Past history of “retired” high ranking officers being parachuted into civil service or GLC companies

[Original post 15 Jul 2011, updated 15 Aug 2015]

Note the list is far from exhaustic and may even contain some errors but it does give an indication of how high and frequent the turnover of talents in the uniform groups due to the flaw of the scholarship system which ensure rapid promotions so that these “generals” can reach their peak of the careers by early 40s and then happily “retired” in the lucratic public sectors instead of venturing into the private sectors on their own. It also shows that their career paths are well planned and taken care of, and why should that be the case since these are the brightest minds in Singapore, surely they can fend for themselves, No?

Even the Government-linked SPH’s chief editor Han Fook Kwang lamented in the 6Oct2013 article that “(the current leadership’s) imbalance we see today with a Cabinet that’s dominated by former civil servants and military officers.In fact, the present Cabinet today is probably the most civil service-like in composition.”

* denotes those enter politics via the PAP tickets, none of these generals has joined the opposition parties.

Past Scholars Under Probe for Corruptions (still under construction …)

  • Ex-CNB chief Ng Boon Gay charged with corruption in sex scandal (2012, source)
  • Former Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) commissioner Peter Lim on Wednesday was slapped with 10 charges of corruption in a widening sex-for-contracts scandal involving three women. (2012, source)
  • Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) captain Phua Poh Sim, a 31-year-old former SAF overseas scholarship recipient, was jailed four months for selling confidential information to a defence contractor for S$40,000. (2011, Source)
  • Former SAF scholar, Eng Heng Chiaw, was accused of bribing a top official for information on a major defence deal (2005, Source)

Related links:

Military professionals in SMRT not a good idea

Source: 11 Dec 2012, The Straits Times

SMRT chief executive officer Desmond Kuek’s plan (“SMRT chief to tap military men for key posts”; last Thursday) may not be the most prudent move.

Being conditioned to a regimented environment for most of their careers, such military professionals are used to being obeyed and issuing orders without expecting to be questioned.

This is how the military is run, and the ability to adapt to the private sector and being open to challenges to their authority may be severely restricted by their training.

From my own experience in the army, inflexibility and conformity are the order of how things are done in the military.

So if Mr Kuek, a former lieutenant-general, wants to ensure command and control of an organisation, filling senior positions with military-trained personnel may be right.

But it may not be a wise idea to put such men in charge to address the challenges of a new environment and complex foreign worker relations as well as handle sensitive diplomatic issues with their governments.

Lim Boon Hee (Dr)

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