This question keeps popping up in every discussion after the discovery of how much the ministers are getting under the current formula. And when this question was asked, many would want to say $200k or $300k or $500k. But all were too shy to say it. They know that these numbers would not be accepted by people used to earning millions and have millions as their base reference point. The best example is what Gerard Ee quoted, that his peers would tell him not to kacho them for anything less than a million.
They would only be comfortable with millions and millions, nothing less.
And it is only right that these millionaires should not be coerced to suffer by going into politics to earn less when the heart is not there. Or else when they come in they would quietly devise all kinds of schemes and formulas to ensure that they get back what they want and more for the big sacrifice to go into politics. Money minded people will only think money even if they tell you money is not important or not a consideration.
A cat will say it would not want to eat mice. But eating rats is ok. Rodents, big ones, better still. Just don’t give it any mouse. They could even cut out the big rats or rodents into many pieces and tell you they are eating only a leg or a piece of steak. No mice. So the myth will go on, cats would no longer eat mice.
As to the question of how much, no amount is right and no amount is wrong. It is only right or wrong to the recipients. And it is also right or wrong to the public from their own perspective and values.
I would want to suggest a generous amount for our ministers. Actually it is a very generous amount in the eyes of reasonable people. Though it is not right to compare a chiku with a durian, if we want to be generous, we should close an eye and pretend that the chiku is as big as the durian and peg it to the durian’s worth. No one can say that this is not generous.
But the people must be brave enough to tell the chiku that it is a fruit and should not try to pick and choose what it wants to compare with. It is time to gently remind the chiku that it is after all a chiku.
Ok, now that we have a little framework in place and in a generous mood, I would suggest that we peg our PM’s pay with the richest and biggest economy in the world. We peg our PM’s salary to the President of the USA. Generous or not? If the President of the USA can live comfortably with his salary in a country where the cost of living is definitely not lower than ours, there is no reason that the same salary cannot provide our PM with a comfortable lifestyle and with dignity. At least he would have the same level of dignity as the President of USA which no one else can come near to. That should be very generous in my view. Anything more than this would be seen as greedy, outrageous and insane. Period.
A chiku is a chiku is a chiku.