Top Singapore and Malaysian civil servants meet here to bond over seminar, games

SINGAPORE - SINGAPORE and Malaysia's top civil servants will get together this weekend to strengthen ties over a game of golf and bowling plus a seminar.

The annual bonding effort, held in each country every alternate year, is in Singapore this time, with both sides set to discuss on Saturday the issue of transforming the public sector, an "area of mutual interest", the Public Service Division said on Friday.

The Joint Seminar, first held in 2008, will discuss, among other things, ways to manage public services and to promote inter-agency collaboration in each country, the PSD added.

The games, however, began in 1973 in Kuala Lumpur.

Leading the 31-member delegation from Malaysia to the current games is its top civil servant, Dr Ali Hamsa, the Chief Secretary to the Government. With him are senior officials such as secretary-generals, military and police chiefs, and state secretaries.

Singapore is represented by 42 senior civil servants, including permanent secretaries and deputy secretaries.

The head of its civil service, Mr Peter Ong, hosted both delegations to a dinner on Friday, during which he noted the two countries are close neighbours and natural partners and their civil services have always enjoyed a good working relationship.

"We both share the common goal of building a strong and innovative public service to serve our people and there is great potential for collaboration between the two civil services," he said.

In the current 37th games, the officials, keeping to tradition, will play in a golf tournament and have a bowling game on Saturday.

The Malaysian delegation leaves for home on Sunday.