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    Aug 25, 2014

    Can't reach the right govt agency? MSO could help

    THE minister tasked with heading a new Municipal Services Office (MSO) to be set up on Oct 1 said her priority would be to bridge the communications gap between the public and government agencies providing these services.

    In her first comments since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his National Day Rally last Sunday that she would be heading the MSO, Grace Fu told reporters yesterday: "We must (be) more effective in public service delivery, we must also make it easier for the public to get in touch with government agencies. So this will be my guiding principle."

    "I will spend the next six months starting to focus on the interaction between the public and government agencies, starting with the eight agencies that we have listed, because I believe this is what ordinary Singaporeans would face most frequently," added Ms Fu, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, and Foreign Affairs.

    "It's also about how we reply to them. So if we receive complaints, how long before we acknowledge and then how long before we close the issue and get back to them."

    The eight agencies Ms Fu referred to are the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, national water agency PUB, National Parks Board, Housing Board, Land Transport Authority, the Singapore Police Force, People's Association and National Environment Agency.

    PM Lee had announced the setting up of the MSO to deal with a lack of inter-agency coordination in municipal matters. He cited the example of a walkway in Bukit Gombak, site of the by-now famous discarded fishball stick that was not cleaned due to this problem.

    But Ms Fu stressed that the MSO would not be an "omnibus organisation". "If the public already knows that certain (things) are done by certain agencies which have the expertise, there is no reason why we should create a bureaucracy to pull these services into a central unit."

    The MSO will be housed under the Ministry of National Development (MND), which said in a statement yesterday that the goal is to "improve the Government's overall coordination and delivery of municipal services".

    Futher details about the MSO are still being ironed out. But members of the public can contact MND at 1800-323-3331 or e-mail in the interim.