Shanmugaratnam is too quick to dismiss the concern expressed by MPs that there could be systemic problem in civil service procurement procedure. The government recent habit of taking up defensive position whenever hiccups happened is only doing the country a disservice.
If Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has been tasked to draw up the scope of audit for procurement, it only means such guidelines did not exist prior to this cheating incident by Singapore Land Authority (SLA) officers.
How then can Shanmugaratnam claimed that 'appropriate rules and safeguards for public sector procurement' ? Besides it is not a one off crime spree, but it involved large sum of money over many years and more than one officers are charged. If this don't ring a serious alarm bell in the cabinet, we the public are really concern.
Adding layers of bureaucracy is not the solution, this we agree. But the issue is, it common in the civil service to have thick layer of red tape which does nothing in making the system more robust as these procedures are not effective in the first play. The recent cheating incident in SLA is evident in itself.
Therefore the solution is to review the whole procedure system and stop just plugging the hole when it appears. By doing so it will only lead to less efficiency with more procedures pile on top of existing weak policies.