Heng should spend more time improving the state of governance than to defend the incompetency of his colleagues

In a Straits Times article on 9th Feb 2019, Finance Minister and PM-designate Heng Swee Keat wrote: “Singapore Govt has not gone slack”. This seems to be a standard rebuttal to any criticism levelled at the PAP government, more specifically from the Zaobao Editorial dated 1st Feb.

In the corporate sector, management gurus do not regard such person highly as he is seen as defensive and blind to his own weaknesses.

By reading the Straits Times article closely, one will note that he seems to point at all the things that are grossly wrong with the PAP governance of our island nation and yet denied them flatly. If this is his mindset, how can he, even if elevated to PM after the coming GE 2019, be expected to take any corrective actions to improve Singapore’s governance?

He said: “We will not flinch from taking a hard look at ourselves each time there is a failure, and doing whatever is necessary to put things right.” If his statement has anything to stand by, then surely we should not be experiencing so many cases and incidents of management and operational lapses and failures?

He even came out strongly to show his seriousness: “I reject strongly the suggestion that the political leadership has allowed the whole system to go slack.” Aren’t these the main complaints and grouses of the citizenry over the last 5 to 10 years?

Mr Heng is obviously trying to overlook the massive failures in the Healthcare sector with the loss of 1.5 million patients’ medical data in SingHealth hospitals and the recent disclosure of data-leak of sensitive data of 14,200 HIV patients (which was kept under wrap by MOH since 2016).

Both the chairman of SingHealth Mr Peter Seah and the CEO, Prof Ivy Ng are still safe in their high positions and the only penalty on them was a voluntary acceptance of a financial penalty. How much, only God knows. The Health Minister, Mr Gan Kim Yong has let the citizens down on so many instances. And yet, he had not even openly apologised, let alone asking him to step down and quit politics.

Heng continued: “We will not flinch from taking a hard look at ourselves each time there is a failure, and doing whatever is necessary to put things right.” If the PAP leadership has even taken a serious look at how the various Ministers and MPs had performed in their official duties, I believe several of them would have been axed a long time ago.

It’s because no PAP ministers and their appointed elites have been singled out to take responsibility for management and operational failures and lapses, the citizens are now faced with a crisis of governance not only in the Healthcare sector and Defence but across many government organizations and agencies.
Can Mr Heng Swee Keat come forward as PM-designate and admit that the PAP government has indeed gone slack over the last 50 years and show us his courage to hold Ministers, Generals and CEOs in government agencies and GLCs for their failures to perform up to public expectations and commensurate with their million dollars salaries?

Now as Finance Minister, can he be bold enough to compel Temasek Holdings to open its books to show the money it has made (or lost) as a sovereign fund like other Nordic countries?

I worked in the public sector long before Mr Heng started his civil service career. The long list of management and operational failures and lapses (with many cases flagged by the Auditor-General), is mind-boggling, totally unprofessional and almost unbelievable for a Singapore that pride herself as a highly efficient, well-managed and corruption-free country.

Let me provide some examples to jolt Mr Heng’s memory of how poor is the PAP governance in Singapore:

1) A syndicate scammed the SkillsFuture Singapore government agency out of some $40 million in fake claims. This is a sign of poor systems, poor management and lack of supervision.

2) $2.2 million had been paid out for some 4400 false claims for one particular training course. Can we trust the numbers of people being trained under the SkillsFuture Fund?

3) More than 800 patients of GP clinics received wrongly labelled medicine due to a fault of a computer system run by Integrated Health Information System (IHiS), the government IT organization that caters to medical practice.

4) Auditor-General flagged many lapses and weaknesses in government departments and agencies including People’s Association which were not fully rectified and even repeated.

5) The Competition Commission of Singapore, a statutory board under MTI only started to look into the rising cost of infant milk powder after a Straits Times article reported that the cost of a 900 gram tin of formula milk powder increased 120% over the last decade to $56.06. Immediately, PAP MPs jumped into action by raising parliamentary questions and Josephine Teo’s famous quote, “Milk is milk”. Are PAP MPs complacent and ignored the plight of young mothers who struggled with the high cost of infant milk powder for at least 10 years?

