Written by Ng E-Jay
31 May 2011
The total annual salaries of all ministers, acting ministers, and ministers-of-state amounts to less than 0.05 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and less than 0.3 percent of our annual government budget. Yet, they continue to evoke a very strong emotional response from Singaporeans, in part because they seem so exorbitant compared to what politicians of similar stature in other developed nations are getting.
Recently, a committee headed by PAP stalwart and NKF Chairman Gerard Ee has been established by the Prime Minister to re-examine the basis of ministerial salaries in the view of bringing it in line with the traditional ethos of public service.
Mr Gerard Ee has announced publicly that his committee will adopt a very different model to assess how ministers should be paid. Supposedly, this model includes using job specifications as a starting point, and taking into account general wage levels as opposed to merely pegging ministerial pay to the top private sector wages.
The People’s Association (PA), a statutory board under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, was set up in 1960 to counter the influence of Chinese clan associations and unions on working class Singaporeans.
Like all other stat boards, it receives a yearly grant from the government to run its programmes and cover operational costs. In FY2008, PA received $280 million from taxpayers, and another $23 million in “operating income”. It spent a total of $320 million last year.
Dr Tan Cheong Bock, former PAP MP for Ayer Rajah and potential presidential candidate, supported the PAP Government’s 1987 arrest of “Marxist conspirators” in the months after the arrests. (See here.)
In a Straits Times article “Most think Govt acted rightly, says Cheng Bock” dated 30 July 1987, Dr Tan said that the majority of Singaporeans were satisfied that the government had acted appropriately, and he was also quoted as saying:
“There is a certain group of solid citizens who, because of their links with the detainees either through a shared religion or community work, have yet to accept the reasons for their detention.”
This letter was issued by the Prime Minister’s Office to all PAP MPs, a copy of which was made available to the media:
RULES OF PRUDENCE
1. Our Party has won 81 out of 87 seats in the just concluded General Election. The opposition contested 82 seats, of which the PAP won 76, with 60.1% of the votes.
SERVING IN A NEW ERA
2. The people have given us a clear mandate to carry out our programmes. We must fulfil what we have promised to do in our manifesto. We must never break faith with the people, but always carry out our duties to them responsibly, address their worries and advance their interests.
(Video attached below)
Former Member of Parliament Tan Cheng Bock has indicated that he may be a candidate in the coming Presidential Election.
This comes after the 71 year-old quit the ruling People’s Action Party earlier this month.
Speaking to 938LIVE, Dr Tan explained his decision:
“Many Singaporeans have been urging me to stand for the Presidential Election. And I’m really honored by them urging me to stand. I would say it’s a recent decision. You know you always think about what you can do for the country. What sort of role I can really play with my past expriences as a Member of Parliament, in the corporate world also. So that I probably would have some feel as to how I would like to contribute my role as a President in looking after the reserves and the also in the appointment of all the top people in the government service.”
By See Leong Kit
(Writer’s letter to TODAY Voices was rejected for publication)
Your TODAY May 14 edition featured two timely reports “When grassroots leaders may not provide most accurate feedback” and “Public Service must connect with those it serves: DPM Teo”.
The former report indicated that several PAP MPs now realised that some grassroots leaders may not give accurate feedback and only highlight the positives.
In the latter report, Minister in charge of Civil Service DPM Teo Chee Hean said “There is a clear desire by the electorate for their voices to be heard. As we seek to strengthen our engagement with the public whom we serve, we must listen actively and work closely with them on issues affecting them.”
Written by Ng E-Jay
26 May 2011
I am very disappointed in PAP MP Irene Ng. Judging from the comments she posted on Facebook, she appears irked that the mainstream media has given coverage to the Worker’s Party (WP) first Meet-The-People’s Session (MPS) at Aljunied GRC. Ms Irene Ng is the quintessential PAP MP who is so used to a biased press, she is taken aback or even appears offended when the press suddenly gives fair coverage to all political parties.
The WP Members of Parliament for Aljunied GRC held their first MPS earlier this week, and it was reported in the mainstream media the next day. This prompted Ms Irene Ng, PAP MP for Tampines GRC, to post on her Facebook wall that:
Written by Ng E-Jay
25 May 2011
On 16 May, residents of Block 686B Woodlands Drive 73, discovered, to their horror, that a murder had been committed and the dead body had been thrown into the water tank at the roof top. To make matters worse, the residents were only informed several hours after the discovery, which means that many people had unknowingly used the water.
A visit by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) to the block revealed that some residents were afflicted by emotional trauma, and others by diarrhea. Dr Leong Yan Hoi, a medical practitioner on the SDP’s panel of healthcare advisors, said that the “ingestion of the contaminated water may lead to gastroenteritis and acute diarrhoeal illness, though long-term infectious risks are rare and negligible“. (See here.)
The gross negligence and security lapse by the Sembawang Town Council is utterly unforgivable. How could a foreign worker have access to the rooftop such that he had the opportunity to commit such an atrocity — an atrocity that could have amounted to an act of terrorism?
(Post updated with remarks from NSP Sec-Gen Goh Meng Seng)
By Scroobal, SBF contributor
Looks like many Singaporeans are not aware how these things are done. Firstly what she is doing is absolutely legal. Her father Leonard is fully cognizant with these things plus the fact that he comes from the financial sector.
Her error seems to be that she did not realise that many Singaporeans are not familiar with the rules. She was also naive in having the funds put in her personal account and something that is not kosher with the concept of accountability.
Now the press are getting into it. The PAP raises funds across the board at will, only having to declare to the authorities and no one else. It has a ready register of donors and they are literally movers and shaker in Singapore and the emails go out well before the elections. Nicole Seah is all of 24 years and other than appealing to her friends and family how else does she expect to raise funds other than make a public appeal — maybe go borrow PAP donor register from Lau Ping Sum?
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics, Singapore Democratic Party
Written by Ng E-Jay
22 May 2011
Ms Teo Soh Lung recently recounted in a Facebook article that during SDP’s dinner held on 14 May to thank supporters and volunteers who had helped the party in the GE2011 campaign, many had come forward to question SDP’s beliefs in human rights and civil disobedience.
Ms Teo, who was an SDP candidate for Yuhua SMC in the recently concluded general elections, wrote that one after another, these newfound SDP supporters urged Dr Chee to abandon civil disobedience and turn SDP into an ordinary opposition party that will discard human rights and civil disobedience into the bin.
This rather understandably surprised Ms Teo, who wondered if 50 years of PAP rule had turned Singaporeans into blindly obedient followers. She expressed her vexation at the fact that Singaporeans, and Parliament in particular, had accepted questionable laws such as the Public Order Act without much debate.