Heated words over hot topic

Dear MPs and Straits Times,

I refer to the 19 Jan 2012 Straits Times report “Heated words over hot topic”.

I applaud the Straits Times for making the right report instead of echoing the mistake of the PAP with the sentence: “The base salary that the WP proposes for entry-level ministers, of $55,000 a month, is the same as the benchmark the Committee to Review Ministerial Salaries had recommended.” This is clearly very different from the PAP’s statement which is that the Review Committee recommended less than $55,000 a month or $46,750 a month to be precise. The mistake was also made by Channel News Asia when it broadcast the wrong figure of $46,750 in extra big font on screen.

Dear Ms Josephine Teo,

I agree with you that the WP figure is not low enough to escape the elitist label. But if we were to look at the annual package, the WP figure is indeed about 25% less than that recommended by the Review Committee and so is somewhat less elitist.

Dear Mr Janil Puthucheary,

No one will say that the Review Committee is not independent because it is almost impossible to prove it. But failure to prove that the committee is not independent doesn’t mean that the committee is therefore independent. It is the same principle as failure to prove guilt doesn’t imply innocence. Members of the committee, like the great majority of Singaporeans have innate biasedness, no matter how small, towards or against the PAP. Those who claim they have absolutely no biasedness are either completely apathetic towards politics or are robots. Distinguished members of the committee can’t possibly belong to these groups. In the end, the most representative committee is the one that comprises all Singaporeans.

Dear Mr Alvin Yeo and Mr Pritam Singh,

You referred to ‘perks’ for politicians in other countries. Presumably, you were referring to British MP claims that Ms Indranee Rajah expounded on in parliament. Please don’t be mistaken, British MP claims are not perks. For example, the British claim for additional accommodation is not a perk. It is reimbursement for a necessary expenditure arising out of work. For example, if a Scottish MP travels to London to attend one week of parliament, he will have to pay for hotel accommodation; it is only fair that he claims for his hotel stay. The Scottish MP is not claiming for a hotel stay in Bali for personal pleasure. There has been uproar recently over MP claims in Britain. But make no mistake, the uproars are over MPs’ abuse of claims, not MPs’ legitimate claims. The claims by themselves aren’t perks. The abuse of claims is also not perks but petty corruption. Paying politicians millions to stamp out petty corruption doesn’t mean that politicians have become incorruptible. If what politicians want to get through corruption is given to them and more, why do they even bother to get their hands dirty?

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2 Responses to “Heated words over hot topic”

  1. Ed Tan Says:

    British MPs are also full-time MPs, unlike most of our MPs who retain their lucrative day jobs and/or multiple directorships.

  2. the diet solution Says:

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