Ministers, office-holders elected first as MPs

In a democratic parliamentary system, the ministers and office-holders are elected by the people first as MPs.

They are not elected as Cabinet ministers ("Free Cabinet ministers from municipal duties" by Ms Priscilla Poh Beng Hoon; Monday).

Hence, their primary duty is to take care of the voters' problems, needs and aspirations, in addition to their other ministerial duties and responsibilities.

Singaporean voters have very high expectations of their MPs.

They do not expect their MPs and Cabinet ministers to be merely good debaters in Parliament, making new laws and policies; they expect their MPs to be on the ground in person as often as possible, attending to their needs, most of which are municipal in nature.

So, the idea of relieving Cabinet ministers from their municipal duties is not workable. MPs here, whether Cabinet ministers or not, work very hard, make a lot of sacrifices, and practically have no privacy and family life.

Singaporeans should be prepared to pay them well, if they want good, incorruptible people of high calibre to leave their comfort zones in the private sector to become MPs and ministers to lead Singapore into the future.

Pavithran Vidyadharan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2015, with the headline 'Ministers, office-holders elected first as MPs'. Print Edition | Subscribe