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6/09/2011

A few tweaks needed in the Salary Review Committee

One clearly needed change is the presence of a truly independent member that has little association with the people whose salary are affected, and be able to look at the whole issue objectively from a distance. Such a person will then be in a position to provide an impartial view of the remuneration package.

The inputs of HR professionals is definitely useful, but must be from an independent source, not from the ministries.

Though Gerard is talking about starting from a clean slate, his comments are still tainted with the present system of discount and paying high. A discount is only necessary when the package is not right to begin with, a kind of over paying. If the package is correctly or reasonably conceived, there is no need for any further discount. The pricing of public housing is a glaring example of what discount or subsidy is not what it is meant to be.

The paying high is something that reasonable Singaporeans are willing to concede. But what is high and what contributed to the high should be carefully considered. There is no need to pay high to compensate for corruptibility. Anyone who is tempted to be corrupt, let the law deals with him. And there is no need to pay obscene salary just because it has yet to break the treasury.

Then there is the issue of compensating for loss of potential income. Any honourable man/woman coming forward to serve the country at the highest office the country can offer is an honourable calling. If he/she is asking to be compensated for loss of potential earnings then such people should be left to earn their money in their profession. There is no need to make people sacrifice unnecessarily to serve the country when they are unwilling to do so. A political calling or any calling cannot be measured in monetary rewards. An excellent surgeon or lawyer or any professional, does not simply turn into an excellent national leader. There is no direct correlation in what they are doing in their profession to political appointment. To compensate in such terms is irrational thinking.

From the above, the most important tweak needed is the mindset of the Review Committee. If they are still thinking in the same wavelength as those who conceived the current package, the statement of a new slate is a myth. They need to free their mindset from the flawed reasoning of the past.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope the Salary Review Committee does not end up like the episode of renaming Marina Bay into Marina Bay.

Anonymous said...

It could be worse. Renaming Marina Bay into 200% Marina Bay.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone who is tempted to be corrupt, let the law deals with him. And there is no need to pay obscene salary just because it has yet to break the treasury". Unquote.

Unless the Law itself is ineffective, impotent and or corrupted.

Anonymous said...

The trouble is that all the flawed reasoning were never rebutted, so it was assumed that business as usual for the last four and a half decades should also just continue to work without objection, until, can I say, the shit hit the fan.

Now, it is not just a matter of cleaning the fan, but pretty hard to get rid of the stink. Singaporeans are all flustered and hot under the collar.

Anything now is met with derision, cynicism and criticism.

Where will we be heading?

Green Peas said...

The present Review Committee headed by Gerald is a suspect to me. None of the members, including the Chairman himself, come anything close to being 'independent' minded. Through years of working for and working with the PAP Govt closely, cordially and obediently, such individuals would have grown a mindset that is not easy to dismental in quick time. I would not trust them to speak the voices of the general public, especially those who are highly critical of the out-of-this-world unconscienable six-times-that-of-President-of-USA salaries for a political office in a Singapore with only 3 million locals and 3 million foreigners.

Anonymous said...

These are people who were already sold that those obscene salaries are normal and right to pay. They are likely to agree that $600k is peanut.

Anonymous said...

The rulers think that as long as there is a wayang, Singaporeans will just enjoy the show. Years of resorting to foolhardy tactics may have given them the idea that one more fooling session is not too much to ask.

Just enjoy the reviewing, tweaking and wayanging. But try not to twitch and scratch your heads when the time comes for the verdict. It may not be pleasant to behold!

Anonymous said...

The set up of the present Salary Review Committee is open to suspect so long as it does not include members of opposition parties and other neutral members of the public.The people will feel that the Committee in its present form is an eye wash and any of its recommendations will only be cosmetic and will not be accepted. Why not just peg the salaries to the mean average of salaries from a group of countries from US, Europe and Asia. Surely the responsibilities of office holders in Singapore is not heavier than those from US,Japan, China, India, England, Germany, France or Russia. If our political leaders just think in term of inswane high salaries they are already corrupted and they should not be there.

Anonymous said...

No matter how the Salary Review Committee tweaks, the cat is already out of the bag when the PAP-selected Chairman for this comedy/committee pointed out very strongly at the very beginning that "politics is out".

What is more important than the political ingredient, that is so necessary to measure the success of a politician and/or a political career, which is a must to be factored into any politician's remunerations?

Why must the fixed mindset be focused upon comparison with private sector? A politician's career is different in nature, conviction and commitment from those of a businessman or a CEO, which is mainly profit-oriented.

Common sense would tell us that the right comparison would be to compare with those of other countries' political leaderships, is it not?

So, before it even started, this Salary Review Committee has already failed miserably in its mission, if what the Chairman's initial intention is carried.

Anonymous said...

Red Bean,

Do you think there is any possibility of adopting the American system - the people elect the PM/US (we save on one president) and he would choose his ministers/secretaries from the whole country - from candidates who have already made their millions/accomplished much?

This way, the office bearers would not be too concerned about how much they are paid. This is the true spirit of public service. It would also encourage many to step in since they wouldn't have to be 'stuck' for multiples of 5 years term.

Why should we believe the bogey that talents are few given our population? I think this point has been oversold by the PAP to justify their own motives. After all what are the ingredients of successful public service that preclude the possibility of people serving without being a member of a political party. The US has shown that this is not essential.

If we are prepared to give a largely and originally purely ceremonial president the job of guarding the national reserves and making sure that our top civil servants are deserving of their posts, why not seriously consider this?

Anonymous said...

Red Bean,

Do you think there is any possibility of adopting the American system - the people elect the PM/president (we save on one president) and he would choose his ministers/secretaries from the whole country - from candidates who have already made their millions/accomplished much?

This way, the office bearers would not be too concerned about how much they are paid. This is the true spirit of public service. It would also encourage many to step forward since they wouldn't have to be 'stuck' for multiples of 5 years term and 'play politics'. They are called upon to do a good job, period.

Why should we believe the bogey that talents are few given our population? I think this point has been oversold by the PAP to justify its own motives. After all what are the ingredients of successful public service that preclude the possibility of people serving without being a member of a political party. The US has shown that this is not essential. You get the best person to fill the shoes and needs which can vary over time and challenge.

If we are prepared to give a largely and originally purely ceremonial president the job of guarding the national reserves and making sure that our top civil servants are deserving of their posts, why not seriously consider this?
(please replace my earlier post with this.)

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Political systems will change to meet the needs of time. Our system is evolving even within the concept of democracy. It is not what the west would understand.

It will change when the leaders find the need to change or the people feel oppressed enough to change it themselves. It is changing now, but how much and whether it is enough to appease the anger of the people.