In an unsolicited "Clarification Statement" dated 10 October, former top civil servant Ngiam Tong Dow, 60(?), retracted his earlier remarks documented in the Singapore Medical Association newsletter.
He is recanting the charge that today's ministers are afraid of speaking up in Cabinet because of their high salaries, saying it was "illogical" and unfair. Original quote from SMA interview:
"When you raise ministers’ salaries to the point that they’re earning millions of dollar, every minister – no matter how much he wants to turn up and tell Hsien Loong off or whatever – will hesitate when he thinks of his million-dollar salary. Even if he wants to do it, his wife will stop him."
He also recanted labelling the ministers as elitist, claiming that he had spoken without realising many in fact come from humble backgrounds. Original quote from SMA interview:
"The first generation of PAP was purely grassroots, but the problem today is that PAP is a bit too elitist. I think that they don’t feel for the people; overall, there is a lack of empathy."
The other things he had to say sounded awfully like the scripted 1988 televised confessions of the "Marxist conspirators":
- "...I have not attended any cabinet meetings, and have never seen one chaired by PM Lee Hsien Loong. Thus my statement that ministers will not speak their minds before PM Lee is unfair as it was made without knowing what actually happens at cabinet meetings today."
- "I have been told by civil servant colleagues that cabinet discussions are robust - as robust as they were when I attended cabinet meetings as PS (PMO), when Mr Goh Chok Tong was PM, and Mr Lee Hsien Loong DPM."
- "They have no reason not to speak their minds when they are convinced that they are doing right by Singaporeans."