Would any civil servant ever complain about their Minister?

I refer to the article “Safeguards in place to ensure public service not politicised” (Straits Times, Jan 9).

It states that “Any public servant who feels pressure from a minister to take a certain course of action can report it, said Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung yesterday.

They can turn to the permanent secretaries that head ministries, the head of the Civil Service, the Public Service Commission or even the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, he added.

Mr Ong was responding to concerns raised by Workers’ Party MPs that public servants may be unduly influenced by ministers, under a new law that, among other things, empowers the minister in charge of a statutory board to direct its work.”

When one of my friends read this – he almost choked!

Why not give credence to and support this statement with the statistics as to how many civil servants have ever complained about their Minister to their permanent secretaries or the head of the civil service, in the history of Singapore?

Arguably, would any civil servant be “brave enough” or “stupid enough” to do this?

Can you imagine what their career prospects may be – if they do this?

Editor’s note – Say for example, in the case of the Oxley saga, if the public servant from the National Heritage Board feels that certain individuals were acting beyond the standard operating procedure. Who can he or she report the matter to and will he or she be penalised for reporting? Or put it simply, is there anyone in Singapore who is so naive not to understand the connection between the political party and top civil servants to try to test the system?

Also, there is no proper whistleblowing system where one can report a matter without risking one’s identity being revealed. Why would anyone risk their own life and future just to do something right? This is the state of the country we are in.