Now it seems there’s another case coming up.
Media reports said that the Ministry of National Development (MND) has suspended a National Parks (NParks) officer responsible for purchasing 26 foldable Brompton bicycles worth a total of $57,200. Bought to enhance work productivity of NParks officers, the bikes were worth $2,200 each and ever since the purchase came to light, the Singapore public has been questioning the need for bicycles worth over $2,000 each.
The suspension came as a surprise as Minister Khaw Boon Wan had just defended the purchase on 4 July on his blog and even called for an audit to be carried out to prove that everything was in order. However the audit uncovered discrepancies, including the fact that the procurement period lasts only 3 days, instead of the standard tender time of 14 days and that the tender was called during Chinese New Year where most companies were closed for Lunar New Year.
Now some people on the internet are saying Mr. Khaw has egg on his face as he had defended the purchase and was the one who called for an audit. I respectfully disagree.
Mr. Khaw clearly believed that there was nothing wrong with the purchase. If he did, he would never have called for the audit. Also the entry on his blog that defended the purchase was titled "Value for Money". Ironic, I know but it just prove the fact that Mr. Khaw firmly believed that there was no problem with the purchase.
The audit was called and they found a problem. Did they sweep it under the rug to save face? Did they pretend that there was no problem with the purchase? No! They did an audit, found a problem and immediately took action.
I applaud the MND, NParks and Mr. Khaw on having the courage to take immediate action against the officer despite the embarrassment and questions that would arise from it. This is an action that Singaporeans should get behind as it proves that the Singapore government is actually doing its job. It prove that there was an actual audit done, and that a government agency and their minister are not too proud to admit they are wrong and immediately rectify a problem.
So instead of throwing brickbats at MND and Mr. Khaw, Singaporeans should applaud them. To me, they did something admirable here.