Photo of cronies Lai, Neo and Ng from Straits Times

Despite having zero relevant experience, 3 army general cronies of the ruling party government were appointed ministerial permanent secretaries roles as their next promotion. The former Chief of Navy, Rear-admiral (RADM) Lai Chung Han, is appointed Second Permanent Secretary under the Ministry of Education. RADM Lai Chung Han has never been in a teaching position or work with education institutes before, but his appointment will give him power to draft education policies.

Another army general crony, Lieutenant-General Neo Kian Hong, the former Chief of Defence Force from the Singapore Armed Force, who is currently Permanent Secretary for Education Development will be appointed Permanent Secretary for Defence Development.

The third army general crony, is the current Permanent Secretary for Defence Development, Major-General Ng Chee Khern from the Air Force. He will be promoted to be the Chairman of Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and also serve as the Permanent Secretary (Smart Nation and Digital Government) for the Prime Minister’s Office.

None of the army generals have any experience in ministerial portfolios. The Singapore government is increasingly becoming a military junta with 6 former army generals appointed as Ministers, including the Prime Minister himself who was a Brigadier-General.

Singapore army generals have recently took the spotlight due to the collapse of government-owned corporations, SMRT and Neptune Orient Line (NOL). The latter’s failure was more conspicuous as the new management immediately turned NOL profitable after 4 years of straight losses under former army general Ng Yat Chung.

Cronyism and legalised corruption are major stumbling obstacles for Singapore as the Prime Minister dictator values loyalty over competency when choosing government ministers and high ranking civil servants.