LEONG SZE HIAN: I refer to the article “PSD polling public officers on Oxley Road spat as allegations involve integrity of public sector” (Straits Times, Jun 28).
It states that “The Public Service Division (PSD) is polling public officers about the ongoing spat between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings, as the accusations involve the integrity of the public sector.
The PSD said in a statement on Tuesday (June 28) that “the allegations made go beyond private matters and extend to the conduct and integrity of the Government and our public institutions”.
Since we are talking about “the conduct and integrity of the Government and our public institutions” – can the PSD address the following questions:-
Who made the decision to conduct the poll?
Is the Prime Minister and the head of the civil service aware that the poll is being conducted?
What is the PSD’s understanding of “conflict of interest” since the PSD is in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)?
Will the results of the poll be made public?
To whom will the results of the poll be reported to?
As to “The statement comes after screenshots of the poll were circulated on Facebook and social media, with some people questioning whether public resources should be used to conduct a poll on “family matters”.
Responding to media queries about the poll, the PSD said: “We are polling public officers to understand their sentiments on this issue as it involves the integrity of our public institutions, of which they are an important part”” – can the PSD also address the following questions:-
Given the serious concerns expressed in Singapore as well as international about the “secret” ministerial committee – why is the PSD conducting a “secret” poll, without informing Singaporeans?
Did the PSD even consider that conducting such a poll may further damage Singapore’s reputation in respect of “abuse of power”, use of public resources for “private matters”, etc?
With regard to “It added that it periodically polls public officers on issues that matter to them as part of “stakeholder engagement”” – when was the last time that the PSD conducted such a polling exercise and for what issue, and how many of such polls were done in the last year, last five years, etc?
In respect of “In one question, respondent’s were asked for their views on the matter.
The multiple choice answers included an option saying the incident would have a long-term impact on Singapore’s reputation, and one saying the country’s reputation will recover “after the incident has calmed down”” – does the PSD not realise that such an exercise may actually add to the damage to the “long-term impact on Singapore’s reputation”, hinder the “country’s reputation’s” recovery, and fuel the storm rather than “calming it down”?
As to “Another question asked public officers the extent to which the dispute has affected their confidence in the integrity and impartiality of Singapore’s public institutions and the public service” – did the PSD consider the possibility that such a poll may further affect and diminish Singaporeans’ (and civil servants too) “confidence in the integrity and impartiality of Singapore’s public institutions and the public service”?
With regard to “while a third question asked whether or not they agreed that the issue should be addressed in Parliament” – why is the PSD asking this when “PM Lee had (already) said earlier that he will deliver a ministerial statement in Parliament on July 3 to refute his siblings’ “baseless accusations””?
Some of my friends say – “if already so much of the ruckus in the past 10 days or so isn’t making much sense and only making Singapore the laughing stock of the world – this latest PSD’s polling exercise may really “top it off”!