Parliament: Civil servants can always complain about their Minister?


Would any civil servant ever complain about their Minister?

I refer to the article “Safeguards in place to ensure public service not politicised” (Straits Times, Jan 9).

It states that “Any public servant who feels pressure from a minister to take a certain course of action can report it, said Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung yesterday.

They can turn to the permanent secretaries that head ministries, the head of the Civil Service, the Public Service Commission or even the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, he added.

Mr Ong was responding to concerns raised by Workers’ Party MPs that public servants may be unduly influenced by ministers, under a new law that, among other things, empowers the minister in charge of a statutory board to direct its work.”

When one of my friends read this – he almost choked!

Why not give credance to and support this statement with the statistics as to how many civil servants have ever complained about their Minister to their permanent secretaries or the head of the civil service, in the history of Singapore?

Arguably, would any civil servant be “brave enough” or “stupid enough” to do this?

Can you imagine what their career prospects may be – if they do this?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.