Action & Accountability

Just when the news of UNSW pulling out of its Asia campus in Singapore and primary and secondary parties struggle to deal with the enormous aftermath of the incident, news has hit the newsstand and caused a big uproar in
Singapore. Reuters reported that the Auditor General in
Singapore has audited EDB for the very first time in 46 years and the auditing committee has found that there was some “lapses in its governance structure, financial operations, and procurement and accounting systems”
 Furthermore, it was also reported that there were also similar cases happening in other government agencies such as the Ministry of Information where they  “ had asked some of its suppliers to change the dates or credit terms on invoices “apparently to conceal late payments”.” 

This was an outrage to a lot of people especially since there was a recent pay hike in the minister’s pay by about 60 percent on the basis that the ministers would not be susceptible to corruption of any kind as well as to attract top talents. Are we seriously going to pay top money for someone who has not have the knowledge to do what a first year business student know is essential to any company? True, lapses are a common sight even in small companies. But I think that it is the job of both the management to minimize such events from occurring. This is true even in private companies. What more can a government agency say when they are using the people’s money and whose motive is to serve the people? Things like auditing should be done on a yearly basis not every 10 leap years or so. As a “top talent”, surely it occurs to them that there is such a need? 

I can understand the reasoning behind the pay hike thing that the government has implemented. Youngsters like us would sometimes go for the position that makes the most money or is the most prestigious. Government positions in this political-unconscious world would therefore be seen as scud-work at best. Therefore, a good pay would attract people to come apply for the job. However, similarly to any well high-paid jobs, there must be a responsibility that comes with it. Now, it is not the lapses that are disappointing. As the report says, the monetary significance of the mistake is of little consequence, it is that these lapses actually occurring shows that whoever was in charge has not been meticulous enough. Likewise the first audit in 46 years, it also shows that the government is not caring enough to try to rectify or minimize mistakes. This heck-care attitude would ultimately bring the downfall of the government and the incident is casting doubts on whether our
Singapore government is truly competent enough to fill their positions.
 However, why is it that highly paid officials can still make such a mistake? Is it that their heart is truly not in serving the country? If it is, do we really want such people at the helm of our country? To think in another point of view, will people who have the heart to serve and be dedicated to
Singapore demand more pay?

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~ by rojakgeekiness on May 30, 2007.

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