Don't begrudge those in political office their salaries

While I agree with Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi ("High expectations of MPs not unreasonable"; Monday), we often begrudge those in political office their salaries.

Our office bearers carry a heavy responsibility, not just for the decisions they make, but also for any non-action. Those who aspire to become MPs, and, later, ministers, must subject themselves to public scrutiny at the outset.

Capability, ability and talent must be accompanied by honesty, integrity and commitment.

We have been told that a number of our ministers were drawn from promising careers in the public and private sectors.

They responded to the call to serve, not for financial gain, as they could have earned more if they had stayed in their careers.

They came forward because they were convinced there would be personal fulfilment and satisfaction in serving the country.

It would be clearer to compare their salaries against those of chief executive officers in multinational corporations here than those of CEOs in other countries.

We would then realise that their salaries are, in fact, below those of top business personalities here.

Our town councils are a good testing ground for MPs. It would be counterproductive to do away with their involvement in this area.

It is up to each MP to see whether he can go full time in the town council or balance constituent work with his own employment.

Town council operation is a bread-and-butter issue for residents. It should form the core workload of any MP.

Philip Sim Ah Tee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2016, with the headline 'Don't begrudge those in political office their salaries'. Print Edition | Subscribe