Monday, April 23, 2007

Wow, you must be kidding, right?

Someone posted me what MM Lee said in the St James Power Station. I was stumped.

Let me try to understand what he said. All respect to him for modern Singapore, I think he is missing the point(s). The people of Singapore are not saying that there should not be a pay hike. It's just that:

  • The government has just raised the utilities fees, transport fares, GST hike, etc over the past year. Is this a right time with another hike again?
  • The ministers' salaries are already so well-paid, highest in the world. It still is a laughing stock, considering the impact to the world should a Singapore PM step down.
  • The income gap is widening so fast. The government has recognized the gap but nothing has been done about it. Or is it purposely?
  • The middle- and lower-income group have not seen a significant pay rise over the past few years to move with the increasing cost of living. Don't you think it's a bit far off to give yourself >50% pay raise?
  • There is so much wealth in our reserves and the government keeps telling Singaporeans that it isn't enough. Really?
  • To help the poor and those living from hand to mouth, there was even a debate if the mere $40 increase from $250 was justifiable. Ridiculous and absurd, in my honest opinion! Those people once gave their all to contribute to the economy.
  • The Straits Times newspaper put up 8 pages of comments, articles, etc to justify the pay hike. Necessary?
  • Do a blog search on the words 'minister pay hike' and you probably get >80% disapproval.
  • With so many disgruntled voices over the pay hike, I strongly believe the government will carry it out. So why need a debate/discussion then? Isn't it like the casino issue?
  • Etc...

(Do yourself a favour. Read those blogs. Many have given valid reasons why the pay hike should not take place. Perhaps my MPs are afraid to bring those reasons up in parliament debate.)

So which part does MM Lee NOT understand?

Anyway, article here:

MM Lee: Why fuss over ministers' pay when it's your own future at stake?

Really? I'm unconvinced. Still.

MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, 83, has issued a heartfelt appeal to Singapore's next generation. As you reap the benefits of your higher education and global mobility, he said, be

I have not seen my pay rise by 10%, let alone 100% like what the government has proposed for the ministers. What benefits did I receive when the cost of living keeps going up and my salary does not match it?

mindful of those who made those opportunities possible - fellow citizens who stayed behind and toiled for the good of the country, and capable leaders who stepped forward to run it and made it prosper.

Again, opportunities for whom? There were the p40s, p50s who stayed behind and toiled to see Singapore as what she is today. What did they get?

Crap loads like "Your CPF contributions are not enough for retirement", "No more pension for you" (yet you give yourself pension?!!), "You can't retire so early now, people live longer, etc"

He was speaking to over 40 Young PAP members at a 2.5-hour dialogue at St James Power Station on Saturday.

Labelling the recent brouhaha over ministers' pay hikes as 'completely unreal', Mr Lee said: 'You have a dumb govt in Singapore, you are done for. And you want to quarrel about $20 million over a $4-trillion economy? I say, rubbish... You mismanage this, it's not your

We don't have a dumb government. We only have dumb Singaporeans. At least 66.6% of them. You want to quarrel with me about the $250 to $290 justification debates?

Also the $20 million is shared by only a small percent (the ministers only) as compared to the whole population? Do you think it is fair?

shareholders who will lose money, 4 and a half million people will suffer - of whom 3 million plus are Singaporeans, of whom 80 per cent cannot migrate.'

Pointing to the often-heard wish of the highly-educated young to migrate to greener pastures, Mr Lee urged them to consider the plight of their fellow citizens who are not so mobile.

Question: Who are the REAL shareholders of the $4-trillion economy, pray tell me?

Also by saying 80 per cent cannot migrate, you acknowledge the fact that a whole lot of people want out?! Perhaps you should rethink your policies. They could be the push factors.

In spite of the Singapore success, people still want to leave.

Migration statistics of Singapore that we don't see in our newspaper.

'As a government and personally for me and my colleagues, my responsibility is to look after those who cannot migrate. Without them doing the hard and the dirty work, I would not have had a decent life, I would not have been a leader, my children would not have been educated, you would not have been educated, so I owe them a responsibility, an obligation... Can you in good conscience say, "Goodbye! Thank you very much?'

Yes sir. I have just migrated.

Perhaps SM Goh can also share with my fellow Singaporeans why his daughter is in London? And why isn't his son-in-law living in Singapore?

Or can ex-MP Yeo Cheow Tong explain why his daughter did not reject New York's offer? Read below:
"Yeo Cheow Tong told me that JP Morgan, a leading Wall Street investment bank, recruited his daughter before she even started her final year in a top US university. Upon joining the bank after graduation, she was assigned to a corporate finance team that executes billion-dollar projects. Apart from the pay, such a first job excited and challenged her.

I asked Cheow Tong whether his daughter would come back to Singapore. He could only say, "I hope so." I hope so too."
excerpts from SM Goh's nation day rally 2001

His daughters are still in the US today.

The MM's bottomline: Singapore is an honest meritocracy that relies on hard-nosed decisions and proven individual talent - and that applies to everyone, including even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Alluding to critics who accuse the Lee family of nepotism, he countered: 'I have not created this Singapore to have it ruined by my son. If he can't do the job, I would have stopped him faster than anybody else. It's as simple as that. Why? Because the future of Singapore is more important than his future.'

'Let's be blunt about this. At stake is not the PAP losing a few seats. At stake is you losing your future.'

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