Can’t afford to match the competition but can afford the world’s most expensive cabinet

Can’t afford to match the competition but can afford the world’s most expensive cabinet

by Augustine Low

At the May Day Rally, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong spoke of Singapore feeling the impact as competition for investments becomes tougher.

He said that Singapore “cannot afford to outbid the big boys” to attract investments from multinational corporations.

“We won’t have enough money to match the competition but what we must have enough of are ingenuity and innovation, guts and gumption.”

Surely DPM Wong doesn’t need to be reminded that Singapore has the world’s most expensive cabinet, the Prime Minister and ministers being the world’s highest-paid.

If you assemble the world’s most expensive football team – like Manchester City – you are expected to beat the hell out of the competition.

Likewise, shouldn’t the world’s most expensive cabinet be expected to outperform the competition?

Our politicians are paid to compete internationally, not just locally. We know that at home, they are used to beating the hell out of the opposition. But they prove their worth by being formidable against foreign competitors.

DPM Wong also spoke of the “guts and gumption” to compete.

Unfortunately, we have seen them misplace and misdirect their guts and gumption.

One example is when they press ahead with Goods a& Service Tax (GST) increase this year and next year – despite the cries of the people, despite high inflation and accelerated cost of living.

Yet another case of misdirected guts and gumption is when they activate an independent committee to later this year carry out a review of already sky-high salaries of political officeholders.

Can those on million-dollar salaries see the incongruity? We are at a time when more people are out of a job while those fortunate to be employed are finding it hard to keep pace with the cost of living.

In his speech, DPM Wong referred to the foreign competitors for investments – those from Europe, America, Japan and China – as the “big boys.”

Might we suggest that the real “big boys” are he and his team since their salaries far outstrip that of the competitors.

They should see themselves as top dogs and not underdogs. They should be feared and not be fearful of the competition.

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