Updated: 10/01/2013 01:31

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says trust in the public service is a major determinant of success in implementing government policies.



Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says trust in the public service is a major determinant of success in implementing government policies.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has emphasised that a major determinant of success in implementing government policies that improve the lives of people is trust in the government, and in particular, the public service.

He said it's important that Singaporeans trust that the government understands their needs, is committed to the people, and will remain a steward of the public good.

And one way the public service can strengthen this trust is to work together as one, with Singaporeans at the centre, and upholding the highest standards of integrity.

Mr Lee was speaking at the Public Service Leadership Advance, a planning seminar for public sector leaders this morning.

The Prime Minister also stressed that critical to maintaining public trust is upholding the highest standards of integrity -- something which has been painstakingly built up over many years.

Mr Lee says because there is integrity, businesses can compete fairly instead of relying on improper influence.

And because there is integrity, public officers can be given the discretion to exercise judgement when managing multi-million dollar projects.

The Prime Minister emphasised that one reason why Singapore has been able to maintain a clean system is that it pays public servants properly in line with the quality of the officers and the value of their contributions.

He stressed that this policy will continue.

In return, he said, Singapore insists on the high standards of performance and integrity, and if an officer is discovered to have been dishonest, he will be punished to the full extent of the law.

Mr Lee says this principle will be maintained even when it may be embarrassing to the government.

Mr Lee acknowledged that the past year has seen a string of high profile cases involving public officers, including some senior ones in sex for favours scandals, procurement lapses and fraud cases.

He noted that these incidents had raised questions of whether there was something fundamentally wrong with the public service.

The Prime Minister once again assured Singaporeans that the overall trend has not worsened, but every case is one too many.

He says beyond these individual cases, the public service must strengthen its systems to uphold reputation for integrity and incorruptibility, and dispel any doubts that standards have fallen.

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