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09 Mar 2019
Prime Minister Office
Negative View - 547
Poor quality of the people in charge

I am worried about the future of Singapore. I am worried about the poor quality of the people appointed to be in charge of our ministries and agencies. 

Things appear to be falling apart.

The latest evidences are the fines imposed by the Singapore Medical Council on two doctors for minor lapses.  The amounts of the fines are $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.

These fines are egregious and were clearly excessive compared to the lapses that had occurred. These lapses were questionable anyway, based on the opinions of the medical profession. These two events caused the doctors to submit two separate petitions for the fines to be reviewed.

Our health minister and his officials were slow in responding to the public outcry. They must have felt that the initial decisions were appropriate. Who knows, maybe they were the parties responsible for those decisions?

The court is now asked to review these decisions. See here.

The Singapore Medical Council is not the only agency that has the authority to impose fines. What about the many other government agencies that have similar authority to impose fines on their regulated subjects? 

We also have fines imposed on mobile operators and transport operators on failure to deliver the expected quality of service. 

Who were the people who made these decisions? Are these people capable of determining what are the appropriate fines and punishments?  

If the standard of the decisions made by the SMC  is any indication, I really worry for the future of governance in Singapore. 

We are still suffering from the impact of the bad decision to ask for a tender for a water desalination and power generation project that has caused huge losses to the retail investors.

Should the Public Utilities Board, which was the agency in charge of this disastrous project, explain their shortcomings (if any) on this matter?

In the entire episode, I have not heard a word from the minister for water resources or the minister in charge of the electricity market.

For several decades, we put people in charge of government ministries and agencies who do not have experience in their relevant fields or in the commercial world for that matter. Are we now seeing this practice boomerang in a most harmful way?

Tan Kin Lian

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