. We also stock pile many of these food items in refrigerated storage facilities to ensure that they are available if there is a sudden global shortage. Many of these food items are also kept affordable because the government sells many of these items through cooperatives like NTUC. In addition, low income families also receive subsidies from the government to help them afford the basic foodstuff. Similarly, transportation via MRT and bus transport is also heavily subsidized by the government for many groups of people to ensure that people can move around easily. For example, there are seniors and student passes for transport. In terms of housing, the government, through HDB, also provide generous housing grants and low interest loans to ensure that most Singaporeans can own their own flat and have roofs over their heads. Hence, we see that the government plays a very important role by providing its citizens with essential goods and services.

c. Ensuring Justice

Another important role of the government is to ensure that there is justice for all in the country. This refers to giving fair treatment to all groups in society so that their well-being is looked after and that trust can be build between the people and the government. Some ways in which the government ensure justice is through personal protection orders, fair and correct application of laws for the people and also setting policies for certain groups of people in society so that they are look after. During domestic disputes, for example between husbands and wives, sometimes, the police will issue personal protection orders against someone violent. This will protect the vulnerable victims from further harm.

d. Safeguarding Interests of Different Groups

Another important role the government play is to safeguard the interests of different groups of people in Singapore. This refers to protecting the rights and interests of different groups to ensure that different groups are well looked after. By looking out for these groups, the government will be able to build trust with the people. There are various ways that the interests of different groups are looked after. For instance, the government has policies to protect the rights of both employers and employees in the country. In Singapore, a Tripartite Alliance, consisting of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), was created to ensure both employers and employees observe fair employment practices with MOM been the middle man. Similarly, retirement needs of senior citizens in Singapore are also looked after through the Central Provident Fund (CPF). CPF, by mandating that all employees contribute a portion of their salary on a monthly basis, ensure that when retirement comes, seniors will have adequate nest egg for their golden years. Low income citizens are also helped substantially through various grants and subsidies like the HDB grant when purchasing their own flats. Thus, by looking after the interests of different groups in a wide variety of way, the government is able to contribute to the good of society in general.

1. Roles of the Citizens

a. Contributing Directly

b. Influencing Government Decisions

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