Commentary by FMG CEO on the importance of Public Sector Leaders leading the charge to “chart a new direction” for Singapore

Year: 2020

In response to the Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing’s video regarding the importance of Singapore needing to “chart a new direction”, FMG CEO Devadas made the following remarks regarding the importance of the Public Sector leading the charge from the front:

“We agree with the Minister that Singapore will not return to the old normal and must chart a new direction.

He mentioned 4 major systemic changes that we face or must adopt. We suggest a 5th; that is the pay structure for politicians and the civil service especially the elite Administrative service must reflect the new conditions.

The job security they enjoy is a premium in and of itself. To maintain the trust and confidence of the people, political leaders must lead from the front and public servants cannot be insulated in a bubble. Unless this adjustment is undertaken, the schism between people and government will be larger than all the possible fractures. Taxpayers in the private sector, fully exposed to the economic maelstrom, should not expense the income security of political leaders and public servants.

This was thinly defensible in our best years but it is unconscionable in our worst years. It bears noting that the first action of the PAP upon achieving office in 1959 was to cut allowances to public servants to save costs and to show the people that the government was here to work for them, not the other way around, as it had been in the Colonial era.

Successful transformation and adaptation start from the head, not the tail.”