20160405 Minister Gan should not have downplayed Hepatitis C incident in Parliament with half-baked replies

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong has insulted himself by expecting the public to believe that “revealing staff involved in Hep C outbreak will breed blame culture”.

Gan also insisted that by revealing the names of negligent staff and directors wound not “contribute to better care of patients”. He was pretending to be stupid: the issue is one of transparency. Gan clearly believed that the government was not accountable to the public as well as the families of 8 SGH patients who had died because of SGH’s/MOH’s negligence.

In Parliament, NCMP Leon Perera had asked Gan:

– the names of SGH and MOH staff who had been disciplined
– the individual penalties each received
– the reasons for these individual penalties/warnings.

Long-winded Gan took Parliament for another ride and gave a half-baked reply. In fact, Gan did not want to reply and made it clear when he said “instead of focusing on naming the individuals .., we need to encourage a learning culture to make our hospitals as safe as possible..”.

Gan continued going off tangent and wasted more time in educating Parliament on government disciplinary measures, eg a stern warning is more serious than a warning, it has a negative bearing on one’s career, including future promotion, blah blah blah..

Gan should not have assumed amnesia is an epidemic in Singapore: alternative media had recently revealed that SAF Captain Chia was promoted within a year of being court-martialled. So how many SGH/MOH directors and staff will be getting their promotion within a year or half a year since it was only a warning? Will there be a ‘make-up’ bonus?

Did a stern warning result in a $100,000 fine or only $1,000? Isn’t a $10,000 fine a slap on the wrist for civil servants who earn between $500,000 to $1 million? Something is clearly not right when Gan refused to disclose information which would have been public information in functioning democracies.

How did Gan know that the “greatest penalty to staff is the pain and regret of the Hep C incident”? Did Gan or his subordinates even interview negligent staff and directors to establish their feelings of “pain and regret”? If not, was Gan telling half-truths or perhaps even lying? Gan can’t expect the public to trust our institutions with his refusal to come clean on transparency.

Aggrieved citizens need closure, especially where the cause of death was negligence, and I guess many have been increasingly frustrated by a government which hides behind self-enacted laws and propaganda.

Gan should not have downplayed the Hepatitis C incident: there were 8 deaths. NCMP Perera’s questions do not deserve half baked replies.


Have other citizens been frustrated by PAP’s high-handed approach to the extent that some have publicly vented their anger by vandalising HDB blocks…

.. or doing so verbally during an election rally. video link

It’s about time the PAP learn to respect Singaporeans or who knows, it may invite more crude ways of ‘engagement’.

Update – Hep C outbreak: Errant doctors have been named – don’t have double standards MOH

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4 Responses to 20160405 Minister Gan should not have downplayed Hepatitis C incident in Parliament with half-baked replies

  1. sinkie says:

    I personally don’t care to know the individual names, but I’m pissed at the light-touch approach of the so-called “punishments”. At the very least, they should be demoted AND transferred out to non-healthcare positions — this will be more effective in negative bearing on one’s career rather than just a “stern warning”. In fact, majority of those responsible should have been dishonourably sacked without benefits & any pensions etc forfeited. Those in senior positions should have been dishonourably dismissed AND slapped with hefty fines of $100+K. These type of punishments are common for senior civil servants and military in US, for serious infringes or dereliction of duty. I think the anger for most Sinkies lies with the fact that those responsible got off rather easy, compared to the victims.

    The way Singapore implements its justice system seems to be regressing to the bad old days of class system & aristocracy — where a person gets different treatment based on his status or birth. E.g. the king & his immediate family are pretty much immune to even murder, while lesser aristocrats like barons and counts get slaps on the wrist. Only the common peasant will get the full set of law books thrown at him for even looking at the ruling party funny or criticising it.

    As for SAF CPT Chia — did you know he WASN’T even tried in court martial, but instead at a lower summary trial??? This is something that the entire blogosphere & social media didn’t catch on or appreciate. Summary trial is for misdeeds deemed as not that serious, and the punishments allowed are much lower than in court martial. I was in Provost (military police) during my NSF days and based at the old Court Martial Centre in Beach Road Camp, so I know the difference.
    But you don’t have to take my word for it. Below is what Mindef says:-

  2. Phillip Ang says:

    It was reported in ST that these 2 negligent officers were court-martialled in 2013 @ http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/mindef-should-waive-legal-costs-for-family-of-pte-dominique-sarron-lee-says-ng-eng-hen
    Most right minded citizens are equally pissed by PAP’s biased system but there’s little one can do because there are just too many brainwashed and kiasi Singaporeans.
    We can only rant online and patiently wait for the day when karma comes full circle. 🙂
    Please don’t give up hope and contribute to change in any way we can.

    • sinkie says:

      You need to go to the actual source. I find that S’pore reporters nowadays tend to paraphrase and not very accurate in their wordings or meanings.

      ST reporters (and most Sinkies) don’t really know the difference between “court martial” and “summary trial”. The words court martial were written by the reporter and not quoted directly from BG Chan King Wai. It is mere paraphrasing by the reporter and a rather inaccurate one at that.

      OTOH, the written statement by BG Chan reproduced in the same ST article at the end clearly states “the two officers were summarily tried in 2013”. He didn’t write “were court martialed”.

      Summary trial does not allow punishments of dishonourable dismissal or DB of more than 40 days or stripping of commission from officer or capital punishment. For those punishments, you need court martial. During my NSF, I had a case where an LTA was court martialed for theft of SAF petrol and he was stripped of his officer rank, demoted to PTE and sentenced to DB for 2 months. Compare this poor guy’s crime of stealing a few litres of petrol versus the current 2 clowns who caused the death of a serviceman by gross contempt of training regulations.

      From their actions, it is most probable that those 2 clowns (and many other officers) had been flouting the training regulations for many previous exercises liao. I.E. I’m pretty sure that many officers used more than 2 smoke grenades for many years — just that heng heng nobody died. It is only the death of Dominique that shone the spotlight on how SAF officers actually implement training regulations.

  3. Phillip Ang says:

    Thanks. 🙂
    So the reporter did not know any better or maybe trying to hoodwink the public. Again!
    You’re right about going to the source. Will try to in future …

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