What next? Ministers’ salaries must come down: SDP

SingaporeScene


SDP chief Chee Soon Juan speaks up about Cabinet changes. (Yahoo! photo/Faris Mokhtar)

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan has called for an across-the-board cut in ministers' salaries in the wake of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's sweeping changes to the Cabinet.

In a media statement, Chee said, "If PM Lee is genuinely contrite and is determined to lead a government that listens to the people, then he will announce an across-the-board reduction in the Ministers' salaries."

He added, "The astronomical wages that the Ministers draw, despite the poor performance of the last government, have caused much anger among Singaporeans", before going on to recommend the PM's salary be reduced to S$60,000 a month and that the "ministers' wages follow accordingly."

PM Lee currently earns an annual salary of S$3,870,000, the highest paid politician in the world.

On the new cabinet appointments, Dr Chee urged Singaporeans to question not who is appointed to which ministery but rather "what policies will emanate from these new ministries."

He gave the example of National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, who hushed about the real costs of constructing HDB flats.

"If Mr Khaw Boon Wan.... continues with the Ministry of National Development's policy of not revealing the real costs of constructing HDB flats, Singaporeans will still be in the dark as to how much their flats really cost and how much profit the government is making from HDB sales," said Dr Chee.

He added that being transparent about the costs can lead to better policies that can guide the pricing of HDB flats.

SDP expects newer policies and policy initiatives to be "significantly different" from their predecessors as they should break away from the "politics-as-usual" from the current government.

Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister for Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim were specifically singled out by Dr Chee for their poor performance last term.

He raised the question of how the performance and effectiveness of the government can be raised when Ministers are just moved around laterally.

Dr Chee also questioned roles of Lim Swee Say and S Iswaran, both ministers without portfolio who are assigned to the Prime Minister's Office, and the appointments of second ministers and Ministers of State.

He urged the PM Lee to explain why such appointments are needed in the government.

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