a community of singaporeans

An “extraordinary” government?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 23, 2007

By Zyberzitizen

Eversince the issue of ministers salary emerged recently, the PAP government has been taking great pains to let Singaporeans know how “extraordinary” they are. This is not unexpected, of course. How else would they justify their highest-in-the-world salary, right?

It is getting to the point of making us nauseous – and sick in the stomach.

Here are some quotes from the horses’ mouths, so to speak. (Bold emphasis are mine):

Teo Chee Hean:

“The government is a special governmentSingapore is helped along by a first-class, excellent, efficient, uncorrupted public service.” (CNA)

Irene Ng:

Singapore is governed by extraordinary men willing to make personal sacrifices” (CNA)

Lee Hsien Loong:

“He stressed that the cost to Singapore of having the wrong team of leaders is incalculable.” (CNA)

Lee Hsien Loong:

“Singaporeans know we have done the right thing. The participants agree, too, and nobody alleges any hanky panky. There are proper procedures and due diligence. Who else can do that in the world?” (CNA)

Lee Hsien Loong:

“They are most impressed by how we have maintained the vigour and quality of our government, without becoming complacent after so many years in power. They want to learn how our system has stayed clean, and our ministers and officials honest.” (AsiaOne)

Yaacob Ibrahim:

“Frankly speaking, you cannot find another civil service quite like it. It’s an ecosystem. … Look at other countries — how the civil service is corrupt, inept, inefficient. Ours is on the ball. They get the job done.” (CNA)

Lee Kuan Yew:

“To make the transformation from what we were in 1959 or 1965, to what we are requires an extraordinary government with extraordinary government officers to support it.” (AsiaOne)

Lee Kuan Yew:

“That is why Singapore needed an extraordinary government, filled with top talent who will ensure the system remains efficient and the country prosperous.” (Straits Times, 23 April, 2007, “Extraordinary govt, talent keep S’pore ahead, says MM”)

So, we have a “special government”, an “extraordinary government”, a “clean government”, an “honest government”, a government which is not “inept, corrupt, inefficient”.

Oh my.

The superlatives just roll off the tongue, sort of like water rushing down a waterfall.

It sounds like ours is a paradise on earth – and the rest of the world has gone to hell. All because they (the “other” countries) do not pay their government officials out-of-this-world salaries.

More telling is why the government finds it necessary to blow their own trumpets. It is not very humble, if you asked me. (“Asian Values”, anyone?) Which is why it is time for Singaporeans to perhaps ask for an independent council to determine salaries of office holders. Never mind what Minister Teo Chee Hean said about how the ultimate decision will still have to be decided by the government.

The law can always be changed to give such a council powers to set salaries.

But what is the government’s solution to the question of someone or anyone who gets into government but is there only for the money? Simple, in the words of Minister Teo Chee Hean:

“If (a person’s) motivations are self-serving or to make money, we do not select him. And if we discover that’s what he’s about after he has come in, we drop him,” he said.” (CNA)

See? An “extraordinary” government with an extraordinarily simplistic solution. Just don’t select him but if you do, just drop him later on. End of story. Problem solved.

And while we’re at it, perhaps our “extraordinary government” should also look into the other causes of this “brain drain” in government – a de-politicised populace, curbs on political clubs in schools and society, unfair election rules, changing electoral boundaries at the very last minute, defamation laws, unfree media, etc etc.

To think that paying such high salaries will solve the problem betrays the very self-aggrandising declaration of an “extraordinary” government.

An “extraordinary” government would see that the reasons contributing to this lack of talents in government goes much deeper and more serious than not paying more than peanuts.

As the Workers’ Party secretary general, Mr Low Thia Khiang, said: Even if you pay bananas, you can still get monkeys.

Maybe we will have “extraordinary monkeys”.

But they’d still be monkeys, nonetheless.

Funny how an “extraordinary” government doesn’t realise that describing itself in superlative terms are going to turn off more Singaporeans.

Perhaps that’s exactly why they are “extraordinary”?


23 Responses to “An “extraordinary” government?”

  1. It seems Lee Kuan Yew is running the show than his son Lee Hsien Loong. He is mentor minister, but his conduct in many public appearances and his many announcement plus speeches are dominating the headlines of the ST.

    He seems he can not let go and leave the running of the government to his son. So his son is now more like a puppet than a prime minister. In this way how can he prove himself to be effective in government ?