6) The Petrobras bribery scandal involving Keppel (Keppel O&M) surfaced. A crackdown on money laundering in Brazil since 2014 uncovered massive corruption involving many companies doing business with Petrobras and involving Singapore government-linked Keppel.

7) The government’s decision to levy parking fees on school teachers in school premises, led to the discovery of all elected MPs being granted an annual parking permit costing only $365 a year (or $1 a day) for parking in any public carparks and in Parliament House. For how long had elected MPs been enjoying this unfair special privilege? The PAP political elites lack a sense of fair-play as citizens’ representatives. They should have spoken up long before it was discovered.

8) – Out of the blue, MOH puts a stop to foreign patients referral contracts which prohibits public hospitals from engaging foreign agents to recommend business with payment of commissions. MOH declared that it was not aware of such practice. Even as the man on the street, I knew of this practice more than 15 years’ ago.

9) PIE worksite collapse at Upper Changi Road East killed one worker and injured 10 others. Or Kim Peow (OKP) was the awarded contractor. Why was OKP which was given 25 demerits points by MOM and black-listed for 3 months earlier in the year, be allowed to work on a government project? In Sep 2015, OKP was involved in another worksite accident in which one worker was killed and four others injured.

10) The government’s Productivity and Innovation Scheme under MTI will expire after YA2018. It has cost taxpayers billions to fund SMEs’ productivity improvement programmes but Singapore has not succeeded in productivity improvement over more than a decade. At the end of 2015, there were 488 alleged fraudulent claims and Indranee Rajah was happy to announce that the tax authorities were able to claw back some $11 million. No one knew how much money was lost in the PIC scheme.

The above list is not exhaustive but I believe sufficient to tell Mr Heng that the PAP government is indeed slack and incompetent. He should spend more time improving the state of governance instead of giving lengthy defence for the Establishment and his political colleagues.

 

Kok Meng Cheang

 

 

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35 Responses to “Heng should spend more time improving the state of governance than to defend the incompetency of his colleagues”

  • Prefer Tharman:

    Heng was chief negotiator for CECA with India. Look what that got us? Planeloads of India fake talent, importation of India’s caste system, infiltration of SINDA, etc. Obviously someone who doesn’t think things through.

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  • Samy:

    And escalator heading down to a dead end.
    (Changi airport incident)

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  • Longan monkey puppet:

    I saw his videos of him speaking at Davis forums.
    While he look learned and spoke well, he appeared not as stately a leader as I would expect. But rather he appeared a bit nervous.

    Maybe he lacks confidence.

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  • Gan boh Yong:

    Hi, we are Gan Boh Yong and Lampard Min.

    These elites are just talking to themselves and looking good because there is no opposition!

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  • RDB:

    he is just to be in that fartty party even so incompetent. BLUE EYE BOY OF PM IN SHORT!

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  • Bapak:

    I REJECTS HSK.

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  • Worry for children future:

    Up to date, Kit Kiat does not appeared impressive or on top of things with so many recent boo boos.

    Wonder if he could handle it when pinky is oredi hand off. So when Kiat assumes office and ministars continue to commit big blunders, don’t think we can expect much. Same lame excuses, lack of accountability and responsibility likely continue. It’s happened. Let’s move on.

    In other words, life goes on as usual.

    What do you think?

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  • Regime change is the solution:

    Straits Times: EU votes in favour of landmark FTA with Singapore

    This could cause more Singaporeans to lose their job to those from EU who do not have to pay CPF. PAP will likely claim that more trade will EU create jobs. Even if true, the new jobs will still go to “cheap” (no CPF) foreigners. PAP refuses to admit that exempting foreigners from CPF was a big mistake despite overwhelming evidence – the thousands of Singapore PMETs who lost their jobs to foreigners and are now driving for GRAB.

    The only solution is REGIME CHANGE. Throw out the PAP at the GE this year.

