There is a general trend of opinion that the Special Committee appointed by PM Lee Hsien Loong to review ministerial salaries may not meet the people's desire for a meaningful cut of the whopping ministers' pay. The composition of the Committee does not exude the kind of confidence that it will really go to the root of the problem and recommend drastic cuts. At best itwill show that it has gone through the motion of examining in detail the basis and level of ministerial salaries and come up with a cosmetic recommendation falling far short of the people's expectations. It takes great courage to recommend drastic cuts to ministerial salaries and there is the lingering doubt that the appointed committee does not possess that kind of pluck and determination.
There is some kind of consensus among certain people that an ideal way of determining the degree of ministerial salaries cut is by a referendem. This is such a heated topic and of such intense interest to the public that it is of fundamental importance for the people to be involved in the final determination of the degree of cuts in ministerial salaries. We could offer the Government three sets of proposal for the referendum for the electorate to decide. One is for a 50% cut; the second is a two-third cut and the third is a 80% cut. Even if any one of these three proposals is decided by the electorate, the ministers will still be quite comfortably off with the reduced salaries when compared with ministers' salaries in other Asian or Western countries. Service to the people must involve some sacrifices on the part of the ministers. The people will be happy and this will endear the PAP Govenment to the people.
There are rumours circulating around that another matter which is causing considerable worry and anxiety to PM Lee Hsien Loong and his Cabinet colleagues is the forthcoming election of the President. The PAP leadership is said to be frantically looking for a suitable candidate who could win the election considering the current unpredictable mood of the electorate. It is very important at this juncture for a pro-PAP candidate to be elected as President if only because of the need to keep the country's reserves from being inspected by an inquisitive President. Another reason is that with a pro-opposition or neutral President relationship between the President and the PAP Government may not be that congenial, especially in the case of a strong-willed President. The mood of the electorate is still not entirely in the Government's favour and any less eminent candidate they put up will likely end up in woe. The person likely to win the presidency for them is none other than the former Foreign Minister George Yeo because of his still eminent standing among the electorate. Otherwise the mood of the electorate is that they want to see a non-PAP candidate elected as President for a change. They thnik it will be good for Singapore to have a President who really represents the people without the PAP baggage.
It will be interesting to watch who will emerge as the person with the audacity to offer himself as a candidate to compete against a formidable PAP nominee. Since this is a national election, this iconic personality will likely get the opposition support and the support of all those borderline cases who voted for the PAP in the last General Election.