Sri Lanka and Singapore could expand links urban planning, public management: visiting FM

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka and Singapore could expand investment and co-operation in urban planning, public management, housing and warehousing visiting foreign minister K Shanmugam had said.

The visiting Minister had commended Sri Lanka’s new administration on "national reconciliation and revitalization of the democratic processes in the country, including the credibility and stability of its institutional framework," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Singapore has strong institutions dating back from the British period, such as the Public Service Commission with the constitutional role of "to appoint, confirm, promote, transfer, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over public officers in Singapore."

The PSC also considers the suitability of chief executive officers of state agencies.

The new administration was elected on a promise of creating a constitutional council to make senior appointmetns, though whether the structure would be as robust as ‘permanent secretaries’ is not clear.

In Sri Lanka a civil service commission was abolished by a constitution in 1972 and the institution of permanent secretaries was scrapped, leading the end of an independent public service in Sri Lanka. Now senior officials are appointed or changed on the sole wish of the President.

Unlike Malaysia which turned nationalist, the ethnic -Chinese majority Singapore under the People’s Action Party was semi-socialist and eschewed nationalism, analysts say.

Singapore also retained a Currency Board, a dating for the British Empire and its first post-independent Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee rejected money printing, creating a strong low inflation currency that prevented the State from impoverishing the citizens.

Shanmugam will also meet Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran Tuesday.