by Wee Lee Sum
Reading recent comments by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong which were used to rebuff his resident, Mr Abdul Aziz’s call for more measures to help struggling elderly who are unable to work beyond 65, got me a little perturbed as to how much more detach could the People’s Action Party (PAP) be from the average “mediocre” people who put them in power election after election?
I mean, I use to have respect for the man who was our one time Prime Minister but am more convinced now that not only does “absolute power corrupts absolutely” but out of this world salary levels also causes the most upright man to lose his moral sight in the long run. A remuneration system such as this breeds elitism, erodes decency and promotes corruption at the highest levels though it deters the lower ones. We have already witnessed several corruption cases most often involving officials at the top echelons, with the most recent being our former ambassador to Brazil!
As if it is not enough adding injury to the insult of Public Service, ESM Goh revealed to all Singaporeans that PAP Member of Parliament and Senior Counsel Edwin Tong “consulted” him when he was asked by PM Lee Hsien Loong to become the next Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Law as he had to take a “significant pay cut” and this would in turn affect his house, parents-in-law and his own parents. Firstly, I think we all know why he was selected to this post after the high profile case involving City Harvest where he was able to significantly reduce his client’s liability owing to severe loopholes in our laws, lastly, I am frankly and to put it bluntly, quite shocked that a whopping $935,000 is still not enough for Edwin Tong to survive in Singapore when more than half of Singaporeans do not even make $60,000 annually.
Hence, it is quite apparent to me that the PAP attracts its own kind of elites where even their extended family members think and behave in likewise manner!
Critical point now is: Do we still want such a system and an anaemic public service for 50 more years?