Look at results rather than ministers' salaries

I cannot agree more with Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong that Singapore will pay the price of not being able to attract people of the right calibre if ministers' salaries are cut (Cut pay for ministers? S'pore will pay price: ESM Goh; Aug 8).

It is easy for disaffected Singaporeans to target ministers' salaries as a convenient punching bag .

However, what Singaporeans should focus on is not the quantum of a political office-holder's salary.

Whether a minister makes $1 million, $2 million or $3 million per year, it makes little difference to the taxpayer in absolute terms.

Even if all the political office-holders take a 50 per cent pay cut, it is unlikely that this would contribute significantly to our annual Budget.

Instead of begrudging ministers their salaries or suggesting that their salaries be diverted for other social spending, the outcome indicators that taxpayers should look at include:

• Have our lives improved over the years? Is our society equitable and fair?

 •Does the Government offer "value for money" for taxes paid?

• Are there other governments which pay themselves an uncompetitive salary that deliver the standard of living we enjoy at our tax rate, which we can emulate?

While the Government is far from perfect, reducing ministers' pay is not the right solution.

Lee Yong Se

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2018, with the headline 'Look at results rather than ministers' salaries'. Print Edition | Subscribe