Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Public engagement must translate into action- Raymond's letter to the press on the CPF, NSmen rewards & the civil service

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter was published on Wednesday 28th May 2014.

I applaud Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean’s reminder to public servants to engage Singaporeans and understand their concerns and needs (“Call for nimble public service with its ear to the ground”; last Saturday).

The civil service must train its staff to not only show more empathy to the public, but also work with different departments and ministries when issues are complex and involve more than one government body.

In short, civil servants must practise the “no wrong door” policy, so that people are not shunted from one department to another.

They must also respond to letters or feedback within five working days, in keeping with the PS21 vision.

Currently, there is much unhappiness over the Central Provident Fund Minimum Sum, which keeps going up year after year and is not matched by wage increases.

Many Singaporeans are so stressed from work that they want to retire at 55 and withdraw their CPF savings.

I am sure some among them are caregivers looking after their loved ones who are grappling with health issues. Perhaps caregivers should be given the option of withdrawing their CPF savings at age 50.

Separately, it is disheartening that the Committee to Strengthen National Service has ignored the contributions of older national servicemen aged between 55 and 64. Has this group not also safeguarded the nation and made lots of sacrifices, like the younger and pioneer generations?

Policies should not favour one group over another, because it will lead to a divided society.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

No comments: