Thursday, May 26, 2011

MP Lim Wee Kiat on Ministerial Pay

Received an email from my friend a while ago in which he copy and pasted for me a blog entry, "Dr Lim Wee Kiat enlightens us"

He commented,

By moving too quickly on ministerial pay, PM Lee risks leaving behind PAP backbenchers stuck in their old mindsets.
It's a classic example of poor execution of change management.
I thought the PAP leadership would have spent some (perhaps considerable) time getting their MPs on board for the change.

My response:

Yep, I agree with you about the PM moving too quickly on this. There is really no need to. There is also an even bigger issue about pay they seemed to have missed. If they perform very well, and everyone is happy, nobody cares about their high pay. If they perform poorly, then even a low pay is too high. In this sense given the nature and responsibility of their jobs what Hitler had said about his generals applies. If a general is victorious, he doesn't need to explain. If he is defeated, he shouldn't be around to explain! 

Therefore if they think by lowering their salaries the people would be more forgiving, what they would get is between the five years they would be criticized less. In the GE, they could lose may votes or even voted out. 

To take a huge cut in pay just to hear less of a earful, does seem like a high price to pay isn't it? But the issue of pay goes deeper than this. High pay attract the wrong candidates, and enough human beings are good enough at pretending, no matter how careful and rigorous you are, some will get pass. That is why the Opposition have an easier time attracting the right candidates from now on. The pretenders are not attracted to try there!

What a paradox. We get worse ministers when we pay them too well.

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