Mr Lim took to Facebook on Saturday (Sept 12) to highlight the need for an independent body to mitigate and keep conflicts of interest in check such as those when spouses of politicians occupy crucial public service positions or maintain a senior role in a commercial entity. He described it to be “a tangled web” being weaved.
“As I survey the public scene in Singapore today, it is obvious to me and sad that we have a serious problem of conflicts of interest,” said Mr Lim. Although he did not enumerate in great detail the examples, he noted two scenarios where conflicts of interest could occur.
“We should not tolerate having spouses of politicians occupy important public service positions where their decisions may be in conflict with the interest of the government or the political party their other half belong to,” said Mr Lim citing the first example.
“Neither should we tolerate any instance where a spouse occupies a senior role in a commercial entity, which is awarded a government contract that his/her other half may have influence over.”
He also proposed for an independent Office of the Conflicts of Interest headed by an Ethics Commissioner to be established by a “new non-People’s Action Party government of the future.” Mr Lim noted that this is being practised in Canada and functions as a completely independent body accountable only to the Canadian Parliament and not to the executive.
“We should go one step further and make such an Office and Commissioner accountable to the people of Singapore and not just Parliament,” added Mr Lim. “The Commissioner should enjoy the same status as that of a High Court Judge, and his decisions must be binding.”
“We need to take active steps to bring about accountability and transparency instead of simply mouthing nice-sounding slogans,” said Mr Lim.
Members from the online community agreed with his suggestion, noting “ownself check ownself does not work.” Facebook user Paul Chuah added that “all positions must be monitored by independent committees as there is no such thing as ownself appoint ownself and ownself check ownself.”
What A Tangled Web We WeaveAs I survey the public scene in Singapore today, it is obvious to me and sad that we have a…