Murdoch gives Singapore top marks for paying ministers top dollar Rupert Murdoch praised Singapore for paying its ministers top dollar to avoid corruption. -Reuters
Wed, Jul 20, 2011
SINGAPORE - Rupert Murdoch praised wealthy Singapore for paying its ministers top dollar to avoid corruption, but a government-appointed committee in the Southeast Asian city-state is reviewing the million-dollar salaries because of public anger.
Murdoch, 80, was attacked by a protester on Tuesday while giving evidence to a British parliamentary committee at which he defended his son and his media company, News Corp , over a phone hacking scandal that has rocked the British establishment.
Murdoch described Singapore as "the cleanest society" in the world as the high salaries paid to its members of parliament precluded corruption, taking a gentle swipe at British MPs recently embroiled in a corruption scandal over expenses.
No politician in Singapore, a former British colony, has been charged with corruption in the last 20 years. But the high ministerial salaries were a hot topic during the May election in which the long-ruling People's Action Party was returned to power with the lowest percentage of the popular vote since independence in 1965.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the world's highest paid political leader with an annual salary of over S$3 million ($2.5 million), has set up a committee to look into resetting ministerial salaries.
Members of parliament, most of whom hold full-time jobs, get an allowance of about S$15,000 ($12,340) a month - or about three times the median household income.
Tan Jee Say, a former top civil servant and fund manager who hopes to contest Singapore's upcoming presidential elections, said public anger stemmed from the perception that ministers were grossly overpaid.
"They told us that they needed the high pay in order to get the most talented and competent people to run the government... We did not get the most talented people," he said.
"The broader issue is that politics is a public service. Other corrupt-free countries such as Denmark and New Zealand do not need to pay their ministers astronomical salaries to keep them clean," he added.
Singapore pegs the salaries of its ministers to two-thirds the amount received by top earners in the private sector, and Prime Minister Lee's salary is more than six times the $400,000 earned by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Many Singaporeans do not oppose paying politicians high salaries. The dispute is over how high.
"I agree with Murdoch. We have strict laws against corruption but the stick cannot work without the carrot," said market researcher Aaron Chew.
"(But) given that ministers get to decide on their salaries, aren't we in essence giving them a blank cheque in the name of preventing corruption?"
Stupid Murdoch is actually saying money can buy everything.
Paying top dollars for Top management in a profit making company is reasonable as they are tasked to generate profit and will be sacked if the company lost money.
Singapore logic of paying millions to the Ministers is crap, firstly they don’t deserve it with their screwed up performance (High cost of living, Shortage of Housing, screwed up transport services, Mas Selamat saga, Orchard road flood, over influx of foreigner etc.) And in-fact no one even take responsibility.
Those Ministers involved are still in the parliament.
Ok PM did apologised when he realised his party is losing vote during the election period.
A county is not a company. You have to attract the right kind of people into public services and if you use money then you are attracting the wrong kind of people and that is why Singapore is such sad place to live in.
On the surface we are wealthy and but in fact we are just slave with low quality of life.
The solution to stop corruption is simple, introduce the punishment of death penalty or to those who are against it, stripping one of citizenship and sent for exile is the alternative.