20150101 PAP politicians depend 100% on tax dollars but taxpayers don’t need them

If the PAP has governed Singapore well, it deserves all the credit and the million-dollar salary. The fact is it does not even govern but runs our country as PAP private limited company.

PAP politicians are worth only a fraction of the million-dollar salary they claim they deserve. They depend on the taxpayers’ kindness (some say stupidity) but the more they are paid, the lazier they become. Excluding some with private sector experience, all PAP politicians would not have commanded million-dollar salaries in the private sector.

High pay and downhill performance started with Lee Kuan Yew paying private sector salary to ministers whom he claimed would otherwise not have joined politics. But Singaporeans do not share such a view as many cabinet members have proven their incompetence.

We’ll take a look at how much taxpayers have paid Lee Kuan Yew to understand the rot in our system. In an earlier post, I highlighted the obscene increase of our PM’s salary by some 5,200% since independence. Since Lee became PM, his salary had actually increased by 9,000% before a ‘forced reduction by voters’. The unjustified increases are clearer when we look at the table and chart below. This is what happens in a country without checks in Parliament.

YEAR YEARLY $
1959 42,000
1973 123,500
1981 214,500
1989 644,904
1994 1,248,000
2000 1,940,000
2006 2,460,000
2007 3,090,000
2008 3,800,000

Regardless of our economic performance, there was only one way for Lee’s salary to go – higher. Likewise for all ministers, political office holders, top civil servants and MPs.

The PAP has flipped flopped on it own argument for high political salary by accepting a drastic 36% reduction in 2011. So does this mean PAP politicians are 36% less competent than previous years or putting in 36% less effort? Is the PAP still begging to serve because they are aware of their lower market value in the private sector?

The PAP has a formula which adjusts political salary every year. Now, if we look at the salary of the President of the United States, it has been adjusted only 5 times since 1789, 225 years ago.

With its creative formula to perpetually increase its pay when ordinary citizens are struggling with increasingly higher cost of living every year, the PAP has lost the moral right to to govern .

Without taking into account intermittent increases, Lee’s total salary amounted to about $42 million. This does not include his pension and MP allowance. Since Lee receives a pension, many Singaporeans have questioned the need to pay Lee his MP allowance since he is unable to serve his constituents due to poor health.

Image from TR Emeritus

The absolute amount may seem peanuts but one should not forget Lee’s salary of $123,500 in 1973 could buy a landed property which is probably worth more than $3 million today. So in today’s dollar, taxpayers have paid Lee more than $100 million.

Even Lee’s family members are dependent on tax dollars for their careers. Lee Hsien Loong’s 42 years of service since 1971 certainly did not come cheap. Lee Hsien Yang has also ‘served’ as a regular in the military, as the CEO of Singtel (GLC) and is currently the chairman of CAAS (statutory board). PM Lee’s wife, Ho Ching, started her career with the Ministry of Defence in 1976 and has never worked for a non government-linked organisation. As CEO of Temasek Holdings, her salary funded by taxpayers remains a secret. Although Lee Kuan Yew’s family has been pretty reliant on taxpayers, ordinary and low-income Singaporeans have been instructed to be self reliant.

Singaporeans are expected to believe all PAP members have sacrificed by not earning a higher salary in the private sector. But how the hell do we know when they have not even worked a single day in the private sector?

Other examples:

This-should-never-have-happened-I-am-sorry-that-it-has ex minister Wong Kan Seng has been ‘serving’ since 1984. After retiring from the Cabinet, Wong has not only continued to earn tax dollars as an MP, he is also the chairman of Temasek’s Singbridge Holdings Pte Ltd. 30 years after receiving his first tax dollar, Wong is still reliant on citizens’ to feed him.

Lim Boon Heng started work as a naval architect in NOL, a GLC, in 1970. He joined the PAP in 1980 and after retiring, became chairman of Temasek Holdings in 2013. 43 years after receiving his first tax dollar, Lim still needs taxpayers to be kind to him.

