Some thoughts on the ministerial salary debate:
1. Getting a 40% discount doesn’t necessarily mean that you get a good deal, especially if the original price has been marked up astronomically. It applies when you want to buy gadgets or clothes or jewelry (have you noticed that jewelry stores offer discounts all-year long?), and it also applies here.
2. Aljunied MP Chen Show Mao doesn’t need to argue to prove his point. His existence in the House alone is enough as a counter-proof to PAP’s argument that you need high pay to attract ‘talent’.
3. In Indonesia, we used to pay our civil servants badly, and many people said that this was the cause of corruption in Indonesia. After the Soeharto era, we increased the salary of our civil servants accordingly and I believe the salary now is pretty competitive if compared to the private sector, if not even better. Nevertheless, corruption remains and gets even worse. Singapore is not Indonesia, of course, but I guess it shows that criminals will be criminals no matter how handsome their salaries are. Does the opposite thing apply, though, that good men will be good men no matter how low their salaries are?
4. (Not really related.) I just realized why PM Lee loved to wear pink recently. It is supposed to symbolize the pink IC of Singaporeans.