Spell out clear rules for civil servants

SINGAPORE - I disagree that "paying public servants top dollar is necessary to avert corruption" ("Staying steadfast against graft"; Monday). If that were so, then the recent high-profile corruption cases, where the perpetrators were more than well compensated, would not have happened.

Civil servants should be paid adequately but not handsomely.

There are three contributing factors to the current state of affairs.

First, I sense a trend in society where things are not seen in black and white, but in shades of grey. It is dangerous to rationalise everything that we do.

I was brought up in an era when we were clear about what was right and wrong.

The Government should clearly spell out the processes, procedures and behaviours that all civil servants should adhere to. Ambiguous rules and regulations lead to time wasted in second-guessing and checking on multiple levels.

Second, there is no official policy in the civil service on whistle-blowing.

An official ombudsman should be appointed for this purpose, and this person should be from the judiciary in order to maintain independence.

Third, talks and lectures on the rules are insufficient. These should be complemented with workshops, where there are discussions on case studies. All civil servants should also be made to attend talks by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

Civil servants must not just do things right but should also do the right things.

- Colin Loh

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