Govt’s Standard SOP For Mistakes, Leader Says Sorry And Move On, Lower Rank Staff Pays The Price

This has been quite obvious for a very long time already. Singaporeans know it, but yet, nothing can be done to stop it. What are we talking about? That every time a mistake is made, it is the lower ranked staff that gets the blame, while the leaders, normally PAP Ministers and MPs, say sorry and moved on with their cushy pay secured a long time ago. It’s appalling that the buck stops with the men at the bottom, while the men at the top receives not even a reprimand.

The recent Bukit Batok HDB flat fire case that unfortunately claimed the live of one elderly woman brings this into sharp focus. The town council officer who padlocked the hose reels will be redeployed while his two supervisors will be penalised. As to the case of the missing water, the Town Council, having been slapped with a Fire Hazard Abatement Notice for non-compliance by the SCDF, in turn slapped a Notice of Non-Performance on the contractor which in turn took appropriate action on the employee who serviced the hose reel as well as redeployed him.

What of the MP of the area himself? He said sorry, apologised for his Town Council’s oversight, and then just got on with his MP life, ie doing nothing much at all. This whole episode smells of a disgusting lack of responsibility and integrity. The easy solution? Always blame the people at the bottom of the work chain. In Singapore, leaders are not accountable if the said leader happen to be a PAP MP.

It’s difficult to fault the higher ups for punishing the people who committed the act, but what of the management and the practices and culture that directly or indirectly resulted in such fiascos? Is the top man not responsible for that?

Usually, the top management issues a curt apology, moves on and the same old culture more or less continues. That, in a nutshell, is how the Singapore government operates. No hara-kiri MPs allowed.

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