I’m quite reluctant to comment on our Prime Minister’s pay. But since everybody keeps talking about the issue, I thought I would just relate a conversation we had at Elias Mall coffeeshop on the controversial topic. This happened some time ago. As usual, there were few of us gathered at Elias Mall coffeeshop in the evening having coffee or beer relaxing and chatting away. Out of the blue, Lao Si suddenly commented that actually our Prime Minister’s pay is not that high. He just read a news report on CNA dated 19 Jan 2015 10:45 link
Lao Si : “I’ve just read the news report. It says that the richest man in Singapore is worth 10.8 billion. Do you know how much is one billion? link One thousand million makes one billion. And he’s got 10.8 billion! He’s only selling paint! So actually our Prime Minister’s pay of $2.2 million (used to be more than $3 million before the pay review) per year is not that much lah. I’m not saying that PM’s pay should increase further. I’m just saying that it’s quite reasonable to pay him that amount”
Not surprisingly, before Lao Si could go any further, there were objections and cries of indignation all round at the table. All of us seated at the table strongly disagreed with his statement he just made.
Lao Si : “Let’s look at it objectively. He’s our Prime Minister for 10 yrs now. Assuming that the PM earns $3 million per year if we include his bonuses and allowances, he only earns $30 million (10 X $3 million). For 10 years as the PM of a country earning only $30 million is actually peanuts compared to that local guy with $10.8 billion. Like I said earlier 1,000 million makes a billion. $30 million is a very small portion of $1,000 million (One billion). Imagine PM running the country looking after the well being of more than 5 million people compared to that paint seller? Moreover, the paint seller does not need to face the public, listen to endless complaints every week during “Meet the People”, no loss of privacy and he could enjoy his life living like a Duke. Whereas, the PM can’t. The irony is that his team is creating a conducive environment for business people like that paint seller to thrive and prosper beyond their wildest dreams.”
Me : “Lao Si, look here. You can’t deny the fact that he’s the highest paid politician in the whole world. The American president taking care of much more people only paid slightly more than half a million annually. Our PM is only running a small country. Everybody says so. They feel that our PM’s salary is too high if you compare him to other world leaders.”
One of the most powerful men on earth taking care of 1.2 billion people but paid so little. But he’s got many perks we don’t get to see.
Lao Si : “You name me one country with only 700 sq km that is so successful with nothing at all i.e. no resources and even water need to be imported? You think it’s easy to run a place with 5 over million people squeezed into this tiny piece of rock? The Americans are heavily indebted. They can never pay off their tons of debts even over the next few generations. Still, they can survive by merely printing money and borrowing. We are different. If we keep printing money, all our CPF monies will become banana currency. Look at Zimbabwe link not to mention our neighboring countries where our Sing dollar keeps appreciating in value. That means that our economy is mightily strong. We got peace and security. We are able to sleep soundly at night. Our red passport is so well respected overseas especially in China. I used to go back to China every year and I’m so proud to be Singaporean cuz the Chinese really respect us for our economic success. Our existence in this part of unfriendly neighborhood is really a miracle which many have taken for granted!”
Just in case those trigger happy retards start whacking me without really looking at the issue objectively, I wish to reiterate that I do not quite agree with Lao Si’s views. Like all the others, I still feel that our PM is highly paid. I’m merely stating Lao Si’s views. Sadly, not many share his views. Lao Si is now enjoying himself in Teochew town; China.