    Extraordinary is to have special ability. Lee Kuan Yew has no extraordinary ability. His tactics are borrowed from the communist. Singapore is just like China, a police state. Is this extraordinary ?

    Many scholars are tied down in the govenment agencies. Can they make the gtrade in private sector ? David Lim was in NOL. He did not make the grade. Lim Chee Onn is in Keppel which is making money, so he is lucky to be there. Can he make Keppel more profitable ? Wong Hung Khim was in SBS. Did he made the grade ? What he did is just administer not doing business. Or else SBS can be double the present size.

    With so many scholars, why chose private sector high calibre workers to be ministers ? This is because these scholars are mostly not talented to be ministers. Lee Kuan Yew just see the annual pay of the candidtate in the private sector and can consider him as potential canditate for minister. His scholars in government, he just put aside, except for some BG or admiral officers.

  2. Ashamed to be a Singaporean Abroad said

    ‘Extraordinary’ this, ‘special’ that, ‘world-class’, ‘excellent’, ‘uncorrupt’, etc… Truly a case of self praise = international digrace!!! And not only do they blow their own trumpets, the old senile one goes around saying (without any basis whatsoever) that the rest of the world is mediocre or ordinary compared us.

    Thanks to our govt, we will soon be exemplary for our arrogance!

    Ashamed to be a Singaporean abroad.

  3. zyberzitizen said

    So far, we have had an “extraordinarily compassionate” budget with a GST hike which “no other country on earth has introduced with so much compassion” – to paraphrase an obviously delusional PAP MP.

    Singapore’s govt is so extraordinary that they have managed to bring us to he lowest birth rate in the world, the lowest happy people on the international index, and the people with the lowest sex drive in the world too.

    How extraordinary.


  4. Frightened Singaporean abroad said

    I miss Mr. Goh. I recall him saying that he joined PAP because he wanted to repay the country for paying his education. Where are people like him? I would rather have leaders like him than those who would be there simply for the money. Are they going to leave like the top executives in private sector would do when the company goes down? Is that the future “extraordinary” government that we would be getting?

  5. ordinary citizen said

    i didnt know the old master had invested so much in his erm…future talent. unfortunately, the miscalculated language skill acquired wasn’t put to good use but it certainly points to a ‘planned succession’ doesn’t it?

    hmm…oh, i forgot to add. we people don’t have conscience, only extraordinary salary leaders have plenty of poker’s poke poke conscience hor…lol

  6. David said

    Obviously this MM like to talk rubbish and treat Singaporean as a fool. Ask yourself, just because someone manage trillion dollars of economy, does it entitle that person to that trillion dollars of salary ?

    If you are a financial controller or an asset manager managing someone’s money in term of hundred of millions asset, does that mean he can threaten his client by saying :
    “You want to quarrel about $3 million annual salary over a $100 million assets? I say, Rubbish.”

    This MM treat Singaporean as a damn fool !!!!

    No wonder we keep bleeding elite in gov because the gov think they are above everyone and deserve everything because only they are the one build Singapore. Damn it, why are Singaporean working so damn hard when all credits all back to Government and MM ?? No wonder money always not enough for us because the gov keep giving lavishing praise and unjustified salary !!!!

    Those who are entrepreneur better of go to other countries where their hardwork is really their hardwork not totally to the credit of our arrogant gov.

    Indeed,LKY is running Singapore all this time looking over the shoulder of his son. His son so flared up that he admit that SM and MM is the one behind ministers’pay hike, rendering his son nothing than a puppet and scrapegoat. MM is making use of his son to show that MM has partially retired !!!

    That’s pathetic.

    With what MM say, I believe more minister’s benefit and perk is coming up for them !!! because they are the pillars of Singapore and worth unlimited wealth !!!

    Gov = Singapore = PAP !!! that’s what MM implies. Without PAP, there’s no more Singapore, nevermind the intelligent, educated Singaporean capable of survival in the society !!!

  7. Hi David,

    I think we can summarise the PAP’s attitude in one word: Hubris.

    And this has come about because of the way the PAP MPs and ministers have got into parliament. That, in my view, is the fundamental problem we have here in Singapore. But too bad, we’ll have to wait another 4 years to have our say.


  8. Toscia said

    We are in a LEE business. Hmm… I’m a Lee too. Can I get a raise too?

    You know, Singaporeans still don’t care much about this. I met up with an old friend today and vehemently told him how I felt. The only thing he could muster was, “HUH? REALLY AH”.

    We’re really truly an extraordinary government who make and approve the everything.

