To the Editor :
Re “As Singapore Loosens Its Grip, Residents Lose Fear to Challenge Authority” (news article, June 17):
Singapore’s approach to governance is evolving. Civic groups are more active, and the government engages them on many issues.
In the case of the Bukit Brown cemetery, the government engaged various groups before proceeding with the highway, with modifications to preserve more of the old cemetery.
Encouraging Singaporeans to think through issues is integral to a vibrant democracy. Although you describe Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean as “dodging pointed questions” by students recently, in fact he had an interactive dialogue and encouraged students to share their thoughts on Singapore’s challenges.
Even as Singapore evolves, we cannot forget our fundamental vulnerabilities as a small, multiracial society.
The Internal Security Act was used in the past to deal with a violent insurgency and active subversion by the Communists. It remains relevant as a pre-emptive tool to safeguard security, especially against the threat of terrorism.
Several countries have introduced similar preventive measures.
CHAN HENG CHEE
Ambassador of Singapore
Washington, June 21, 2012
A version of this letter appeared in print on June 23, 2012, on page A18 of the New York edition with the headline: Singapore Is ‘Evolving’.