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  • Regime change is the solution:

    The list is indeed a compelling reason for regime change.

    VTO for REAL accountability in the public sector.

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  • Use Twitter:

    All Opposition politicians should get a Twitter account to communicate directly with Singaporeans and bypass biased MSM The coming election should be fought on social media including Twitter.

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  • Why suffered in silence:

    I applaud you for a well written article for the countless lapses.Not forgetting MRT mishaps and frequent breakown,some unreported,Youth Olympic ridiculous and egregious over budget and CPF issues.Is he bold enough to address the CPF issues like why constantly shifting retirement withdrawal age and update on our reserves.MIWs are not only incompetent and lost direction.Recently we have a manpower minister helping someone to obtain a marriage certificate replacement.Ludicrous that she has time for such trivial issue and moreover this issue is not under
    her jurisdiction.You wonder can’t she refer him to Registry of Marriage,perhaps with a letter of recommendation .Why not focus on urgent issues like how to provide employment for SMET who are jobless or assist graduates in expediting their employment after graduation.?

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  • NotMyProblem:

    As I have said, this PAP government is running on auto-pilot. When the country has any problem and issue, everyone looking at each other, eyes big big with months open, expecting the others to solve the problem. The best solution is COI. Every time some idiot MPs and Ministers will come up with something like sex in small places, milk is milk, mothers would not like to lose her sons, if he is not in SG he must be outside SG, let’s move on, etc ….. totally irrelevant and could not solve anything.

    Every COI was to find excuse that was not used before, the rest of the report was just cut and paste from previous COIs. COI reports were just read and put in the bottom drawer.

    In order for change, we must change this PAP government. Anyone could do better and we deserve better.

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  • N.Jungne:

    Thanks Kok Meng Cheang, he is waiting for the COI to complete their Milo Gao Kosong.

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  • Boh Kia see:

    Heng’s attitude is typical of all the PAP members and Ministers. There is nothing to change as there is nothing wrong with them. Responsibility seems to lie with the lower class of people–the already downtrodden.

    From the strict governance point of view, having the PM and the state wealth fund CEO as husband and wife is by all standards breaching the rules of governance, both in theory and practice. So why has Heng not bring this matter up?

    As I mentioned, again and again, you are dealing with the PAP that thinks they are always right by definition. If there is something wrong, it has got to be the underlings and the common people that caused it–not them. So punish the ones who are at the lower class and status. You can see that such an intent is shaping up from the Minister of Defense speech in Parliament.

    As is often said, you can’t change a person unless they first recognise their mistake and wants to change. The PAP has never come close to that line in all their years in power.

    If you want change and competence in Government you must remove the PAP.
    There is a flood of opposition parties with high calibre leaders who can re-shape and re-structure Singapore along good Governance lines.

    VTO—we can do better.

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  • Pay Auntil Pok:

    An analogy:

    A cleaner was lazy. She’s paid quite a big sum of money to do a cleaning job but she’s always skiving and doing very little work. Inevitably dirt and dust collect and get exposed in a matter of time. When the place becomes visibly dirty that people are able to see that she has not been doing her job properly, she die die denied in order to protect her rice bowl. And the fastest way to clear herself of any allegation is to resort to secretly sweeping them under the carpet, then went on to REJECT any complaints and say she sees no dirt nor dust.

    If the people who pay her remain gullible and naive, she’ll continue to keep her job while not performing her duty properly. If the people open their eyes, stop to think and are smart, they’d remove her ASAP and see for themselves how much dirt and dust she’s been hiding all the while.

    When Najib was in power, he’s was seen to be clean. Zero corruption. But after he was ousted, the no. of corruption case charged against him was alarming.

    So, if people want to see what have been swept under the carpet by incompetent leaders all these years they’re in power, just VTO. The time is here, is very near. Do not miss this golden opportunity. It’s now or never.

