DPM Teo: Improper for either MPs or public officers to ‘get back at’ each other because of disagreements over work

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean dispelled the idea given by Members of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC Er Dr Lee Bee Wah, saying that MP or public officers who use their position or authority to “get back” at each other because of disagreements will be investigated.

He was responding to Er Dr Lee statement in an interview with Channel NewsAsia who said that some in the Government have not been able to take her straight-talking ways, while among civil servants.

Er Dr Lee said in the interview: “I even have friends who tell me, ‘Bee Wah, when you step down, then you will know, these civil servants will get back at you’.

However, Er Dr Lee brushed the fear away stating, “So be it. If I’m afraid then there’s nothing much that I can do, right? So if you really want to serve, don’t be worried.”

Responding to this, DPM Teo acknowledged on Sunday (4 February) that MPs and public officers “will not always see issues from the same perspective” and that they will often encounter competing demands and priorities.

“When this happens, they should resolve whatever issues that may arise professionally, through reasoned discussion and objective analysis. The Government expects public officers and MPs alike to conduct themselves in a proper manner. One can disagree while respecting the integrity and point of view of the other party,” he said.

“It would be improper for either MPs or public officers to ‘get back at’ each other because of disagreements over work. If anyone knows of either public officers or MPs using their position or authority to act in this improper way, he or she should raise the matter with me with the facts, and I will have it investigated,” he added.

Mr Teo said that Dr Lee is passionate about serving Singaporeans, and “so are the vast majority of public officers”, saying, “Where the public service or individual public officers have fallen short, the public service will strive to improve and serve Singaporeans better.”

He then added that to put things in perspective, overall we have an excellent public service, and a well-functioning Parliament.

“We should keep it that way, and work to improve on what we have,” he stressed.