Public Service Division runs opinion poll with public servants on ongoing-Lee Family Saga

Just yesterday, Leslie Chew, cartoonist of the hiatus Demon-cratic Studio posted two screenshots of a poll that someone sent him. It was said to be an opinion poll from the Public Service Division (PSD) under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to poll civil/public servants for their opinions on the Lee Family dispute.

Those who have been following the on-going Lee family saga would be familiar with the accusations made by the children of late Lee Kuan Yew, Dr Lee Weiling (LWL) and Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) upon their elder brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with allegations of him abusing his powers and position as PM for personal agenda. Both of them issued a joint statement on 14 June delivering harsh criticisms of PM Lee, saying that they are disturbed by the character, conduct, motives and leadership of their brother and the role of his wife, Ho Ching. PM Lee has denied all allegations made against him and is set to address the Parliament on 3 July on this matter.

According to the screenshot, the opinion poll is entitled, “Poll on Lee Family Dispute” and is issued by the PSD Engage.

The poll shows three questions that relate to the ongoing saga between the Lee siblings.  One asks the public servant’s view on the matter, the second asks if the incident has affected his or her confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the public institutions, the third asks if it is appropriate for the Prime Minister to address the issue in Parliament. It is unknown how many questions are there in total.

Chew who shared the poll, wrote,

“Is it not an abuse of public resources for the PM to use the PMO to conduct the poll? If the PM wants some opinion about his family matters, shouldn’t he be using his own money to hire professional survey firms to conduct the poll instead of abusing taxpayers funded resources like this?

Is it not a waste of taxpayers’ monies paid to civil/public servants to be spending their working time participating in polls of the PM’s personal & private family matter instead of using the said time doing the actual job they are paid for – serving the people?”

Public Service Division confirms conduct of poll

PSD has confirmed in a statement on Tuesday with media that such a poll was conducted. PSD and is quoted to have said that “the allegations made go beyond private matters and extend to the conduct and integrity of the Government and our public institutions”.

It further stated, “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.” and it periodically polls public officers on issues that matter to them as part of “stakeholder engagement”.

What is the poll used for?

As with the “secret committee” formed to deliberate the government decision on the property at 38 Oxley Road, what is this poll meant for? Even if you would have an overwhelming response from the public service officers that the whole incident is a negative affair to Singapore and that the Prime Minister should not be using the Parliament to address his personal affairs, what will PSD do? Call for an impeachment of the PM?

Given that this poll is based on invitation only and the allegation of abuse of powers by PM Lee, would anyone participating in the poll provide their response in a truthful manner?

Or is this poll meant to provide positive figures for PM Lee or other Ministers to present in Parliament in this coming 3 July to show that the government suffered no damage to confidence on its public institution due to allegations of abuse of authority?