How to control wasteful expenditure by bureaucracy

There was some consternation in social media about the $170 spent on a toilet tap in Woodlands Police Station. Why does the Police spend so much on a tap?  Click here.

I recalled that the Pentagon (defense department of USA) also had a bad reputation for excessive spending. I found this article. It spent $640 on a toilet seat.

We are catching up with America on the wasteful spending.

These are only the cases that came into the notice of the public. What about the countless cases that remain unreported?

I describe this kind of ridiculous spending as being caused by bureaucracy – the practice of following rules that defy common sense. It seems that if the bureaucrat follow the rule book, they do not have to account for ridiculous decisions.

What is the rule book?

It probably requires the purchasing officer to get three quotations and to award the contract to the vendor who provides the lowest quote.

Surely, there must be a better way? How much does the purchasing officer pay for the tap or the toilet seat, if he has to source for a supplier and pay out of his own pocket?

Surely, if we adopt a practical approach, we can get a better decision?

How about – use your discretion and act responsibly?

Each purchase below a certain threshold should be approved by the supervisor and subject to audit to be compared against a database of acceptable market prices. Surely, there is a market price for a tap or a toilet seat?

A total variations less than $100 per day for each purchasing officer can be excused on the grounds of non materiality.

Do you have any other solution to overcome the waste from following the bureaucratic approach?

Tan Kin Lian

 

 

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16 Responses to “How to control wasteful expenditure by bureaucracy”

  • Lost his way, GOH where?:

    Problem is, we think it’s WASTEful spending but to them it’s not!

    When the upper beam is crooked, how to expect the lower ones to be straight? Only when the top gets replaced, solution will come easy to deal with the lower ones.

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  • Alot of Noise:

    Alot of noise:
    You guys alot of unnecessary noise;

    There are the Public Sector Standard Units of Rates used in the construction of the Cantonment Police Station and the Qualified Quantity Surveyors there.

    I tell you, so many people has got to be involved to fix it back, from the sub to the main con, from the test to the inspection and witness and consultants, furthermore come with defect liabilities and warranty.

    If I am the Sub, please don’t even contract me to fix it back… One complain, drive there, all profits gone already. All them want to do main Project Only.

    It will be more economical to get their own maintenance guy to fix it back and inspect themselves but these people why do they want to do that and be responsible for it?

    All the above, all no balls to lodge a police report if so adamant.

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  • VTO:

    TKL and title limits the talk to “bureaucracy”. I not wasting my time on TKL.

    VTO, all problems solved. No GST, No tax hikes etc..

    No need talk so much, No 2nd Chance, No mandate.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Tan Ahhhh! ever heard of the Term LEEgal Corruption where everything is DONE LEEgaly in the eyes of the Law…even MURDER under the Guise of LEEgal ABORTION!!!

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  • Harder Truths:

    How do you know our toilet seats are not worth $1000?

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  • Bapak:

    Thats why the Wood found difficulty to find dedicated (I believe he meant YES men) to meet his promised on Swiss Std of Living.

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  • Govt is too rich:

    What is $171 ?
    A minister says $13 million is just lose change, nothing to worry about, nothing to investigate.

    The government is too rich. The reserve is flooded with money, taken one way or another from the people.

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  • Well Said TKL:

    Wait till u see how MINDEF, MOE, MOH spend on unnecessary Manpower +unnecessary items.

    Under LHL, we have mutated to become a MORON society. PAP any how increase taxes on all items, any how justify increases.
    Anyhow delay CPF payment. Now even they allow Malaysians to become Ministers while LOCALLY born has to serve National Service!!
    KNNCCB PAP, I vote all of you to HELL!!

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  • opposition dude:

    This is nothing new lah, it’s been going on for years liao.

    Remember $1 billion Bishan Park, $2000 Brompton bikes a few years ago, $900k bin centre and failed AGO audits?

    So you see, wasting money goes a long way back to at least Bishan Park. There are NO controls whatsoever, how else would you explain that these massive wastages occur again and again?

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  • Calling A Spade A Spade:

    How could bureaucracy be the same as corruption or cronyism?

    When public agencies are aflush with free tax monies, taste gets high.
    There is more time to appreciate finer things in life, like stroking a golden tap in toilet.

