The latest Cabinet reshuffle is disappointing, and signals the PAP-led government’s clear lack of preparation and direction.
It is incredulous to see that Mr Lawrence Wong and Mr Ong Ye Kung have been skirted to head different ministries barely a year after taking charge of Education and Transport respectively.
While the Prime Minister has apologised for the “disruptive” move, he has never given a clear explanation regarding the need for the disruption.
If Mr Wong and Mr Ong are indeed frontrunners to become the next PM, then the moves do not inspire confidence at all.
Rather, it shows that they are dispensable – they can be easily removed just as easily as they are appointed.
The SDA is proud that Singapore has a dedicated and capable civil service to hold up the nation, despite such instability amongst the political elite.
Civil servants have been made to unreasonably bear the brunt of the mad scramble at the top due to what appears to be an utter lack of foresight and preparation for leadership succession.
We are grateful for their perseverance.
At the same time, the SDA is concerned that Ministers who appear to be under-performing in their roles are simply rotated to lead different ministries.
To put it gently, the tenures of Mr Gan Kim Yong and Mrs Josephine Teo in Healthcare and Manpower have been unspectacular.
Under Mr Gan’s leadership, the Health Ministry has been marred by some of the worst data security and healthcare lapses in recent history.
Meanwhile, the Manpower Ministry has continued the trend for irresponsible opening of the floodgates to foreign workers, and arguably, oversight by its leaders contributed to the Covid-19 outbreak in dormitories which saw Singapore go into lockdown.
Instead of allowing for a gentlmanly bowing out of the scene to make way for better leaders, Mr Gan and Mrs Teo have been shunted to the Trade and Industry and Communications and Information ministries respectively – ministries which they appear to lack the depth and experience to manage.
The highest level of political office should not be an apprenticeship – and most definitely not a highly-paid apprenticeship.
On our weekly walkabouts, it is saddening to hear residents’ worry that the PAP has run out of ideas, and does not have enough competent people to rise up the ranks and lead the nation.
This dangerous game of musical chairs at the top has only worsened those fears.
The PAP-led government has, for the longest time, warned Singaporeans that without a clear mandate, it cannot enact long-term plans to safeguard Singapore’s future.
But even with this mandate, what we have been dealt is more instability and suffering for the Common Singaporean.
Why then should we give them this mandate to do as they please?
It is time that Singaporeans hold the PAP-led government to its promises.
And if it cannot make good on those promises, it is time that we send a strong warning that we will not allow them to gamble with our lives, and the lives of our children.
SDA Chairman’s Office