Dear All Singapore Stuff,

I read with a heavy heart news that MOE is exploring the possibility of making teacher pay for parking their vehicles in school. Having worked in the civil service for a number of years, I finally quit because of the sheer stupidity of agencies like the AGO who constantly nitpick our work to score points. Now their stupidity has finally caught up with our poor teachers. In a way, MOE is bearing the brunt of the immense public backlash even though it is totally not their fault but that of the AGO which tries to beat every government agency into conformity under the guise of accountability.

Instead of going after true lapses in accountability within the civil service and safeguarding public money, AGO has taken the easy route to fulfilling their yearly KPIs. Instead of scrutinizing the numerous public tenders taking place yearly, the AGO found it a worthy use of their limited time to nitpick against MOE and their parking policies. AGO can only see the micro in this issue and fails to understand the intrinsic motivations it gives our teachers.

If you think this nitpicking will end with our teachers, think again. The next in line would probably be our SAF regulars who enjoy ‘free parking’ within the confines of their military installations. AGO must understand they are not dealing with objects or numbers but affecting the lives of hardworking honest public servants. Yes it is fair and equitable to deny teachers free parking but what is the social cost involved? Does it affect morale? Obviously AGO cannot care less so long it meets their KPIs and MOE will clean up the public mess for them. Why are we making life so hard for the little man on the street?

This totally avoidable situation is best summed up by our Ambassador-at-Large Bilahari Kausikan, he said and I quote “Every civil servant pays for parking. That teachers did not pay was an anomaly. Whether the anomaly ought to have been rectified is another matter. I personally think it would have been wiser to let things be and justify it as an exception to the rule. … Besides to try to justify an anomaly would require a fight with the PSD and Auditor-General.”

I hope the AGO will wake up and put their resources in the right place and stop oppressing the little man on the street. Get the big fishes and spare the small ones please.

Former Civil Servant
A.S.S. Contributor

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