The netizens are in flame. Practically every netizen is saying, ‘see, I told you, more pay does not mean no corruption.’ Just because two senior civil servants were arrested by CPIB, it does not mean that they are guilty. It also does not mean that all the civil servants are equally bad. Two swallows do not make a summer.
My view is that there is no such thing as no corruption, Only lesser. And the high pay no corruption policy has worked. That is why after so long, we are only hit by a handful of them. The high pay no corruption policy works.
The task now is how to fine tune it to make it work better. One area to look at is their salary. Maybe they are not paid high enough. If that is so, then it means that their pay was not managed correctly. It is important for their superior to monitor these super talents. If they have hinted that their pay is not enough, or perhaps hinting that they would resign, or that their lifestyle is affected, call them up and ask them how much they need to stay incorruptible. This is a pragmatic way to tackle such problems. They have a price and it is only to meet their expectation. There must be a meeting of minds of what is enough. Everyone’s enough is different. Now I am getting worried if ministerial salary is enough for every minister.
Another area to watch out for is what these super talents are saying. Did they complain that they are sacrificing too much? It can be a dangerous sign of trouble brewing.
Look at it this way. There are thousands of super talents in the civil service. If two failed the test, it could be only 0.1% failure rate, which is pretty good. While everyone is getting emotional about this, do not be hasty and throw out the baby with the water. High pay policy is an uniquely Singaporean solution to prevent corruption in high places. Every state leader is secretly admiring our policy and wish they could also be paid this kind of money to keep their hands from the cookie jar.
Form a committee to review the two cases and come up with a recommendation to improve the high pay policy. If it is not broken, don’t throw it away. It has stood the test of time, so far. All it needs is likely to increase their pay a bit more and things will be fine again.