Singaporeans woke up this morning to the alarming news that the Chiefs of both the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) have been relieved of their position pending investigations by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
This must have shaken the civil services to the core.
Without presuming guilt of these two guys, but if the suspicions are true that they have engaged in corrupt practices, it must surely raise serious concerns about the validity of the logic that corruption is prevented by paying high salaries. These guys have certainly not been paid peanuts.
To my reckoning, if we use money as the main lure into public service, surely that must attract only those for whom money and more money becomes the driving force for their ambitions. Corruption is fueled by greed, and there is never enough to assuage that thirst.
The most effective way to stem corruption is to have an independent, transparent and effective CPIB, and a vigilant public who is prepared to whistleblow. Our CPIB has done an excellent job so far, thankfully. But if we want our politicians to be free from corruption, then the CPIB must have the freedom to investigate all officials including the cabinet and even the Prime Minister. That the CPIB reports to the Prime Minister's Office does not give it a freehand in performing this critical function. Perhaps this line of reporting should be reviewed? Since we have an elected Presidency, should not the CPIB report to the President, rather than to the Prime Minister?
6 years ago