23 December 2005

NKF roundup

The auditors from KPMG have spoken, and their 442-page report is damning.

Agagooga compiles the juciest quotes from their report as a public service, in his "National Education Lessons we can learn from the NKF scandal" series, in 3 parts.

We suspect KPMG had a fun time writing the report. As rench00 also notes, the lessons and failures of NKF are far too close to what we know about the governance of Singapore.

Even Ong Soh Chin of the Straits Times compares the NKF to the Matrix. And for the past 5 or so years, the Matrix has been compared to Singapore...

Note the similarities:
Heavy reliance on lawsuits to silence critism.
Concentration of power in one person.
A system of checks and balances that actually act as a rubberstamp (NKF board. Parliament backbenchers.)
Failure of board to challenge decisions or even discuss them. Unanimous voting.
And so on.

Then, there was that live press conference yesterday, where Minister Khaw Boon Wan admitted that he now "looks silly", having stalwartly defended NKF for the past 3 years.

But no, he did not explain how the Ministry of Health renewed the IPC status for NKF (enabling donations as tax-deductable) less than a month after the National Council of Social Services withdrew the IPC status. Minister Khaw did not mention what the auditors from MOH found that actually proved the NCSS complaints wrong. He did not reveal what criteria the MOH used to give NKF a clean bill of health. There should be an official inquiry and investigation on MOH's actions in January 2001, since the Minister is not forthcoming with the details.

The media should also be taken to task. The Q&A session of the press conference was not telecast live and unabridged. This is not the time to protect the Minister from embarrassment - he should by rights resign from his post for this.


rench00 said...

i've just read Agagooga's NE Lessons in 3 parts. good points he raised.

however, i don't think it is fair to ask Khaw Boon Wan to resign over this issue. no doubt, it is a major failure on his part to have allowed his ministry to reinstate the IPC status of NKF, but that is probably due to a general problem with the Civil Service (where left hand doesn't know what right hand is doing). besides, the NKF problem has been brewing for a long time and is deep-seated.

also, Khaw has had many other contributions and seems to have the potential to jiang1 gong1 shu2 jui4.

akikonomu said...

I love fulfilling your requests!

Minister Khaw:
On 1 August 2003, he was appointed Acting Minister for Health and Senior Minister of State for Finance.

Mr Khaw was appointed Minister for Health on 12 August 2004.

Who was Minister for Health in 2001?
Lim Hng Kiang! On 3 June 1999, Mr Lim relinquished the post of Minister for National Development to become Minister for Health while retaining his portfolio in Finance Ministry.

On 1 August 2003, Mr Lim relinquished the post of Minister for Health...

So there.

1. BOTH Lim Hng Kiang and Khaw Boon Wan had been defending and playing up NKF as the very model of a model charity. Khaw has sat through at least 2 annual audits of the NKF, and found or saw nothing.

2. It is customary for seating ministers in almost every parliamentary system to take responsibility for cock-ups like these, even though they may have originated during the tenure of a predecessor.

The chances of resignation grow more compelling the longer the new minister has been in office, because he should have been exercising oversight and refining the system.

Note: Khaw Boon Wan is the same asshat who gave the speech about "Cultural Capital" during his very short stint as Minister for the arts.

rench00 said...

sorry... what speech about cultural capital?

i feel that it's a silly practice for the present minister to resign to take responsibility for someone else's fault. i still believe in jiang gong shu jui. if it is possible that is.

besides, i feel that KBW is better than quite a few of the other ministers...

akikonomu said...

Khaw's cultural capital speech was a policy thing for MITA. Culture directly convertible to capital. So good and useful arts are those that generate lots of moolah.

Hence, Esplanade gets money. Substation doesn't. Big flashy entertainment events get money. Performance, experimental artists don't.

But yes, rench00. I actually appreciate the health care reforms Khaw made that brought down public healthcare costs that spiralled upwards during the watch of Lim HK.

akikonomu said...

Of course, there were some academics who were dead pissed with Khaw presenting "cultural capital" like he invented it. And worse, totally perverting what the original theorist wrote about cultural capital.

rench00 said...

ah... that... i didn't know that KBW was the one who said that.

well... in all, i think he is doing quite well as a Health Minister. so i suppose weighing everything out, we should give KBW another chance la.

but i must admit, i am biased. for some reasons, KBW is one of the few ministers whom i actually think is likeable.