One of the most controversial policies of LKY must be the high minister salary that he introduced as a compelling must do thing in his time. He made such a ‘convincing’ case for it that there was hardly anyone opposing to it. The country needs the best men and women in political leadership. The country is so big, the job is so big, the salary must be so big also or else no good men or women who need big money to satisfy their ego would want to serve the country. Of course these were his assumptions. His other unstated assumption is that good men and women would step forward to serve when the money is there.
As usual he used Richard Hu from Shell as an example to push his case. He assumed that everyone was as highly paid as Richard Hu when they stepped forward. The policy has been in force for two decades. Let’s take a look at LKY’s assumptions for this policy and whether it lives up to his expectation and effectiveness.
Look at all the ministers and MPs and ask yourself a simple question. Are they the top talents in the island and deserving of what they are being paid, in the millions? If yes, good, the policy has served its designed purpose in getting the best men and women to be in politics. If no, why? Are the best men and women stepping forward or backward from politics despite the big draw in monetary terms? If not, why not? Maybe the carrot is not big enough. Maybe politics is just not their cup of tea even if the carrot is blown up another 10 times its size. Maybe, this is important, good men and women do not think money should be the reason to be in politics.
Again, if the policy is serving its purpose, keep it. If the policy is not getting the best men and women into politics, it is like saying we are overpaying the lesser than the best men and women by the millions to go into politics while the best men and women remained out of politics. Which is which? I am not even dealing with the situation when the best professional in whatever fields, earning millions, turned into a political dud but still being paid millions for becoming a misfit in a profession they were not trained for or neither have they the heart and instinct to do a good job.
If it is not working, not attracting the best men and women into politics, should good money, millions, continue to be paid to the ‘not the best men and women’ in politics? Should this policy or legacy be reviewed?
Are we getting value for money? What do you think? I heard some giggling.
Chua Chin Leng aka redbean