Eat That, Gerard Ee!

It’s surprising that while everyone praises Chen Show Mao for giving up his law partnership to be a full-time MP, no one has linked his action to ministerial pay.

What Show Mao did is almost unprecedented in Singapore politics.

To give up a multi-million dollar career in exchange for what, $15K per month? That’s “peanuts” for a law partner. To give up a multi-million dollar career in exchange for a risky and uncertain future as an opposition politician in undemocratic Singapore? And to give up a multi-million dollar career to suffer the arrows and slingshots from an overwhelming number of PAP MP’s in the House?

Show Mao’s selfless example is in the best tradition of Goh Keng Swee, S Rajaratnam and other founding fathers of Singapore. The President, Prime Minister, PAP ministers and senior civil servants would do well to learn from him, as would Gerard Ee’s ministerial pay review committee.

To lead a country, one needs committed, dedicated and capable people like Show Mao, who are willing to step up when called, and even give up million-dollar careers for the sake of the country when necessary.

The US model comes to mind.

Every Administration names a Cabinet comprising successful men and women who come forward to serve the President and the country. They put their careers aside for 4-8 years to answer the call of duty. They do so not because of high ministerial pay, but because it is an honour and a duty to serve when called by the President. At the end of four or eight years, they return to the private sector, hopefully having made the country better.

No such Cabinet appointees see themselves as ministers for life. They’re not power-hungry, and indeed, many put aside their successful private sector careers, at the cost of tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, just to join the Cabinet.

So unlike PAP ministers, who see themselves as ministers for life, and so demand compensation for their lost careers.

Show Mao’s example shows us what patriotic and capable people can do to serve the country. In office, he’ll serve full time, accept whatever the pay is, and not fret about private sector benchmarks. When it’s time for him to leave, he’ll go quietly and return to being a private citizen, not ask for an “Emeritus” or “Minister Mentor” title.

Eat that, Gerard Ee!

Look beyond what the “right” pay of a minister should be, what it should be benchmarked to, and how much $$ can be justified. This ministerial pay issue is not about fair compensation at all. It’s not even about how much sacrifice such talented people have to suffer as ministers.

It’s really about whether Singapore can have a continuous stream of capable leaders who are willing to step forward to serve the country at every election.

By closing the political system to democratic participation, the PAP has made it hard to get talented people to serve the country, because they don’t agree with the PAP way.

I repeat– PAP can’t get talented people from the private sector to serve as ministers not because of the financial sacrifice. That’s BS.

Really talented people like Show Mao have already made it and don’t need more money. Money is not the problem. In any case, they can always go back to the private sector if they want to resume making money.

Talented people won’t come forward when called because these talented people can’t stand the PAP.

The million-dollar pay won’t change that. And the implication is, when you cut the million-dollar pay, you’ll have even less capable people who want to serve the country with the PAP.

Actually, for the good of the country, Gerard Ee should propose increasing Ministerial pay. Singapore will get worse when you cut Ministerial pay, Mr Ee. Eat that!

The Minister Pay Series

1. Eat That, Gerard Ee
2. The End For The Opposition
3. Where Ee and PAP Failed
4. Why PAP Needs High Minister Salaries
5. Are PAP Ministers Man Enough?


About politicalwritings

Someone who sees beyond PAP and "opposition" in Singapore politics. To understand more please see the Top 10 link below.
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6 Responses to Eat That, Gerard Ee!

  1. Leong says:

    Normally the really talented ones are those who have an independent mind of their own and wouldn’t trade their souls to be controlled for that extra dollar in return. Just take a look at the current bunch of traded souls and you know why our PAP govt has hardly progressed in spirit and soul for the last 50 years.

    Maybe their overriding concern is loyalty above everything else, even at the expense of talent. How else does one explain that the young and inexperienced wife of a political secretary can also be opted into their kind of politics ? Is it precisely these type of mediocre candidates, who do not pose any direct challenge to the inner circle of the powers that be, the exact reason why they were selected in the first place ? Or are they just mere numbers needed to prop up the power play or even act as their eyes for over-ambitious politicians. This may probably explain why at the first sign of trouble, the dissenting ones are immediately booted out of position.

    When we ask ourselves is there really a dire shortage of real talent as what we have been frequently told, the real answer actually lies in how prepared is the current leader willing to make way for a better leader to take over. So when they next announce that our future leader will come from another current batch of candidates, rest assured that it’s just another lie.

    Why, because what are the Deputies for then ?

  2. Pingback: Daily SG: 4 Jul 2011 « The Singapore Daily

  3. albert says:

    if the incumbent are truly serious in pay cut, they don’t even need to waste time “appointing” review comittee, just say it loud like what opposition party members self declared in rally, simply offer 50% pay cut without questions asked! Poor Gerard Ee, he will be going around asking “how much NOT to cut”.

  4. Francis says:

    It is unfortunate that Gerard Ee showed up his PAP bias when he said that the PAP derserve the obscene amounts that they are paid. The people are not aware of the hard work that they do as if others do not work hard for much less. I guess we know where his bread is buttered.
    I there no shame. Lets see if the others on the committe feel the same way.
    By all means pay well but those who do not perfomr should get the boot . What the hell is Mah Boh Tan, Raymond Lim , Wong Kan Seng sitting in parliament and still getting paid for. On the top of that they get appointments to add insult to injury.
    No shame.

  5. Pingback: Why PAP Needs High Minister Salaries | Political Writings

  6. Pingback: Are Our Ministers Man Enough? | Political Writings

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