News @ AsiaOne

Tribute to Dr Phay Seng Whatt

President Nathan pays tribute to ex-chairman of the PSC. -AsiaOne

Tue, Apr 21, 2009

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Dr Phay Seng Whatt last night. He was among the band of illustrious Singaporeans who made valuable contributions to our Society.

Trained as a medical doctor with an outstanding scholastic record, he held various positions in the Medical Service. His valuable contribution to Singapore was as Chairman of the Public Service Commission from January 1962 until June 1975.

As the citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Medal in 1963 mentioned, he distinguished himself as someone diligent in the role he played in the fair selection of Public Servants at all levels of the Service. Finding good people with quality to man a Public Service is a critical and continuing problem. Assessing, selecting and evaluating people to fill critical key positions in the Public Service is even more critical. It calls for judging the worth of candidates and deciding whether one is better than another. Dr Phay developed experience over time to judge people and forecast their potential for higher responsibilities.

Many present and past members of the Public Service will remember him for the judgments he exercised in the selection and promotion of public servants to many a key positions, in those early years of our Statehood. I was among that group that he nurtured to take up responsible positions in the Public Service. I join others in mourning his passing away.


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