A sinister omen of impending ministerial payrise
The obscenely high salaries of PM Lee Hsien Loong and his incorruptible ministers have never ceased to draw vitriolic adverse reactions from Singaporeans, minus PAP diehards. They have the audacity to benchmark their pay to the top 1000 earners in Singapore with their run-of-the-mill calibre and have the dubious reputation of being the highest-paid ministers and prime minister in the world. Even US President Barack Obama draws a modest salary of US$400,000 a year and would it not be burlesque for our clownish PM Lee to compare himself with the redoubtable President Barack Obama. They can, of course, do whatever they want with taxpayers' money with impunity by paying themselves with obscenely high salaries. So whether Singapore voters will want this ridiculous abuse of taxpayers' money to continue indefinitely will depend on the wisdom of the voters in the next GE with the help of a united opposition to galvanise them into voting for the opposition.
In the meantime, one would have thought that these money-grabbing PAP ministers will have the gumption to enjoy their obscenely high salaries in a contented manner without making any fuss. So is the sudden announcement in Parliament by an ebullient DPM Teo Chee Hean that the salaries of ministers have not gone up in the last three years even though the benchmark they are linked to has risen by around 3 per cent each year a sinister omen of an impending payrise for the filthily-rich ministers and the prime minister at public expense? DPM Teo mentioned that the Committee to Review Ministerial Salaries had recommended that the salary framework be reviewed every five years and the PAP Government can continue to adjust salaries within this framework should there be a change in overall salary levels in the coming years. The poor Workers' Party has been dragged in to give an aura of civility in the announcement.
The Chinese believe that in any pursuit of wealth or power, it is prudent to stop at the appropriate time (適可而止） for if you persist in being greedy in the end you will end up a pauper.(贪而無厭，反而変为贫）. Examples abound in China of the downfall of high-ranking officials who enriched themselves whilst in office. DPM talked of the ethos of political service. How this can be reconciled with paying themselves obscenely high salaries in order to serve the people? Is this service to the people or self-serving? Even Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo asserted unashamedly in a recent REACH forum on NSF allowance that "service for the country cannot be measured in dollars and cents". Is this not a slap in the face of the clown Lee Hsien Loong, the so-called prime minister?
Let us hope that the greedy thought of increasing ministerial salaries is only a wild imagination that will just dissipate with DPM Teo's announcement which may have been made out of the insanity of the moment.
Yoong Siew Wah
About Yoong Siew Wah:
Mr Yoong is the former Director of Internal Security Department (ISD) from 1971-1974.
The ISD is a domestic intelligence agency in Singapore. It has the utmost right to detain without trial individuals suspected to be a threat to national security. Its stated mission is to confront and address security threats, including international terrorism, foreign subversion and espionage. The ISD also monitors and addresses potential threats from communism, prevention of racial tension which might affect the public peace, domestic counterterrorism, international counterterrorism, fraud against the state, surveillance, apprehension of suspected militants or terrorists and protection of Singapore's national borders.