Back in March 2018, it was announced that parking charges would kick in for teachers at Primary, Secondary schools and Junior Colleges starting from August, as the government claimed it is in line with the Public Service Division’s “clean wage” policy, which stipulates that salaries are fully accounted for, with no hidden perks and privileges.
While that may be a laudable move to encourage transparency, why is the same rule not applied to the elected Members of Parliament (overwhelmingly PAP members)? Do MP salaries not have to be clean too?
Salaries of the MPs are already very high, there is absolutely no need to give them such subsidised parking rates of $365 per annum to park virtually island wide! Teachers (who earn less) have to pay more than 2 times that!
Let’s not forget that this parking is paid annually and can be utilised even on an MP’s personal time and on his personal outings. It is also important to note that many MPs have a full time job (apart from being an MP). Teachers do not have that privilege.
As this writer at the ST forum very rightly points out, this move seemed arbitrary and did not take into account the large contribution that teachers make to our society. Not to mention the amount of overtime work they do without being paid for.
If the intention is for all aspects of civil service to have “clean” wages, then the same must apply across the board. It cannot exempt those in government but penalise everyone else. That my friend, can be considered cronyism and bullying. It flies in the face of meritocracy that the government constantly says Singapore abides by.
This kind of oversight on the part of government shows a staggering lack of understanding of how to manage people and their expectations. You can’t just think dollars and cents for everything and you can’t just think about yourself. Even if the different treatment is not intentional, how can they expect people not to be furious by this?
MPs (and especially those with other careers) are already seen to be overly remunerated and now to add insult to injury, you give them such preferential parking fees while penalising teachers who generally earn much less!
Added to that is the glaring silence of the Teachers’ Union. Aren’t they there to protect the interests of our teachers? Why didn’t they say anything in relation to this car parking issue?
According to a Facebook post, it would appear that unions are more interested in muzzling the teachers than standing up for them. If this is indeed true, it is a very sad day indeed. Are our values completely inside out such that even in the face of blatant unfairness, we don’t even dare to ask a question?