The question of the humongous salaries that PM Lee Hsien Loong and his self-serving ministers pay themselves from taxpayers' money has been the subject of public outrage but PM Lee and his ministers merrily continue to help themselves with the unconscionable emoluments oblivious to public outrage. This is because they are the Government and have the power to pay themselves outrageously without having to answer to the electorate that elected them. Just imagine our PM Lee drawing four to five times the salary of the President of the United States of America Mr. Barack Obama. It is preposterous for PM Lee to think that his position and responsibility are equal or superior to the American President to justify his exorbitant salary. So too are our self-serving ministers if they think they are superior to their American counterparts to justify their humongous salaries. PM Lee simply rides roughshod to any public protest.
But PM Lee shows himself to be less courageous when he faces foreign questioners on his and his ministers' astronomical salaries. In a recent interview with an astute interviewer Ms Patricia Wu of CNN, he was found to be nervous and fumbling with embarrassment when asked to comment on Singapore's lawmakers being some of the highest paid in the world and whether Washington would attract better talents if their salaries were more competitive. PM Lee was quickly put on the spot and caught off guard by Ms Patricia Wu's question. His unsteady answer was that they may have competitive salaries but were far from being the richest lawmakers in the world. They operate a clean system, an honest system, and are paid what their job is worth and what their quality is worth and are expected to perform. And if they don't, they have to go or (shrugs his shoulders) the electorate will vote them out.
Obviously not satisfied with his answer, Ms Patricia Wu pressed on with her question and before she could finish her question, PM Lee cut in and with a pained look and obvious discomfort gave a rambling irrelevant explanation. Not getting a straight answer from PM Lee, Ms Patricia Wu gave up and moved to another topic, allowing PM Lee a relief to his discomfort.
PM Lee can show some Dutch courage to Singaporeans in his unconvincing defence of the humongous salaries he and his ministers pay themselves but he is obviously cowardly and embarrassed when called upon to defend the preposterous whopping salaries in foreign countries, especially when interviewed by astute questioners. His answer can only be porous and untenable, especially if he is shown to be trying to overshadow President Barack Obama in importance and world standing. His defence that his ministers are paid for what their job is worth and what their quality is worth is so subjective that it is not worth the while demolishing it. Except for one or two non-Chinese ministers who are deemed worthy, most of them are considered run-of-the-mill calibre.