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Bold Lianhe Zaobao editorial whacks MOH, SAF, SingPost, SMRT and Singapore Power as it calls on Govt to “restore public confidence”




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Lianhe Zaobao has whacked several Government-linked organisations in a rather bold editorial, calling on the authorities to correct flaws and “restore public confidence”.

Published today, the Chinese daily asserted that a series of lapses by “public service companies recent years have swayed some people’s confidence in the institutions and efficiencies we have always been proud of.”

The Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) publication boldly listed recent incidents involving the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), SMRT, Singapore Post (SingPost) and Singapore Power as it asserted that the authorities “can’t be arrogant” and must “deeply reflect on this series of faults and not let them cause systemic failure”.

The Chinese daily specifically mentioned the following lapses or accidents as it made its point:

  • SingHealth data breach that affected 1.5 million patients;
  • HIV Registry data leak that affected 14,200 patients diagnosed with HIV and 2,400 people these patients had contact with;
  • TTSH putting patients at risk by failing to properly sterilise dental equipment;
  • Hepatitis C outbreak that affected 25 patients and were linked to eight deaths;
  • Five training deaths at the SAF in the past 18 months;
  • Series of lapses at SingPost, that “has gone from bad to worse”;
  • Large-scale blackouts caused by accidents or “negligence” at Singapore Power;
  • Service interruptions, fatal accidents, tunnel flooding incident at SMRT.
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Noting that these organisation provide “public services that affect almost every Singaporean,” the Chinese daily asserted that “the blow to public confidence cannot be underestimated.”

The editorial further said that “the occurrence of these incidents is not accidental,” and offered that these incidents could be caused by a deep-rooted attitude of complacency. It said that if people believe that “the system is perfect without updating, we will become complacent and lose sensitivity to the changes around us”.

It added that the nation will be “caught off guard” when problems arise if it becomes complacent and “cannot listen or turn a blind eye” to changes”.

The daily further said that these lapses and accidents could “be related to the reward and punishment system” in Singapore. It said: “For example, only the lower-level employees are punishable. The senior management is not responsible or only responsible for disproportionate responsibilities.”

Opining that such a system could be destructive, the editorial concluded that the authorities cannot afford to be “arrogant” and should work to correct flaws and restore the people’s confidence in the nation’s institutions.

The editorial is trending on social media for naming public institutions and calling for change, especially since the paper is run by SPH – a mainstream media conglomerate that has symbiotic links to the Government.

Comparing the Chinese daily’s editorial more favorably to an editorial by SPH’s flagship English publication, The Straits Times, one netizen – Facebook user Sean Lim – said: “A darn good editorial by Zaobao today, whacking hard on all the under-performing organisations recently – i.e. MOH, SAF, SingPost, Singapore Power and also brief mention on SMRT. Way better than Straits Times which carried a similar editorial today but it was sugar-coated and bland.”

Read Lianhe Zaobao’s editorial HERE.

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