Review rules on civil servants moonlighting

I agree that there is a grey area regarding civil servants who moonlight (Moonlighting or not? 'Social carpooling' still a grey area, Aug 31).

There are strict regulations governing moonlighting by military personnel and civil servants. But if these practices are needlessly bureaucratic, it is time for the Government to review them.

It is understandable that civil servants in the executive branch of government have to refrain from moonlighting, but it is not convincing to apply the same rule to rank-and-file employees.

Conflicts of interest generally arise when an activity materially impairs an employee's ability to do his duty.

There appears to be no conflict of interest in being a Grab driver.

There needs to be a clear definition of what conflict of interest is for rank-and-file civil servants involved in this activity.

Government agencies should consider whether a second job conflicts with or could affect the main job.

They should see whether the job is distinct from the main job and whether it tarnishes the image of the organisation.

If the second job is due to financial reasons or to help the employee acquire skills, there is little logic in punishing anyone.

We should avoid one-size-fits-all regulations and do away with requiring compulsory approval for every part-time job taken up by civil servants.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2017, with the headline 'Review rules on civil servants moonlighting'. Print Edition | Subscribe