"If indeed there is convergence today and if indeed, as has been mentioned, today is much like a dance, I would like to thank the Government for leading the dance and taking the first step towards acknowledging that political salaries in this country need fixing.
"While we agree with he three principles distilled by the committee, does DPM agree that under the committee's application of the principles, they have produced a formula that is really quite distinct from what the WP has proposed?
"For example, if maximum bonuses were received under the committee's proposal, ministerial salary would be in fact be reduced by 8 percent. And under the WP's proposal, it will be reduced by 37 percent."
Josephine Teo, missing the forest for the trees altogether, could not grasp the monkey tricks with the allowances. For Pritam Singh, it was like talking to a wall, "It's not the numbers that's the issue.... Peg it to the average Singaporean at a level where Singaporeans can aspire to."
What the primates in white and white missed altogether (scientific factoid: one of the most predictable traits of rhesus monkeys: their tendency to steal food at every opportunity) was a lifeline that would save them from the quagmire of greed they were sinking deeper into. Instead of pegging pay to the top earners, pegging it to rank and file servants, Pritam Singh explained, would be more acceptable to the public and, "critically, take the emotion out of the debate and set the tone in future decades for a more sober assessment of political salaries."
The last word came from Tanjung Pagar GRC MP Lee Kuan Yew, who preferred the boardroom of TOTAL in Paris discussing profits from oil to Parliament House deliberating the nation's future, "unless we have a steady stream of high quality men and women to serve as PM and ministers, Singapore as a little red dot will become a black spot." Precisely why we need people who come in for the service, not the money.