Should public officers uphold a higher standard of personal conduct than others? We asked readers for their views.
The short answer is always “yes”. Public service, without public trust, would be pointless. Public trust demands, and deserves, that public officers uphold standards of integrity and personal conduct over and above what we expect of the ordinary citizen. Higher than any legal power or protection, is the moral authority of the public servant, and the public’s expectation, and respect, that he will do his duty, impartially, without fear and favour.
Congratulations Martin! Thank you for your thoughtful yet succinct view. We are sending you a $100 Starbucks voucher which you can use to brew more good insights!
Tan Wen Jie,
A high standard of personal conduct is not something that should be limited to a certain occupation. If a nation is to be safe and successful, if its integrity is to be preserved, all must hold themselves by the same benchmark of integrity and rectitude. Sadly, the reality is far from this. If we absolutely have to earmark a group that has the responsibility to uphold a higher standard of personal conduct, then yes, public officers would be that group. That’s because we are representatives of the nation, serving the people.
Should integrity be different between a public officer and a non-public officer? The word is integrity and there are no different gauges for all who serve another. It is the same yardstick no matter who the officer is. However, a public officer’s responsibility of upholding integrity is greater as it affects the full Public Service. One let-down shows off badly the thousands who come under the big umbrella of public officers.
I am of the view that personal conduct should be consistent and not tagged to the work that we do. However, the function of the Public Service is to serve the public and with that comes visibility. Rather than having to uphold a higher standard of personal conduct, I think it is more important for public officers to be cognisant of who we serve and the concomitant visibility which demands a minimum standard of personal conduct.
Just as a teacher has the duty to fulfil a higher level of moral standards because of their tremendous influence on the next generation, public officers, too, should uphold a high level of personal conduct given that their work will impact the workings of a nation. It is not just an image that we should be presenting to Singaporeans, but a clarion call to other world governments – that our public officers are a shining example to follow.
Challenge’s Public Officer meme went viral online! More than 1,000 people shared it with their friends, with many saying that it struck a chord with them. Some said they were surprised that the “gahmen” had such a sense of humour.
What do you think? Do you think we have a funny bone in us and that we can laugh at ourselves? Or do we take ourselves too seriously?
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