    Sigh.. the dark ages my friend… the dark age has arrived…

  9. kruder said

    Times like this, alot of us really wonder how much does the govt really care about the people and seriously what on earth are they thinking when they try to pull something off like that on the people? It comes across sounding pompous and exaggerated more than anything else. tsk tsk.

  10. Pure unadulterated arrogance.

  11. Ashamed Singaporean said

    Freedom, Not Fiefdom!

  12. mrbiao said

    My question is, which government in the world doesn’t think that it is special?

  13. Anne said

    The problem is not just minister’s salaries. Why is it that top bankers, lawyers, MNCs, engineers, managers is paid millions of dollars when they does not contribute to the country at all.

  14. lex said

    the way our government is praising themselves and condeming all other 1st world countries (denmark, finland, etc) is making me sick.

    on the contrary, the gov should ask themselves this question: if other first world countries leaders can effectively lead a country that is so much bigger than us for such a lower pay, why cant we do the same?

    remember, singapore is strategically not affected by natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons.

    take a look at japan. they have their fair share of natural disasters of late, but they still managed to overcome these times. their PM, Abe, did a fine job without an extravagant salary, but more importantly, the people are happy.

    now compare us to them. do we not have natural disasters? No. are our Ministers lowly paid? no. Most importantly, are our people currently happy? no.

    outstanding. government 1, singaporeans pwned.

  15. knockout said

    Singapore used to have so call zero percent unemployment but now???

    Singaporean used to have total 40% CPF contribution but now????

    You tell me is the govt doing a good job??????

  16. Hi Knockout,

    You have put it precisely! According to the govt, we now have a $4 trillion economy and an ‘extraordinary’ govt.

    But our CPF has been cut, we do not have enough for retirement, birth rate is plummeting, we’re one of the most unhappy people on earth.

    Not a good job, indeed.


  17. Marginalized_singaPOORean said

    lets take it from a sympathetic stand towards PAP … i think they are really damaging their own reputation internationally with the way they are doing things… Singapore has been the butt of jokes everywhere for the last two months.

    anyway another comical statement from the Elderlee was that somewhat like this … if the whole group of PAP MPs in Parliament were to be die in some freak accident, Singapore will not find replacements and hence go down….

    now that means Singapore is doomed in the future when someday nature or party turnover take away all these MPs from Parliament, because any replacement PAP brings in over time will be from the pool of Singaporeans will just not be able to make it??? so are the current MPs Prophets or Super-Wise Geniuses or Prodigies??? lets clone the dollies then….

  18. knockout said

    Can anyone tell me how much are the present ministers were earning and the job there are doing before joining the PAP??

  19. Hi knockout,

    I don’t think anyone knows how much all the ministers were earning before they joined the govt/PAP.

    LHL said Ng Eng Hen was making some $4 million, same as Balaji. But ministers like Wong Kan Seng was only a personnel manager at Hewlett Packard before he became minister.

    Not sure about the rest.


  20. Not First in Non-Corruption said

    Singapore is ranked First in many things.
    But Singapore hand NEVER been RANKED FIRST in NON-CORRUPTION.

    Thus, Top World salary MUST NOT be JUSTIFIED on the BASIS of non-Corruption and Cleanness because Singapore DID NOT receive this World HONOUR.

    So Government must be SUED [WHO dares?????] for COMPENSATION and DAMAGES if Singapore does NOT achieve the First World Rank on non-corruption in any year.

    Otherwise, is this a MIS-GOVERNANCE to receive World Highest Salary?????

  21. GST Refund Efficient said

    Please show cost of GST increase Collection & Refund Efficient in terms of Unit Cost in S$ per Singapore Dollor of GST increase Collected & Refunded.

    It costs a DINASAUR to do such inefficient GST Collection and then Refund.

    Even the mediocre Refund Recipients themselves were made so so so so so In-In-In-In-INefficient just to receive the GST refund.
    Just wonder if this is World Class Excellence in Efficiency!?!?!?!?!?

  22. extraordinarily rich govt said

    how extraordinarily rich our govt is, raising their pay then raising gst. they sure are extraordinary in how they can make themselves look so gd yet not produce results…

  23. eugene said

    A leader does not make the country succeed, the people do. Singapore has always had the potential of being successful from way way back. Mickey mouse could have been in the leadership, and come to think of it, things would be a lot better than they are now. And a point to ponder…. when a ‘great’ leader (and I use the term loosly) eventually dies does he become ‘Minister Mortuus’ ??

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