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  • TL Tan:

    The writer seems to miss the forest for the trees. All the examples quoted above are minor and arose from human error. The right thing to do is automation and artificial intelligence to reduce human error. It is not reflective of the quality of our govt. The world still admires Singapore and our govt, and in the areas that matter most – good jobs, high wages, good quality public housing, adequate retirement fund, top notch education, world class infrastructure and transport etc… Any human error must be set aside these tremendous achievements over decades

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  • Free also want:

    I fully endorsed item 7. When I recommended that schools charge parking fees as a young officer, the Director had the audacity to disrecommend my suggestion.

    Today, it is proven true.

    At MOH, we were instructed to issue free parking labels (red for senior officer, while blue was meant for juniors) to all MPs for parking in the hospitals and clinics. This went on for a while and was stopped probably by his brother-in-Law. Million dollar salary need free parking, is that right?

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  • DoOurPart-SaveOurSG:

    Such a long list too.
    Karma is real and it works.
    We as sgs just do our part and VTO. Ok?

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  • Ministerial adversarial:

    Has water price been hiked up 30% yet as minister Heng studiously reported to the nation his managerial intentions? Well, opportunely because of Mahathir’s inquisition on the dirt-cheap water deal with Malaysia, we the citizens of Singapore discovered that our gomen has been buying 1000 gallons of river water for 1 Singapore cent and selling purified water back to them for 4¢/1000 gallons. Oh my God! I checked my water bill 4 months back and realized we commoners are paying 800¢ (taxes incl.) for 1000 gallons of tap water: a whopping 20,000 % higher than what Malaysia pays! One wonders in trepidation what other scholarly undertakings the gomen has in mind for the sake of the people?

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  • LIONS:

    It seems we are going to have yet another EXCU$E-MANUFACTURING PEE-M?

    H$K,if you are just looking for excuses n pushing blames away,it is better you decline getting elevated to PM so as to save sgs from further abuse n sufferrings.

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  • LIONS:

    Its like what SHAN says about medicinal values of cannibis -BUNKUM!

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  • VTO:

    “We will not flinch from taking a hard look at ourselves each time there is a failure, and doing whatever is necessary to put things right.” This is what he said and it is truth as we can see so many failures and yet no improvement.

    a) The lost in the mini bond
    b) Death of our Brothers while in the National Services
    c) Breakdown of MRT (flooding and collision and track faults)
    d) TheMassSick lost of Billion of dollars.
    e) Delay of CPF withdrawal
    f) AMK Town Council case
    g) OxLee Road case
    h) Appointed President become Elected President and hence the
    i) Indian become Malay
    j) The lost of 1.5 million of medical data and the HIV data.
    k) ……. and it goes on.

    They will never put things right so we have to put it right for them in the coming General Election by VTO.

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  • Red dot is doomed:

    Sg was undoubtedly a huge success story under old man and 1Gs acknowledged for effectiveness and efficiency. And these highly dedicated men were paid $million.

    Fast forward to the present. Here, we observe and experience more and more failure after failure, some very serious ones, under a bunch of self serving and incompetent 4Gs. Nobody has been taken to tasks for any blunder committed under their charge. And these chaps are not paid peanuts. What we get instead is a horde of $m monkeys dancing merrily around their mai hum master.

    Come what may. Whether ah Heng or Kee Chiu assume the dragon throne is immaterial. Someone sitting behind will still be pulling the string.

    Just take care of yourself lah…..

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  • boomtown_rat:

    Lee Kuan Yew’s famous 1988 quote, “Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me to the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up.” 

    I think LKY is gonna set things right thro his younger children…LHY & LWL.
    we can already see things shaking up this whole incompetent overpaid gov.

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  • The Rot Started From The Top:

    Is it possible for Minister Heng to exert his authority should he become the next PM? I doubt very much, because there still be The Dishonourable Son is going to be sitting above him. I am very sure, The Dishonourable Son will be like his late father, be the Mental Minister, with the excuse to oversee everything is the right path. Ah Heng hands and legs will be locked, and unable to manage in his own way.

