“If you want to eliminate corruption in a society, the most effective way to do it is not to punish people at the bottom, but those at the top.
We almost have zero corruption in Singapore because we decided the example must come from the top.
I’ll tell you one story. In the 1960s when Singapore was a very poor country… a government minister was invited by a businessman to go on holiday, just a holiday, no bribe, he and his family went on holiday with the businessman [which the businessman paid for], he came back, he was arrested, charged, went to jail, after that, no more corruption, because it’s a very powerful signal that you send when you go after someone at the top.”
– Kishore Mahbubani, Singapore’s ex Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore.