From cutting red tape to cutting-edge ideas
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In the absence of the PEP’s efforts to remove obstacles, firms might be reluctant to act, he adds. “Without all this, (firms) will feel, ‘Oh, there will be a roadblock here, a roadblock there.’”
“The job of the members is to keep our ears as close to the ground as possible,” says Mr Chan, who is honorary secretary of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises.
At the same time, the presence of top public servants gives the panel unequalled access and efficiency.
“That’s all along been a huge strength of the PEP, that ability to break through any barriers between agencies.” The PEP takes the public service’s ‘no wrong door’ policy to the next level. “The lead agency not only says there’s no wrong door, but ‘I will open the doors for you’,” he said.
But one thing has been consistent of its chairmen: “How out-of-the-box they encourage us to think.”
The use of stamps was “very antiquated” and persisted due to “sheer force of tradition”, rather than being enshrined in law – indeed, no laws had to be changed to remove the requirement, notes Mr Chan.
That’s all along been a huge strength of the PEP, that ability to break through any barriers between agencies.
When such pain points are removed, firms can focus on their actual business instead, he says. “So to me, that’s actually very powerful because it’s quite liberating.”
“But that’s really not where cutting-edge issues are or new developments get done,” he adds.
One might wonder if such work enters the territory of other government agencies such as Enterprise Singapore (ESG). But Mr Goh replies: “It won’t be overlapping. The PEP’s job is to connect and to enable, leveraging the various agencies.”
But almost 20 years after it began, this might be a good time for the PEP to review its objective and scope, suggests Mr Abu Bakar.
With the advances made possible by digitalisation, “the opportunity ahead is to really accelerate the changes brought to bear on industries”, says Mr Goh. The PEP might now be entering a different phase, “less about taking away the negatives and more building platforms for industries” and co-designing ideas.Read more: The Straits Times
What did you miss at Read! Fest 2019?As part of the National Reading Movement, the National Library Board’s (NLB) Read! Fest is an annual event that includes keynote lectures, book sharing, workshops conducted by writers and panel discussions. . Read more at straitstimes.com.
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