Saturday, January 21, 2012

Reprise of Bak Chor Mee

For someone appointed as Minister of State of Education, Lawrence Wong sure wasn't paying attention in class during the three days of ministerial salary debate. Instead of taking cognizance of lessons learnt in the bruising battle of words, he is droning on like Wong Kan Seng (no relation) over the Gomez-CCTV episode of 2006.

Yes, the Workers' Party did propose in 2006 that ministerial salaries be benchmarked 100 times the salary of the bottom 20 percent. But they also know that even if WP pointed out that white is indeed white, the PAP will pass a law to decree white is black. Hence during GE 2011, WP proposed an alternative benchmark pitted against the political office of developed countries. Now Wong (Lawrence, not Kan Seng) is quibbling over the Superscale MX9 peg.

WP chose MX9 because it is the entry-level of the Superscale grade. Who's to know how this level is pegged to the private sector salaries? There are so many opaque formulas in play in the system - electrical tariff, HDB pricing, COE quota, health care subsidy, etc - that it's probably easier to find out the secret recipe of the XO Sauce that the keechiu general is yapping about. Case in point, PM Lee revealed that only one minister is currently at the higher MR3 grade, but stopped short at naming the minister. What's there to hide? Is he afraid the public will be outraged at that minister's financial bonanza, or supreme sacrifice?

Wong should heed the words of a real teaching professional, NUS law professor Walter Woon, who said that the debate over minister's pay has become a proxy for dissatisfaction with the divide between the top earners and the vast majority of Singaporeans:
"No amount of argument with facts and figures will change that."

Wong should heed the lesson that in attempting to win the battle, he will lose the war. He may continue to rant like a rabid dog, but he's still taking a hair-cut with his take home pay. And we have the WP, and the electorate of Singapore, to thank for that. Let's hope he won't take it out on the kids by skimping on the angpows.


  1. The astronomical salaries of ministers reek of kuan yew's elitism. Ministers are paid better because they are supposedly part of a select group whose "calling" is to lead "lesser endowed" grunts like us. The elite in Spore are supportive of the ruling party because of the wealth generated on their behalf. They will "sacrifice" and gladly send their kids to do 2 year NS and annual in camp training because the system has worked for them. Many of them send their sons overseas after NS and they never return. The middle class are dumb enough to believe that the elite will share their perks and wealth with them.

    The grunts are the losers here because they get crumbs from a system which demands 2 years of their life and 2 to 3 weeks every year of military service.

  2. Lawerance was the CE of EMA before joining politics. His pay before joining politics is not higher than a Minister's pay. The 'status' of all CEs of Stat Boards are pegged to the 2nd Prem Sec of the Ministries. Under the old pay scheme, he would have received a substantial pay increase. Due to all this rumblings, he is now getting zero or very little pay increases. Coupled to that is the real threat of a voter revolt and being dumped by voters in 2016. No wonder he's pissed! He's probably ruelling the day he joined politics! Note he's not inducted into the NTUC universe. If he looses in 2016, a la Georgie, his goose is well & truly cooked!

  3. Ng Kok Lin wrote a very informative article in Temasek Review Emeritus. The

  4. The $46,000 per month is actually salary for Minister of State. PAP is actually playing politics by throwing a smoke screen.

  5. Yes. Those retards MIWs simply don't seem to get it. It is the ppl who are outraged due to the big income gap. The man in the coffee shop just can't understand why they paid highest in the world when he can't barely make ends meet? Everything is GST 7% yet we still need to pay electricity tariffs, water borne fee, licenses here and there and not forgetting summonses for every foreseeable nature of offences eg parking or late payments etc

    They are indeed digging their own grave. They will never learn no matter how. They are quite incorrigible come to think of it.

  6. A vote for Opposition parties,
    is a vote for Singapore.

  7. Yes, GE2016 is again an election of the people against PAP. Only daft people will believe PAP can reform. PAP is interested to perpetuate its power and the people is just a side issue to support its rule. If you read carefully what MIWs said, it is not difficult to find lots of contradictions and BS. Singapore must insist on full accountability and total transparency on governance.

    What has this Lawrence Wong done in EMA? What has he done that has contributed to the people's welfare? How has he got into politics and cabinet? Singaporeans need to ask these questions before allowing him to talk about ministers' pay issue.

    Attacking oppositions for the sake of attacking shows what quality of this minister. No wonder the country is declining fast and no wonder PAP cannot find candidate except those money face civil servants to join them. LOL.

  8. Even in the Communist PRC, all government officials appointed must put their CV on the website and the people can comment and object to the appointment with reasons. Those with valid objection from anyone from the public will not be appointed to the office.

    Perhaps, with great emigration and shy away from PAP, PAP cannot find enough (not just smart and able) candidates to join them so they cannot afford to practice like communist PRC where there are much more people, able people. So, PAP has to resort to parachute the candidates to parliament by GRC, e.g. TinPL and many others MPs or ministers, ignoring the people's objection.

    Singapore or PRC, which has more democracy? We are not talking about fake democracy here. LOL.

  9. I am just wondering whether our astronomical salaries for our high office bearers has more to do with political dominance rather than anything else ? Like not likely to create any trouble to challenge the incumbent ?

    All this BS about not enough talents coming forward to serve may simply be BS because nobody can really tell or find out whether it's true, isn't it ? In other words, it's simply only one man's words (ie. PAP's one).

    Remember TT Durai once approved several of his accomplices out-of-the-world extra benefits & bonuses and it just make people wonder why certain people do certain things in a certain way ?

    Of course these people won't tell us the hard truth, isn't it ?

  10. Do you realize when their salaries keep going up,their performance goes steadily down? The pay system seems to be rewarding poor performance. Not enough capable ones entering politics is a myth. It is them who are blocking the way for capable people to serve the country. I think what they find lacking is not enough of insider yes-man to serve them

    Once They're Out Of The Way, Many Will Come Forward To Serve The Country!

  11. Ng Eng hou, you are absolutely right.

  12. They are paid for been elected.

    Not paid to wok for U.

    Dont forget You chose them.

    They didn't beg U horr!

  13. They are overpaid, over-rated and underperforming. And they have not really addressed all the fundamental problems that need to be addressed - overcrowding, FT influx, insufficient CPF for retirement when we grow old, crippling health costs, an erratic transport system, stagnant wages that do not keep up with the rising living costs,and the continuing displacement of our locals by FTs.

    We will all end up as cab drivers.

  14. Wah! I didn't know yes-men are so expensive in Singapore. Must be a tough job having to go against your conscience all the time.

  15. Think PAP got the target wrong. It is not just the pay. There are other reasons why good people are not joing the government. PAP should address these issues and not just tell people it is hard to get good men on board because of pay.

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