Will the ministerial salaries debate be PAP’s Waterloo?

January 18, 2012

It’s sad, very sad indeed. After so much debate, the PAP still can’t get the vast majority of netizens to see their point of view by half. They still cannot get people to buy into their logic, let alone secure a decisive buy in. But why should anyone in their right frame of mind be internally persuaded when the MP’s who are supposed to deeply influence the electorate don’t even bother to prepare their speeches – I am sorry, but that is really how this whole caper is coming across – it’s ironical, as what was supposed to be a move to heal a rift between the government and the people is now slowly, but surely turning into a farce.

To justify the case for sky high salaries and creamy bonuses for MP’s, LHL said:

“My bigger concern is for the long term; for future Cabinets and potential office holders, people who have not yet come in, people who must make that decision and that commitment.”

I’ve listened to all the PAP MPs arguments that their concern is for the country and that good salary is necessary to find good capable people. But all these arguments are at best half baked and seem to miss the salient by a good mile – the facts are hard. They are clear as to suggest many of the concerns regarding sky high ministerial pay is remain a very contentious subject for very sound reasons. Instead of addressing these public concerns in an organized and logical way that is able to effectively persuade the public about the merits of paying out sky high salaries. What the PAP has done instead is to allow a whole lot of MP’s who are simply too lazy, shallow or ineffectual to haphazardly add their two cents in the hope that all their disquisitions will hopefully produce a coherent argument.

As it stands today, the PAP’s position when it comes to ministerial pay is as clear as mud –as for their rational, it too suffers from serious gaps – as judging from what I can make out so far, most the arguments forwarded by the PAP seems to be a rehashed version of what, we have always been told about why sky high wages for elites are not a privilege, but rather a necessity. The reasons are as follows:

(1)There is not enough talent in Singapore. Not everyone can be a MP. As our talent pool is just a puddle.

(2)Singapore is a unique case. It is a special case, like Atlantis, we are very small and vulnerable/ so we need good people to helm the government, just in case a meteorite slams into earth.

(3)If we don’t pay ministers well, then they may succumb to the temptation of corruption.

To the perceptive reader, a few important key points are missing from the debate, the widening income gap, unequal wealth distribution, the pressures brought forth by having to manage a new economic climate where wages are not only stagnating, but in some cases regressing, runaway inflation, the rising cost of living etc etc.

The debate on ministerial salaries has produced a rather depressing impasse where most netizens cannot even comprehend the mission and vision of the PAP. This is in part, due to the overall dullness of many of the justifications forwarded by the PAP to hike ministerial salaries – instead with each successive PAP MP adding their ill-conceived arguments to the already simmering debate – what’s rapidly coming across to the general public is a sort of contrivance that the “truth” isn’t really trashed out at all – as much as it’s overlaid with a veneer of “insistence” to make it more acceptable for public consumption. And that has to be an effrontery to anyone who is interested in quality reasoning. That just makes it all the worse. Now it’s not just depressingly dull, it also comes across as phony. Put the two together and you get a pretty accurate description of everything that is flawed about the PAP when it tries to float the balloon of sky high ministerial pay to a skeptical electorate.

A great opportunity to engage the public in a meaningful way has been squandered, yet again.

Darkness 2012

The Brotherhood Press 2012

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