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377A: Remember the golden rule in policymaking

377A: Remember the golden rule in policymaking

I refer to the letter “377A: Majority not always right” (March 7).

A responsible government must not be afraid to introduce unpopular policies. When formulating policies, it should ensure that the process is rigorous and fair.

Policies must be evaluated and examined from various perspectives, including the aim of the policies and the facts or reasoning used in the policy-making. How the policies are executed is also important.

Policy-makers should weigh the pros and cons, the benefits and the consequences of their decisions. A common approach or tool termed the cost-benefit analysis is often used.

We should apply the approach to derive the greatest good for society, but at the same time incur minimum cost or inconvenience to those affected. This is the golden rule in the formation of good social tenets or morals.

When this golden rule is compromised, the policies made would invite a host of other problems.

Any new facts or findings should be presented to the authorities or discussed openly to see if there is a justification for a review.

A society’s maturity, inclusiveness and graciousness can be measured in many respects, one of which is how its people treat the handicapped, the poor and those disadvantaged by circumstances or rulings.

In daily life, we should observe another golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Confucius expressed it in another way: “Do not do to others that which we do not want them to do to us.” Let us practise it and advance it further.