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  • 王沙,野峰?:

    Is he related to WangSa or YeFong ?
    王沙,野峰。
    https://youtu.be/JEg_Af-DpUg

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  • Asd:

    M$ Muppet

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  • Great Asia:

    Give you one example.

    If you are going to buy a new HDB flat from the HDB.

    What would be the procedures and how much CASH (% of the purchase price) do you need to prepare in advance?

    You can try to go to the HDB website and see any useful information you can get from there.

    HDB is just one of the examples.

    We have been ruled by useless fat cats for too long.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • Bapak:

    Mr. Kok, I applaud you for highlighting PAP’s 10 poor governance. I can tell you the mother of all issues is our Reserves. When TCB open that vault door to the reserves, won’t be surprised 10 million people can fill it. Empty liao!

    Bet you they will not approve his PSP party. The first time, Indian-turned-Malay, now their reason will be not in their interests to review. Just cannot approve.

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  • oxygen:

    TL Tan

    OI OI OI, virgin commodities trader, you haven’t read my comment at

    http://www.tremeritus.net/2019/02/11/defending-incompetency-despite-fat-political-salaries-not-the-way-to-go/

    oxygen: LEE-JIAPORE GOT AN INCREDIBLE BRIGHT FUTURE – it is all evident in its INCREDIBLE SHRINKING STOCK MARKET.

    Here is the weblink.

    The Incredible Shrinking Singapore Stock Market

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-02-11/the-incredible-shrinking-singapore-stock-market?srnd=premium-asia

    Or you mentally to slow to grasp realities with this fake news post?

    TL Tan: The writer seems to miss the forest for the trees. All the examples quoted above are minor and arose from human error. The right thing to do is automation and artificial intelligence to reduce human error. It is not reflective of the quality of our govt. The world still admires Singapore and our govt, and in the areas that matter most – good jobs, high wages, good quality public housing, adequate retirement fund, top notch education, world class infrastructure and transport etc… Any human error must be set aside these tremendous achievements over decades

    LEE-jiapore is a SINKING DECAYING TOWN FOR BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURIAL GERMINATION – its capital market is dying irreversible.

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  • DavidLKSee:

    > The TRAGEDY for Singapore (The Country) & Singaporeans (The People):

    Far Too Many Obscenely-Overpaid Multi-millionaire Yaya PAPayas have egos as BIG as their front-end orifices (mouths) and their rear-end orifices (you-know-what!!!).

    > PAP = Political ASSHOLES Party

    > MIW = Monkeys-In-White (previously, Men-In-White)

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  • Clown:

    In an interview, he was asked if he is son of comedian Wang Sa.
    He could have just said no if he was not.
    But he did not really answer the question in a way we sometime see politicians answer questions they do not want to answer clearly.

    The article also said he does not want to talk much about his family.

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  • No Change More Pain:

    We just encountered another power failure, an almost unheard of thing in the 80s and 90s, with increasing occurrence.
    PAP ministars should stop all the cheap talks, cheap rebuttals and get into action to solve the problems and mess that are happening, after all they are paid obscene salaries, highest in the world, yet can’t resolve the issues they singlehandedly created.

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  • Lampar Wong:

    Gan boh Yong:
    Hi, we are Gan Boh Yong and Lampard Min.

    These elites are just talking to themselves and looking good because there is no opposition!

    Another Lampar wong singlehandedly wiped out the wealth and savings of all the HDB dwellers with his CB mouth, putting retirees into immediate hardships, with blessings of the clown prince.
    He will be hated as the Lampar that created the zero value HDB asset enhancement.

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  • Red Dot:

    Lee Kuan Yew once said in a speech, ‘There are times when a very good, firm karate chop is necessary. And deliver it cleanly. Don’t have two chops where one would do.’

    See http://heresthenews.blogspot.com/2009/09/was-block-of-wood-so-it-was-truth.html

    There has been one too many national issues involving MOH, MOT, MOM, MINDEF etc in recent years and no karate chop was ever delivered cleanly or was there? I wonder what “no cover up” and “accountability to the people” means.

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