DPM Teo: MPs and public officers who ‘get back’ at each other will be investigated


Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean asserted yesterday that Members of Parliament (MPs) and public officers who misuse their influence to ‘get back’ at one another due to work disagreements will be investigated.

The DPM was responding to a recent interview with parliamentarian Lee Bah Wah, in which she revealed that certain public officials have been put off by her straight-talking manner which has earned her a reputation for being abrasive. She had added that her friends had cautioned her that these civil servants would retaliate against her, once when her term ends.

DPM Teo asserted that while MPs and public officers “will not always see issues from the same perspective” due to competing demands and priorities, they should resolve such issues through “reasoned discussion and objective analysis”:

“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.”

The seasoned politician who also heads the civil service added that retaliation over work disputes is “improper” and he will see to it that such action will be investigated, if reported:

“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.”

The DPM further said that the “vast majority of public officers” are as passionate as Dr Lee about serving the people, and added:

“Where the public service or individual public officers have fallen short, the public service will strive to improve and serve Singaporeans better.
“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.”


  1. The quality of our civil servants/MPs have noticeably dropped. Sgp is behind the curve on many things, Putting us behind many cities in China. The cashless society is one example. The other is private hire vehicles. Rules are still not amended to cope with technological changes. I see in many new mrt stations, drop off lots are still drawn for taxis only. They don’t know that there are more PHVs than taxis plying the road now?

  2. It is functioning well because Singaporeans have no choice but to live with the system. If an MP
    struggled to deal with cut and paste civil servants , how do u think ordinary citizens will be subjected to. I met many Singaporeans who had migrated to Australia. I was surprised to learn it was not the pull factors of Australia but the push factors of Singapore. One major factor is the rigid ineffective unjust exercise of the rules of the policies by the civil servants of a few but not all of our esteemed civil institution. They can flip the laws to the extent of bringing disastrous consequences to mess an individual life without blinking their eye. They can be rigidly unfeeling and threatening ( speaking to you condescending as those you are their dogs who can’t survive anywhere else except Singapore. ) At times we are of suspicions that there is no doubt no corruption in civil services but if you got connection you do get privilege. That perhaps can speak for MP Lee Bee Wah, she did not go to our elite school to get into the tightly guarded connection or alumnus to work with our civil servants. For us who has no connection and untouchable privilege , it is better off to live with perhaps less efficient civil services in Australia compared to Singapore but at least we are dealing with human beings bureaucrats with feelings of compassion and humanitarian terms.

  3. LBW is probably stating what is also observed by the public. It is apparently similar with public ‘servants’ overseas, when in some cases make life difficult for volunteers, who have different views & approach to matters than them.

    ‘..well functioning parliament..’ interesting to understand the DPM definition. Is this as in,
    1. most of the PAP Mps Vote In line with the party whip
    2. rarely bring up sensitive issues that affect The party
    3. seldom speak up when sensitive issues affecting the party is raised & if they do speak up, most in support of the party irregardless.
    4. Don’t attend all the parliament meeting & if they do, at times disappear when the parliament meeting is still in session?