Another gd reason for moving ministers around

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 27/07/2012 at 6:40 am

In this and this, I talked about one reason why moving ministers around was good: the new ministers can “move on” from their predecessors who because they were the ministers who made the decisions or who were otherwise responsible were in denial, or too defensive about their actions, couldn’t take remedial action: flood prevention measures, and public housing and transport problems. 

The news in the past week, about a major flood prevention project (see below), reminded me  of another reason: a minister who was a dud in another portfolio could turn out to have the skills needed in a new portfolio. VivienB is the person I have in mind. As welfare and sports minister, he was a flop: making fun of the elderly needy, and while refusing to spend more on them overspending wildly on the Kiddie Olympics.

But as water minister he dares to be decisive: approving an expensive but much needed project. PUB’s plans to build a diversion canal and detention tank at the Stamford Canal Catchment to better deal with intense storms. The cost has not been revealed but given that it involves construction work in the Orchard Road area, it will cost serious money.

Well VivianB is not afraid to give it his approval. If Yaacob had been in charge, senior PUB engineers tell me that he would still be thinking about it: asking if they could find cheaper ways of mitigating once in half a century floods that juz happened twice in two months in 2010. After all as an academic, he would say that the events of 2010 could be juz statistical flukes. If so, why spend money unnecessarily based on outliers?

And thinking about it, Yaacob is a good “information” minister. He took his time over introducing a Code of Conduct for bloggers. And now seems to have shelved idea for yhe time being.

We would not have liked it if he had been decisive and autocratic about it. And imagine the egg on the face of the government if he had acted decisively and forced the CoC down the collectively throat of netizens: a CoC that was modelled on the practices of the mainstream media; only for revelations to hit the fan that STOMP used paid “content providers” to pose as citizen journalists, one of them faked a news item, and for the STOMP content team to admit that they are FTs from China?

So PM, let’s move on to yr dad’s policy of moving ministers around and out. No more jobs for life that Goh Chok Tong and you seem to favour.

  1. It seems to me that they all got scared by the last GE result. They know people expect result or they will join the rank of ex-ministers.

    How about getting a more decisive PM now? A new PM will be much more receptive to new ideas and fixing failed policies.

  2. Yes, very good reasons indeeed. Irrespective of their positions said DMP Teo if not competant enough got go means got to go and PM have mention before move them to a less decisive and unimportant position. Similarly this goes together with those with paper qualifications but without experiences, how they got to their positions is anybodys’ guess. Not smart but act smart these are the people that have got to be reposition.

  3. […] Hian: Town council: $4.38m surplus – still increase fees? – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Another gd reason for moving ministers around – Everything Also Complain: Singaporean flying China flag outside […]

  4. The general theory of M M Lee is that if you are good,you can be good in everything,he has once said in public that he is a good lawyer,and he would also be a good civil engineer if he had wanted to be one,or any other profession.
    He applied this in selecting ministers,but I have seen mostly failures,for example I would prefer Dr B to be Minister of health rather than Minister of enviroment or Minister of sports,or Mr George Yeo or Mr Khaw B H as Minister of health.
    I do know that many Army Generals in the West become successful Ministers in the West.

  5. […] piece is in response to PM’s cabinet changes 14 months ago and to this on reasons for moving ministers around and out, someone commented, “How about getting a more […]

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