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4/11/2007

PAP's most severe test in 40 years

PAP's most severe test in 40 years Shall I or shouldn't I put my frank assessment of this current crisis facing the PAP after the controversial decision to raise ministerial pay? I emphasise, the issue is ministerial pay and not the increment for the civil servants. Though the main stream media is trying to do its best to present a picture that the people are mostly in support of this decision, the truth is far from it. And they have bungled badly. I know that no one would be happy with the messenger of bad news. But the situation has deteriorated so far that only the blind would fail to see the true picture. Until today, I have yet to hear an honest person telling me that all is well and the ministerial pay is a good thing and a welcome thing. So I will try to be as diplomatic as possible to tenderly touch on the unpleasant truth. Actually, the whole ugly episode can be akin to the severance of a strong bond between the government and the governed, painstaking built over a period of 40 years. With this bad decision, the Red Sea was parted. This is truly a very bad judgement call of unbelievable proportion. The debate in parliament was clearly divisive with many MPs trying very hard to express their disagreement without breaking rank. It's negative impact is like the NKF but at a national scale. For those who spoke out in favour of this move they would have to live with the consequences of their misjudgement in times to come. Hsien Loong must have sensed the seriousness of the temper on the ground and is trying to do some damage control by announcing that he will freeze his own pay, to gain some moral authority on this issue. Unfortunately the damage is quite devastating if one really and honestly try to feel the ground. It was a tough decision and a tough call. The worst thing is that it was seen as self serving. The people find it hard to see how this is to benefit them and not the ministers. The obvious is just too obvious. The cardinal rule that one must not decide to benefit one's self interest has been broken. The objective and honourable justifications become irrelevant. Would any minister or the President have the temerity to hang on to the pay increase and still think that the people will see them the same way as before? Like it or not, it is the people and their perception that matters, not the clever arguments in parliament. It is right to say that it is an emotional issue. But the logic and reasoning also failed miserably to convince the people that it is the right and necessary thing to do. People are free to disagree with my assessment. But the question now is how the PAP is going to turn this around and regain the confidence and trust of the people? The moral ground, the moral authority has been severely undermined. It is not a right or wrong thing to do. It may sound logical on paper. But if the government cannot sell it and the people refuse to buy it, it becomes a disaster. It is politics and a political decision, and the reaction of the people is political and yes, emotional.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it's inevitable....the dissolution of powers eventually.

Matilah_Singapura said...

I think the media are half right: people don't necessarily "support" it as they have "accepted" it.

There is every reason to believe that S'pore will be economically strong for the next 2 years—so after 1 or 2 years when the economy is going great, the govt can use the opportunity to come out and say "See, the country is going great guns. That is because we have capable people running it".

This is not a "crisis" as redbean might put it. The benchmarked pay has been going since 1994—and in those 13 years people have been moaning about the fat salaries these ministers are drawing.

Yet in those 13 years, S'poreans have in general become wealthier, the country has had a lot of infrastructure development, private businesses are booming, private realty ownership booming, more people traveling, more cars being sold...all signs of increased wealth.

I say its a done deal—whether or not PM Lee "donates" his money.

LKY said back in 1996—

>"In the end, after all the arguments, you have to go by the person whose judgment you can trust. You know my judgment has been tested time and again in the last 37 years since 1959." <

Read the extract of the speech , then see if the guy is correct in what he said back in 1996.

Gotta give credit where credit's due—the guy is right!

The Realist Again said...

How the PAP is going to turn this around and regain the confidence of the people is to offer another $300 to the people come election time, peppered with the thinly-veiled threats like 'you will not get upgrading in your estates if you vote opposition' and 'Singapore will turn back into a third world backwater swamp if PAP is not returned to power' and presto, they get another 5 year mandate to oppress us all again. How so apt that matilah refers to Singaporeans as sheple. I would add ball-less and brainless to that as well. So you see redbean, all your diatribe against the pay hike is really banging your head against a solid brick wall. At the end of your ordeal, all you end up with is a broken head whilst the people you deride laughs all the way to the bank.

redbean said...

hi realist,

my is just a commentary on my observations of events. not a diatribe nor did i deride anyone. i am not going to bang my head against the wall.

matilah may be right in his observation. so will be your observation. we all look at the same thing from different angles.

Matilah_Singapura said...

However my observation is built on the premise that we need a state, and the state has absolute powers to be exercised at will by "specialised" people.

I don't agree with that one bit. My position is that the state should be dismantled and removed completely or shrunk down to a size which would fit into the space of a 3 room HDB.

I made my "observation" above by disregarding my actual position—for the sake of argument.

The fact is when you have a state, and that state leaders are chosen by electoral process, then the people ALWAYS get the government they deserve.