11 June 2007

Teacher unaccountably terminated

When pressed for a reason, the Ministry of Education provided a mouthful of gibberish. Opacity in government hides mistakes, abuses and even corruption. Power must be balanced by accountability. That's why we need a Freedom of Information Act. Full essay.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Heck, even India has passed the RTI (Right to Information) act. Every govt website has a link to that. All you need is to get a form from any postoffice or govt office, write in your question, pay Rupees 10 (50 cents), get a reciept and wait.

Within 45 days, the respective govt dept needs to get back to you with full details of what you asked for. From the 46th to 60th day, there is a daily penalty. After 60 days, the head of the dept/govt will go to jail for not answering.

Guess what, even the Prime minister's office comes under the RTI. You can even ask the Prime Minister to give you a full breakup of all the foriegn journeys that he/she undertook along with a complete cost breakdown that his overseas trips entailed.

Say what you want, but i seriously believe that is what is called "People's power".

Ned Stark said...

Mr Au, a question. Is there any avenue open for a person who feels that he has been unfairly discriminated against to seek recourse? Be it through a tribunal, a court of law?

Anonymous said...

While waiting for my job applications, I wanted to work as a relief teacher (I have not only the maximum education qualifications, but also several years of lecturing and teaching and working experiences in both the university and civil service.

I did believe that i could make a positive contribution. but, MOE replied in one just one line that i was not suitable.

Am i overqualified and therefore too expensive or was it the three letters published in the St forum for the past three years calling for the improvement of student and teacher welfare as well as critiquing the ministry disregard for Chinese language teachers or that so call native english speakers get better pay than their singaporean counterparts?

Liew Kai Khiun

Anonymous said...

If you challenge the government, in this case the PAP govt, then you are going against the system, and then someone will make sure you suffer "broken noses and bones". You may even find yourself labelled an "undesirable person" and ....

Singaporeans have shown repeatedly that they will bite their lips and bend backwards in the face of injustice and fear tactics. A neutered citizenry did not care when opposition politicians fighting for the rights of citizens were repeatedly persecuted. Why will they care now?

Anonymous said...

I guess it's not 'not discriminating against openly gay civil servants' but 'not openly discriminating against gay civil servants' instead.

Desmond Lim said...

oh please, Singapore having a Right to Information act! if we really had that, our PAP's image of being 'not corrupt' will seem less clear.

akikonomu said...

A question - does Alfian Sa'at not have a university degree? Or even a diploma, at least?

Anonymous said...

Whether he has a university degree or some specific diploma is beside the point. What matters is that he apparently met all the written qualifications.

To akikonomu-- The tone of your question seems to suggest that it's not quite as bad if the government picks on non-graduates. It's like convicting an innocent person and caning them, and then later saying well it doesn't matter because he doesn't have a lot of certs so maybe no one will care.

Anonymous said...

'Of course it's possible to be happy living in Singapore. If you're Chinese, middle-class, have the right political connections (such that in the army you can be given the position of a 'white horse', exempting you from the kinds of treatment dished out to thechildren of the hoi polloi, or that you can get into certain elite schools despite not making the academic cut), can afford a maid, have a car, a country club membership, Singapore is for you.' - Alfian Sa'at

http://nizamzakaria.diaryland.com/030505_95.html -read interview

Alfian Sa'at is a gay well-educated Singapore Malay man. I am surprised that it took this long to mute him.

Teck Soon said...

On his blog, he shows the letter from the MOE, including the end "regards,
Ms XXXXXXX XXX".

Why is it necessary to protect the identity of Singapore's civil servants like this? Alex, is this really necessary? Is there a good reason, from a legal/blogger standpoint to do that?

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

akikonomu -

I honestly do not know Alfian's academic history. It has never seemed important to know.

teck soon -

I personally do not think it was necessary, but I guess Alfian was trying either to be polite, or make the point that she was writing on behalf of an organisation, so knowing who exactly she was, wasn't necessary. I myself would have done differently. I hate seeing civil servants act behind the cloak of anonymity and I wouldn't encourage it.

Anonymous said...

In Australia, federal and state governments have Freedom of Information, buton 90% of the cases, it would be better known as Freedom From Information, as ministers and public servants do all they can to prevent the public finding out anything, usually by ensuring it is prohibitively expensive to undertake a search, or by classifying the details as commercial/cabinet in confidence, when clearly it isnt. Court challenges to these rulings take years and are again costly. While I wish you luck in getting a FoI Act, be careful of what you wish for. Ian