SMOS Josephine Teo doesn’t know why Singaporeans are angry with the PAP despite being an MP since 2006 and believes ERP rates should be as high as possible for smooth traffic. Taxpayers were her employer when she worked for the government in the EDB, A*STAR, NTUC, etc. Together with civil servant husband, both would have earned tens of millions in tax dollars.

There are of course many other PAP members who need taxpayers to support their entire career, following in the footsteps of our paramount leader.

The PAP engages in propaganda, fear mongering and gerrymandering to perpetuate its power. With absolute control and a business empire funded by taxpayers and CPF members, it is able to attract the greedy, self-serving and incompetent.

Singaporeans have been told by the PAP’s mainstream media that our country will go to the dogs should PAP not have absolute control. But the loss of 3 ministers in Aljuneid GRC has actually been a blessing – 2014 saw a record number of parliamentary questions. If fact, even if the whole PAP cabinet is booted out, Singapore will be better off.

Lee Kuan Yew was kidding when he painted a doomsday scenario of Singapore without overpaid PAP ministers. But frankly, who really believes Singapore will be worse off without toothpick picking Lim Swee Say, the ‘right’ MICA minister, Yaacob Ibrahim, $8 heart bypass Khaw Boon Wan, Keechiu Chan Chun Sing, etc ?

Are PAP politicians able to command similar salaries in the private sector? Ex ministers George Yeo, Lim Hwee Hua and Zainal Abidin Rasheed should be able to enlighten Singaporeans on what it’s like to be in the private sector. First thing they would have learnt is ‘accountability’ exists. And money does not fall from the sky at the stroke of a pen.

The PAP exaggerates the difficulty in running a 716 sq km little red dot to justify its remuneration. Most of the time, PAP is resolving self-created issues. Our Orchard Road ‘ponding’, which the PAP could not even prevent, is nothing compared with the recent flooding in Malaysia and Thailand. It is doubtful we can get through a catastrophe without the need to learn unnecessary lessons.

If a few trees uprooted by strong winds are a very big challenge to our government,

can anyone expect them to handle the aftermath of typhoons which regularly hit neighbouring countries eg Haiyan?

The PAP wants citizens to believe Singapore is extremely difficult to govern when we are only hit by tremors compared with countries which are devastated by earthquakes and tsunamis.
If a population of 5.4 million has created so many issues, countries with multiple times our population should have collapsed.

Relative to other countries, Singapore is really a piece of cake minus all the self-created problems.

The PAP ministers who do deserve credit have retired. Since asset-enhancer Goh became PM, Singapore has been going downhill without any break and we are at the edge of a cliff. Besides the gleaming buildings,numerous shopping malls, latest bus models, newly minted citizen billionaires, etc, have we really progressed?

Was the PAP prepared to handle a riot? Our scholarly SOPs must have been perfect on paper but when the Little India riot erupted, the SOC was late and our men in blue actually RAN AWAY. It was a real shame but instead of addressing the issue of accountability and learning a lesson, DPM Teo commended the police for having “done their best” despite what was clearly an abject failure. In the private sector when you have failed after doing your best, you’re out of the company in a jiffy. With the PAP, you’ll receive a promotion and long service award for simply trying your best. But since DPM Teo is also the MHA minister, one should not have expected him to say otherwise. Was Teo’s comment fair and objective? What do you think?

The present batch of PAP is not only incompetent but totally lacking in shared and real-life experience. Their only solution is to throw tax dollars at the problem. When it comes to the crunch, expect only failure.

The truth is we DO NOT need incompetent politicians to run our country. Higher salaries attract only the greedy and also buy their silence. All our chronic issues are not a coincidence.

PAP politicians are dependent on tax dollars. Those who had private sector experience prior to joining PAP would be able to return to the private sector. But those who have only worked for the government would not be able to find any job with a salary even in the top 10,000 income bracket.

From all the repeated screw ups, it should be evident to Singaporeans the PAP has become totally dependent on tax dollars but we do not need them.

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