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18 Jul 2020  (464 Views) 
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Political systems


Rotation of ministers
I asked a question in a survey - which minister do you expect to head each ministry.

More than half the respondents choose the incumbent minister.

Is it a good idea for the same minister to head a minister for more than five years, and sometimes more than ten years?

There are advantages for a minister to remain in the same ministry for a long time. They get to know the work and the people in the ministry.

But there are disadvantages. Some of them are:

a) They get complacent.
b) They stick to old policies and refuse to change
c) They get too close to certain people in the ministry or the contractors
d) They can become corrupt.

Considering the pros and cons, I believe that it is a good idea to rotate a minister after they have headed the ministry for more than five years. It should be mandatory for the minister to be rotated after ten years. 

The long term perspective should be provided by the civil servants, especially the "permanent secretaries".

The qualities that are needed for a minister are:

a) A broad perspective
b) Ability to connect to the ground
c) Willingness to make changes and be flexible to respond according to the results.
d) A good knowledge of the work of the ministry.

The knowledge of the work should come from prior experience in the same field. For example, it is good for a doctor to be appointed as the minister for health or an town planner to be appointed to head national development.

It is a bad idea to get an army general to head any civilian ministry. They do not have the experience in the field.

I hope that, in the future, the prime minister will appoint the ministers by following the principles that I have described above. If he needs my help, he can call me. 

Agree or not?

Tan Kin Lian
 


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