Improper for MPs or public officers to 'get back' at each other: DPM Teo

Improper for MPs or public officers to 'get back' at each other: DPM Teo

teo chee hean at PSL
File photo of Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.

SINGAPORE: Members of Parliament or public officers who use their position or authority to "get back" at each other because of disagreements will be investigated, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Sunday (Feb 4).

DPM Teo, who is also Minister-in-charge of the civil service, was responding to media queries on Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah's comments in an interview with Channel NewsAsia's On the Record.

Dr Lee had said that some in the Government have not been able to take her straight-talking ways, while among civil servants, she has quite a reputation too. "I even have friends who tell me, 'Bee Wah, when you step down, then you will know, these civil servants will get back at you'," Dr Lee said.

In response, DPM Teo acknowledged that MPs and public officers "will not always see issues from the same perspective" and that they will often encounter competing demands and priorities.

"When this happens, they should resolve whatever issues that may arise professionally, through reasoned discussion and objective analysis," Mr Teo said. "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.

"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."

Mr Teo said that Dr Lee is passionate about serving Singaporeans, and "so are the vast majority of public officers". 

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

"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."

Source: CNA/ra