Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sacrificing The Big Bucks

When Tin Pei Ling (member of parliament, Marine Parade GRC) resigned from her business consultant job in Ernst & Young in June 2011, she had only four years of working experience. The question on every body's mind was what she could contribute to her "responsibilities as full time MP in her MacPherson ward." People queuing up for assistance at the meet the people sessions (MPS) to consult their MPs for advice about errant employers bent on exploiting labour will prefer one who also faces the same harsh realities of day to day subsistence. Wong Kan Seng in 2006 had this perspective that a full-time MP would "lose contact with people in business, lose contact with foreigners who come to Singapore."

Last month Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC MP ) resigned from her position as a senior banker at Standard Chartered after 19 years - last assignment was Global Head of Priority and International Banking - to "spend more time with the Ayer Rajah constituents on exciting projects”. Presumably she will share war stories from her "exciting and fulfilling journey with the bank, which has taken me across many functions, many businesses, and many countries." Plus, she still gets to sit in on her employer's meetings, albeit in a non-executive role in the bank. A finger on the pulse of the corporate world.

Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC MP) also left his day job before the end of the year. A curious move, since most Singaporeans will wait for the year end bonus before handing in their dear john letter. But then Baey did contribute to quite a bit of negative PR when he publicly empatised with Sun Xu, and asked our citizens to reflect on their canine attributes. His Facebook postings are classic examples of what not to write in social media.

Baey did contribute to solving the puzzle about the exodus of the PAP MPs from the working world, he says the move "means a cut in his total income of over 50 percent". Meaning, his MP allowance pays as much as his Managing Director post at public relations firm Hill and Knowlton. The committee to review ministers' salaries had recommended only a 3 per cent pay cut for Members of Parliament, resulting in a monthly allowance, a thirteenth month bonus and a Annual Variable Component (AVC) which adds up $192,500. Not bad for once a week MPS work as petition writer.

The interesting bit is that opposition member Chen Show Mao's name has been roped in to lend legitimacy for the "big sacrifice".  The big difference is that Chen, named one of American Lawyer’s 2010 "Dealmakers of the Year" in April 2011,  left the corporate world to throw his hat into the uncertainty of the epic battle at Aljunied. A fight that threatened the constituents there with years spent in repentance. Let's not compare pears with rotting apples.

20 comments:

  1. // Let's not compare pears with rotting apples.//

    LOL..like!

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  2. I think there is a mistake. Should be rotten not rotting.

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  3. "Let's not compare pears with rotting apples" - this one-liner is the best ever from you, Sir Tattler!

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  4. Chen Show Mao kinda disappeared post election. Only a whimper some time ago. Likewise, the WP promises seem to have gone pretty much unfulfilled thus far.

    Surprisingly, men in white seem to have responded to people's wishes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because MSM doesn't report and people like you can't be bothered to check what they have done on their website. And because MSM always create a hooha when MIW do something insignificant or wayang.

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    2. Anon @ 12/11/2012 1:22 PM
      You are referring to MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Gan Thiam Poh's incoherent ramble?
      “So what, that’s why what, what the minister say is that perhap, because now the, ah, this ah, review committee, I think every certain year the committee have to review the formula, whether to make it welevant. That’s why now the government is looking at public consultation and also feedback. Right?"

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    3. Guess we all choose what we want to read...

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    4. Becos WP is not the government and PAP controlled press and TV dont report on WP activities.

      In any case, what has PAP done so far apart from coming up with the National CONversatiob????!!!!

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  5. Anonymous12/11/2012 1:22 PM - "Surprisingly, men in white seem to have responded to people's wishes." That is one possibility, though me thinks it is highly unlikely. Another possibility is that it is a face saving way for the companies to move them to the sideline.

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  6. "means a cut in his total income of over 50 percent". Meaning, his MP allowance pays as much as his Managing Director post at public relations firm Hill and Knowlton.

    Very sharp observation indeed! How they call this "sacrifice" is just beyond us. The crucial point is not even that such compensation is high by private sector standards, but the way they cling on to it, even add on to it disguised as "promotions" to Ministers w/o portfolio (aka cho bo lan).

    On the other hand, there are those who chose the opposite, the famous ex-MP now turned lawyer specialist in sending letters to social blogs for $1800/hr comes to mind. That one surely must have convinced his colleagues that even $192k is "peanuts".

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  7. Kay-Poh Chee...12/11/2012 2:23 PM

    People with connections (including CSM) enter and leave the arena through a revolving door.

    Despite the fact that they may have announced their departures from the corporate world, they can easily get back in. Otherwise, income is not an issue. Perhaps only the quantity.

    There are always kick backs in politics. Particularly if you are holding office. You may not be in the limelight but I am certain the money is not very far away in the shadows.

    What is behind the scene is far more interesting.
    We try to sniff out more through cyberspace since main stream is very narrow.

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    Replies
    1. "kickbacks" only apply to PAP MPs. There is no chance in hell for any opposition MP to get any kickbacks in Singapore

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  8. Well written. I think we should computerise the petition writing and that will mean saving of around 80mps @$200k each= $16m per year. Btw, that is excluding MPs expenses.

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    Replies
    1. But he's got to buy his supporters' votes, without which he can't fix the opposition...

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  9. You missed out on the mother of all sacrifices, worth repeating:

    "I'm pained by the knowledge that I'll miss the many moments when my children are growing up and time with my family. My parents are not getting any younger. Those moments missed do not return. Ever... In time I will look back and there will be gaps. But that's life. I'm not sure how one considers it a privilege to miss these precious moments. It trivialises all of us who do cherish these."

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    1. I've got the perfect solution for him.
      "Please resign."

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  10. How can it be full time MP when they still want to remain as a consultant or adviser to their companies ?

    Do we happen to have a full time PAP MP who is not ashamed to accept his monthly MP allowance from our Govt and yet does not see it fit to be any of his responsibility to attend the MPS ?

    Is this some kind of shit that they pretend & keep one eye closed ?

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    Replies
    1. Pretend Action Party?

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