    Learn to appreciate obscene riches and blissful relationships.

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  • RC level material:

    So many people in alternative media already shouting need for effective check and balance, TKL must be sleeping or too dense to know, for him to innocently ask for some suggestions.

    The agencies are all in the same familee, siblings checking each other under the stewardship of a dishonorable son.
    TKL is happy that self-check-self is the solution to solve such problems?
    The answer is obvious and plain common sense.

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  • Sinkie Thief Also Stupid:

    Harder Truths:
    How do you know our toilet seats are not worth $1000?

    Unlikely not, the man left the door opened and the toilet was obviously not crowded.

    If it is expensive everyone will hog the toilet, and the man is stupid not to steal it and took the peanut tap instead.

    ;P

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  • KNN:

    It’s common in court cases to whack the full MSRP pricing for anything involved.

    It’s the same when govt tells you it subsidises $38 out of your $50 Poly Dr consultation. Never mind if got private GP charging only $25.

    I won’t be surprise that the actual cost paid by MHA for the tap is $50 (“discounted” by the supplier / main-contractor).

    The lawyer for the accused should have nailed on the so-called $171 & corroborate with actual billings sent to MHA. A lower actual cost may result in less jail time for the accused.

    The problem with how S’pore is run, is that it breeds culture of non-transparency & tekaning of less able sinkies, while rewarding those who are able to take advantage of the laws & unspoken rules, and/or who are balls lickers.

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  • Spineless Sinkie Syndrome:

    Mr. Tan KL says:
    ————-
    “What is the rule book?

    It probably requires the purchasing officer to get three quotations and to award the contract to the vendor who provides the lowest quote.

    Surely, there must be a better way? How much does the purchasing officer pay for the tap or the toilet seat, if he has to source for a supplier and pay out of his own pocket?”
    ————

    For this case, I agree with Mr. Tan KL on the proposal to limit wasteful spending, via docking the salary of the purchaser; with the amount to be deducted as the difference from the price paid versus the lowest quote available.

    The ONLY way to rein in profligate spending is by making it DIRECTLY & PERSONALLY painful to those holding the purse strings. Otherwise, it is just too easy to just spend “Other People’s money” simply because…well, its “Other People’s money”. Ha!

    The same applies everywhere from family finances, to corporate spending, to government expenses. HUMAN NATURE is the SAME EVERYWHERE.

    - A child will always spend the parent’s money easily because they did not earn it, so of course, they will tend to spend it first.

    - An employee will spend the company’s money easily but NOT their own salary. Again, same principle of spending other people’s money.

    - A business Founder will be very careful about spending his company’s funds because he earned it the hard way, so he/she will value it and not spend it anyhow. This is the reason why more often than not, private companies are more efficient than governments (who just easily raise taxes to fund all sorts of silly expenses for themselves).

    Governments simply just collect taxes, whether the economy is doing well or not, without any need to work hard for the money and only need to play dirty politics once every 5 years. Companies, on the other hand, are constantly under competitive pressures, quarterly financial accounting etc. to make sure they spend their dollars wisely.

    - Even in a corporate setting, the SAME behavior happens so many times. For family offices, they are very careful with their spending because the wealthy founder, knows the value of his hard-earned money from his/her own business. However, when the company is run by external CEOs, very often the CEO will spend like a King because he/she did NOT experience earning it the hard-way. Hence, many big corporate 2nd or 3rd generation CEOs fly private jets or spend on ridiculous office furnishings or golden toilets simply because it is others people’s money, unless the CEO’s compensation has a significant component based on corporate savings.

    Hence, rules for govt. spending MuST hit the pockets where it hurts most; otherwise it will not work.

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  • Asd:

    Squandered 54 years… now you kpkb…

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  • Bobo:

    Lost his way, GOH where?:
    Problem is, we think it’s WASTEful spending but to them it’s not!

    When the upper beam is crooked, how to expect the lower ones to be straight? Only when the top gets replaced, solution will come easy to deal with the lower ones.

    Why is it so? Ask the 70% who had given them the strong mandate to take whatever they like from us. All sort of price hikes are like lelong. No one dare to object.

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