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3/29/2007

minister's pay debate

Finally we are seeing a real debate going on. The issue of minister's pay is being discussed everywhere and by everyone. And the points raised are serious and relevant, not polemics or hogwash. Many valid points have been put forth by the public, mostly to oppose the linking of minister's pay to the private sector, or the current formula. Some even question the multiple hats that senior servants are wearing, which to me, is not an effective utilisation of a man's ability no matter how supertalent the person can be. Everyone is limited by the 24 hours we have per day and minus all the rest hours and time for food, bed and R & R, there are just a few hours left. And expecting a super talent to take on 5 or 6 important appointments with the same limited hours is just asking too much and expecting too much. Dilution will be the consequence of such a hectic demand, or skimming through the details will be another. One point that I would like to add is that civil servants and minister's are getting double or almost double what they are getting today. I am not referring to the perks and other benefits that they could derived from their appointments but pension. They are entitled to pension which is 2/3 of their last drawn salary for life. This is a very significant portion of their pay that have not been included into the current formula. Many have raised the issue of public service and private sector employment as two different kinds of fish and rightly cannot be compared the way it is being done. We need people with passion to serve the nation and be paid reasonably well and not exorbitantly well, like the private sector whose main interest is profit to pay themselves. If money is what they want and their main motivation, then let them join the private sector. There are always brighter and more eager young talents to take over their places. No one is indispensable. As it is, the top echelon of civil servants are very well paid, including ministers. This is the view of the masses. It is the junior officers that were doing the donkey work and being paid like national servicemen. The recent survey of new graduate salary is a glaring example of how underpaid are the young officers. They will simply leave. For those at the senior levels, resignation is not a problem and should be encouraged to share their expertise and talents with the private sector. Let the debate continues. It will be good if the MPs and senior civil servants will also share their views on this.

2 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

If you are suggesting that passion is not required in the private sector you are clearly mistaken.

If people accept that the govt should get involved in commerce, then of course civil servants will serve on the boards of govt companies. But the boards are not made up of ONLY civil servants—there are people from the private sector as well.

Anyway, as I have indicated before, this sort of nonsense undermines the financial structure of the society's "spontaneous order". Nature of course doesn't like being messed with, and so there will be—count on it—adverse consequences sometime in the future.

No one can say exactly when or the exact nature of those consequences, but if you consume revenues by overpaying, for one thing, your competitiveness falls. Also the (free) market price shifts because wages in this top-sector are now bid UP.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Some of the info might need updating.

http://www.singapore-window.org/sw02/020210gl.htm

Same data, but icture and comments added (good for a laugh) on this site