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Cabinet Reshuffle: How did Ministers Gan Kim Yong and Grace Fu Survive the Chop?

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Great to see that Heng Swee Keat has retained his post as Finance Minister and Khaw Boon Wan has been allowed to continue his “MRT Revolution” in the latest Cabinet Reshuffle. Also nice to know that we’ve Ong Ye Kung, someone with both private and public sector experience, planning for the future of our kids.

But how come there’s no changes to the Health Ministry, and Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth despite the inefficacy of these ministries?

Let’s take a look at Health Minister Gan Kim Yong first:

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Under his watch, the Health Ministry screwed up its management of the Hepatitis C outbreak – a disaster in terms of public relations and the lapses uncovered afterwards.

In short, people died due to bad procedures, an independent committee found gross lapses in handling of contaminated equipment that likely killed patients, the reporting of infectious diseases and hygiene of wards (such as blood on the wall).

The full punishment of staff involved, and even who was involved, was never made known.

That was 2015. In 2016, the Health Ministry again was confronted with being “sluggish” over its response to Zika. Again, people died, MOH was accused of being negligent because it didn’t heed earlier warning signals, and again, the matter of its untimely public warning.

And then the hot topic that stretched across to 2018 – Eldershield. MOH has not been able to publicly account for why it needs to make the optional insurance policy compulsory, and rework its pricing.

Why? Because S$2.6 billion has been collected so far while only S$100 million has been paid out to subscribers.

Added to that, the contentious issue of Integrated Shield riders, where the Health Ministry again failed to account for why it has sided with insurance companies and made Singaporeans co-pay for medical fees despite buying an insurance that means they don’t have to pay a cent.

MOH blamed the “Buffet Syndrome” of plan-holders, but failed to deliver on data showing how it had come to that conclusion.

So, how did the Health Minister after all these consecutive gaffes keep his job?

And now we move on to this Grace Fu, the minister in charge of Community, Culture and Youth.

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On the Community note, Singapore now sees a sharp social divide by class, besides out traditional divisions over race and religion.

Besides that, there’s the matter of how Fu publicly refused to stand up for Singaporeans when it came to “live” broadcast of the Olympic Games (the one made Joseph Schooling famous), and how she was quick for a photo-op with him after his historic gold medal win (the photo-op that made her infamous).

So Singaporeans got blocked from watching history being made “live” while Ms Fu flew to Brazil to pose for pictures?

How’s that for lending an extra kick to the “class divide” (and possibly fanning further class division down the line)?

The other issue is Joseph School won his gold medal with the blessings (and much money) of his parents. Meanwhile, other young local athletes have complained about structural problems which impede their training.

And the best, it seems, that Fu can muster is petty attacks in parliament over semantics (aka “powderful engrish”).

Her persistent gunning down of the WP’s Sylvia Lim in parliament and incessant demand for an apology (which she never got) over an ambiguous statement split Singaporeans further down the middle. Not to mention her character assassination tactics – is this what Singaporeans expect of community development?

And, she was nowhere to be seen or heard from when Singaporeans were divided over the recent presidential elections.

And so the question – how did these 2 minister survive the chop and keep their million-dollar salaries?

Should they have been allowed to step down gracefully, among the likes of “Toothpick” Lim Swee Say, Yaacob “flooding” Ibrahim, and the ever-elusive Lim Hng Kiang?

 

 

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