Why was the Whip not lifted during the debate on Ministerial Salary? If the PAP believes so strongly in its philosophy and policy on high pay for public service, should not all the MPs and ministers also believe in the same ideology? Or was the rumour of a split on this issue true, that some MPs and ministers were not agreeable with the policy of high pay?
How serious was the divide? Could the against faction be more than the for faction? If so, then the majority in the party is being overruled by the minority. But this is highly unlikely given the passion they exhibited in supporting this policy. Or could it be the MPs versus the ministers as the MPs are not the real beneficiary of the policy?
Hypothetically, if the Whip is lifted and more MPs and ministers were to speak against it, then it can become embarrassing. Or it could be the MPs speaking and voting against the ministers.
When that happens, the hypocrisies will be difficult to bear. It will clearly show the self interest of those in favour of high pay defending their high pay. Another form of hypocrisy that could be exposed will be MPs speaking against it and voting for it. And if that happens, it will be very awkward for PAP MPs to lash out at other political parties for hypocrisy.
Now that the debate and voting are over, no one will be wiser or have the good fortune to know what it could have been. It is just a speculative thought though. Who knows, all the MPs and ministers could come out with their guns firing in support of the recommendation. Then again, given the need to impose the Whip, perhaps this is an unlikely scenario.
Another hypothetical and disastrous ending, if the Whip was not imposed, would see the recommendation defeated by PAP MPs voting against it. That will be a real shocker.
The Whip is very effective in such a vital policy debate, and with an absolute majority, the phrase, ‘let’s vote for it’ is really an insult on the daft Sinkies. But this is democracy at its best, with a little aid from the Whip.
The other big question is whether the high salary bill is an issue of national interest or a matter of conscience. The advocates claimed that it is national interest with the red herring that it is all about the greedy politicians in the future, nothing to do with the present bunch. Well, how many would take this bait? If it is an issue of conscience, then it is not proper to impose the Whip as it will taint every MP and Minister in the same smear of colour.
Is this issue water under the bridge?