by Lim Tean
I have heard many indignant comments from friends in recent days concerning the outrageous pay of $ 550,000 per annum enjoyed by our part-time Speaker of Parliament.
It is astronomical pay like this which seriously undermine the public's confidence in the integrity of our political institutions. People realise that out in the private sector you can't possibly enjoy a half a million dollar salary for a job that does not even call you to perform official duties every month. Here I am alluding to the fact that our Parliament sittings are few and far in between. Compare it to the British House of Commons which is in regular session except for well-defined breaks such as the summer recess.
Much of the public already knows that we are overpaying our Politicians and CEOs of government linked companies exuberantly for very subpar performances in many instances. Look at the MRT- the laughing stock of the world!
A future non-PAP (People's Action Party) government must commit itself to slashing drastically the pay of these Politicians and TOP executives of Government Linked Companies. I agree with a TOP businessman and entrepreneur who opined that the Prime Minister of Singapore should not be paid more than $50 000 per month.
People should enter politics because they want to serve the country and make it a better place and not because of the money. If private sector people and so called TOP scholars are repelled by this "unattractive" pay, they can stay where they are and earn their private sector pay. What we need in Singapore are passionate people who will do the job well. Singapore is brimming with such people. They may not be scholars but they have the commitment and experience to take our country to the next level of excellence. Not relegate our country from 1st world to a lower order.
Politics is often described as a dirty business but the world needs Politicians in order to make everyone's life better. But we must Ensure that those who step into the political arena do so for the right reason, which is service to the people. When done well, politics as Robert Kennedy once said , is still the most noble art.
Our political institutions are in urgent need of an overhaul. What made the PAP government think that it was right recently to install a part-time Speaker of Parliament as President of our Nation, when the mechanism was designed to safeguard the reserves of the country and to Ensure that the occupant of the position has the requisite financial knowledge to perform his/her duties adequately?
Plenty is amiss!