People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, Dr Lim Wee Kiak has apologised and withdrawn the remarks he made about ministerial salaries. Dr Lim was reported by the Chinese press last week as having said:
“If the annual salary of the Minister of Information, Communication and Arts is only $500,000, it may pose some problems when he discuss policies with media CEOs who earn millions of dollars because they need not listen to the minister’s ideas and proposals, hence a reasonable payout will help to maintain a bit of dignity.”
His comments drew swift and angry response online with many castigating and criticising him.
On Friday Dr Lim apologised for the remarks in a posting he made on his Facebook page. The posting, titled ”
Clarification, apology and withdrawal of my quote“, is as follows:
Minister’s pay is a sensitive issue and is one that many are concerned about. I would like to clarify my comments made to Lianhe Zaobao and also reproduced in LianheWanBao
I made three fundamental points.
1. We need a balanced approach to the question of Ministerial pay.
2. Personally, I think we should not use pay and perks to attract capable people to come forward to serve. I agree with PM that there is a service to country element and an element of sacrifice expected for the Ministers by the public.
3. On the other hand, we need to take into consideration their responsibilities and job scope when we remunerate Ministers.
On further reflection, I agree that the example I quoted regarding a MICA minister meeting the heads of telcos and saying that there may be some loss of face if the minister’s salary is low is inappropriate and incorrect. I withdraw those remarks and apologise for making them. Dignity cannot be and must not be measured purely in monetary terms.