Try a different thinking cap
While the Salary Review Committee is thinking, perhaps there should be a rethink on the underlying assumptions for the high ministerial salaries. One key component that was built into the salary is the amount to prevent ministers from being corrupt. The ministers’ salaries thus consist of a normal salary plus a corruption prevention factor that is undefined. Knowing how bad corruption can be at high places, the amount in consideration cannot be small to be effective. There are only 15 ministers plus another few ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries. The total would not be too big a number to monitor for corruption. Maybe we can take a different approach to this corruptibility issue. Remove the corruption prevention component, say X dollars from the pay check. Let those ministers or people in high offices try to be corrupt and let the CPIB go after them and make them pay for their bad behaviors. This approach could put to test how many genuinely good men we have and how many would turn bad. And the amount of savings can be quite substantial if the $X is big. Assuming this is $1m a year per minister, multiply by say 30, to include the other office bearers, and spread it to 50 or 100 years, my god, it is no small change. In practice, I don’t think there will be so many corrupt ministers to pilfer so much money from the system and without being caught. This is a worthwhile experiment to try. From the money to be saved point of view, it definitely makes sense. Another option is to declare the quantum provided to prevent corruption. The ministers may opt to accept this quantum to free them from the temptation. Those ministers who are confident that they will not be tempted even without this sum of compensation can opt out of it. In this way, the more righteous and upright ministers need not be forced to accept this sum of immoral money which they did not want in the first place. There will still be huge savings as many ministers are likely to refuse to accept such compensation and be seen as corruptible. You see, the rationale for this corruption prevention pay is pretty humiliating and self serving as it implies that none of them can stand firmly on the ground and resist the temptation to become corrupt. So the good ones too become tarred by accepting the payout. Time to take a new look at the rationale and a new approach to the tackling the problem of corruption.