SINGAPORE: Singapore's civil servants
are the most efficient among their Asian peers, a business survey on 12
economies released on Wednesday showed, but they tend to clam up unhelpfully
when things go wrong.
India's "suffocating bureaucracy" was ranked
the least-efficient by the survey, which said working with the country's civil
servants was a "slow and painful" process.
"They are a power centre
in their own right at both the national and state levels, and are extremely
resistant to reform that affects them or the way they go about their duties,"
the report said.
Singapore was ranked first for a third time in a
poll of 1,274 expatriates working in 12 North and South Asian nations on the
efficiency of bureaucrats in those countries. The poll was last held in 2007.
"During normal times, when the system is not stress-tested, it
operates very well," Hong Kong-based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy
said in a 12-page report of Singapore's bureaucracy.
during difficult times - or when mistakes are made that reflect badly on the
system - there is a tendency among bureaucrats to circle the wagons in ways that
lack transparency and make accountability difficult," the report said.
Thailand, despite four years of on-off street protests and a year of
dysfunctional government was ranked third.
"For all the country's
troubles -- or perhaps because of them -- respondents to our survey were
impressed with the way Thai civil servants have been carrying out their duties,"
It said state offices associated with corruption
presented the most difficulties for Thai citizens and foreigners.
PERC managing director Bob Broadfoot told Reuters that the
controversy around huge investment losses by Singapore sovereign wealth fund
Temasek was a good example of how things could become less transparent in the
The Singapore government has come under fire from
lawmakers and its citizens over several investment losses, particular its exit
from Bank of America which resulted in a loss of over $3 billion, according to
The survey ranked Hong Kong second. China,
which has been campaigning to fight corruption in its bureaucracy and improve
efficiency in the civil service, was ranked 9th in the 2009 poll, two places
down from 2007.
Ranking by most efficient to least efficient
economies: Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan,
Vietnam, China, Philippines, Indonesia and India.
QnA: Do you agree that Indian government servants are the most
painful lot to work with?