How to ensure public feedback is taken seriously

At the expense of personal time and energy, public feedback must be taken seriously.

Non replies are a thing of the past.

Singaporeans must not forget that million-dollar civil servants and ministers are paid by us to do a good job.   Nonsensical replies are not to be accepted.

Example below:  PUB first replied that it could take up to more than a month to remove a tree that had fallen 6 months ago.  On my second feedback, the tree was removed on the same day.

> From: Phillip Ang
> <<>>
> Sent: Sunday, 19 May 2019 9:45 PM
> To: Joo Hee NG (PUB)
> <<>>

> Subject: PUB should implement proper inspection regime

> Dear CEO Ng

> It appears that PUB does not have a proper inspection regime and mostly rely on public feedback.



20190508_165850 REDUCED.jpg



> Your records will show a similar feedback a few years ago.  That I am giving feedback on the same issue today confirms PUB does not conduct regular inspections of rivers.

> PUB should not rely on public feedback to do its job.  And forget about relying on grassroots leaders or civil servants as most Singaporeans are not bothered; even when a solution is just a phone call or message away.

> My humble suggestion is to get your guys on a boat regularly.  Proper inspection should not be optional.

> Thank you and have a nice day.

> Regards

> Phillip Ang

May 24, 2019, 4:50 PM

Dear Mr Phillip Ang,

Thank you for your feedback regarding the fallen tree at Sg Api Api.

Sg Api Api is part of a mangrove swamp area and the waterway has an earth bed from downstream of Pasir Ris Drive 1 to the sea. Over time, the tidal influence waterway may erode away the earth at the bottom of the trees and thus weaken the roots. We would like to assure you that we do carry out regular inspections and also work closely with NEA on the cleansing regimes in the river. While keeping the river as close to its natural state as possible, we also carry out pruning of the mangrove trees, last of which was done in Dec 2018. However, large fallen trees are difficult to remove due to the lack of equipment accessibility from the natural banks. The works may sometimes take months to arrange, carry out and complete.

As for the fallen tree mentioned, please be assured that we have already arranged for the works and it is estimated to be completed by End Jun 2019.

Moving forward, we wish to assure you that PUB is also monitoring the eco-system along Sg Api Api. After all, both PUB and NEA share a common goal to keep public areas clean and safe. Thank you


Nora Hassan

Catchment & Waterways

Mon, May 27, 2:23 AM

Dear CEO Ng

I refer to PUB’s reply dated 24 May.

As mentioned in my feedback, this is not the first time I have highlighted trees that have fallen into Sungei Api Api, sun dried and not removed for months.

It is clear that despite my earlier feedback, PUB and NEA do not have a proper maintenance regime.  This is consistent with other government agencies which require public feedback to do their job.

The simple removal of ‘skeletal’ trees appears to be rocket science to PUB.  Does PUB need time to procure some high-tech equipment or require only boats with men and saws?

In my earlier feedback to the PMO a few years ago, PUB took days.  Perhaps it’s more effective to highlight future issues to the PMO, copied to various agencies?

If PUB had done pruning in Dec 2018, how is it possible to have missed a large fallen tree?

(Photo taken on 8 Dec 2018, tree already lying there for weeks.)

Please implement a proper inspection regime.

Thank you and have a nice day.


Phillip Ang

Mon, May 27,1:31 PM

Dear Mr Phillip, Thank you once again for your feedback. Regards Hosni Ibrahim (إبراهيم بن حسني) Catchment & Waterways Department (Drainage Operations Division)

Jul 16, 2019, 7:53 AM (2 days ago)

Hi Hosni

Thanks for not beating around the bush with self praising template replies like your colleague Nora and most civil servants.

Was shocked when Nora replied that it would take a month to remove a tree that had fallen 6 months ago.

It wasn’t an urgent issue and at most should take only few days.  Somehow you managed to get it removed on the same day after my second email to your CEO.

Monday, ‎May ‎27, ‎2019, ‏‎12:28:30 PM
In many of my feedback on PUB and non PUB-related issues, they were resolved only after an email to the PMO or minister.  This is really unproductive.

Thanks and have a nice day.

Phillip Ang

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