Photo of Marsiling Hawker Centre by NEA

If Lim Guan Eng is right the rising discontent for the extremely high ministerial salaries set against the backdrop of declining living standards may be enough to push the ruling party out come the next General Election

In an interview over dinner with Singapore’s Sumiko Tan (Tan), newly minted Finance Minister for Malaysia, Mr Lim Eng Guan (Lim) offered his insights into a number of issues concerning the political landscape of Malaysia, including the factors that contributed to the downfall of Najib. What he said was particularly insightful. Instead of crediting Pakatan Harapan (PH) or fingering the flagrant corruption of ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak, he highlighted the poor economy of Malaysia as a whole that led to PH’s resounding victory at the polls earlier this year.

Some may dismiss Lim’s summation as needlessly cynical but I cannot help but see his point. Corruption has always existed. Not just in Malaysia but throughout Asia. In short, corruption is tolerated to a certain extent (however grudgingly) as long as life is still good for the majority of the people.

Corruption only becomes a real issue, serious enough to unseat a government, if the people are no longer living a good quality of life. The high living of those in power will, in that scenario, serve as a grating and unbearable reminder of how bad the lives of the common folk are. This is when the tables will turn on the establishment and in Lim’s view, what happened in Malaysia.

This has bearing for Singapore. Many government supporters have dismissed comparisons between Singapore and Malaysia in this regard. In so doing, they have declared that Singapore does not have the gaping hole that is 1MDb or the bombshell revelations of Najib’s insatiable greed. That may well be true but if Lim is right, it wasn’t really the knowledge of corruption that lit the tinderbox in Malaysia. It was the confluence of governmental wrongdoing and poorer standards of living that led to PH’s dramatic victory and Singapore is certainly showing the signs of a decreasing standard of living.

There is widespread concern over rising living costs and stagnant wages. Prices of necessities such as water and electricity have been raised and GST is also set to be hiked. So great is the concern that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (PM Lee) decided to dedicate a significant part of his National Day rally address to deal with this issue. Unfortunately his suggestions of “belt tightening” seem to have fallen flat. With rising discontent for the extremely high ministerial salaries set against the backdrop of declining living standards – is this enough to push the People’s Action Power out of power come the next General Election?

If Lim is correct, it is very possible indeed.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

How many ex-Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners back to Singapore and worked?

By SY Lee and Leong Sze Hian We refer to the article…

How should citizens rate the performance of the Multi-ministry Task Force so far?

by Cheang Kok Ming Has the Multi-ministry Task Force succeeded in its…

Thai reformist Pita Limjaroenrat loses PM vote

Thailand’s parliament rejected reformist Pita Limjaroenrat’s bid for prime minister despite his party’s popular vote win. Pita vows to continue strategizing for a second round. The path forward remains uncertain, with pending cases against him and his party.

Singaporean netizens express lack of confidence in 4G leadership despite PM Lee’s call for support

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has called on Singaporeans to give their full support to the country’s new generation of leaders, led by Lawrence Wong, after a tough year dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite PM Lee’s call, many Singaporeans voiced their concerns over the struggles of ordinary people and lack of confidence in the 4G ministers. The ruling party was also criticised for being out of touch with the issues that affect modern Singaporeans, with some calling for voters to elect more opposition MPs.