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.