With the General Election (GE) expected in the next few months, various political parties in Singapore have been “showing off” their new candidates to the Singapore public. However one of the stranger trends so far is the fact that the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has claimed that it found it hard to recruit talent from the private sector to stand as its election candidates.
Of the 18 new PAP candidates, only five of them are from the private sector. The remaining 13 are all from the public sector. This is a huge problem for the ruling party as Singapore government ministers are some of the highest paid in the world and the main reason/explanation/excuse the Singapore government has gave for their high salaries is that this was necessary to attract “high-quality” people from the private sector. The reasoning is that with the high pay of the private sector, most people would rather join the private sector than enter politics so high pay for ministers is a "necessary evil".
So much for that idea!
I’m one of the few people in Singapore who do not care about the high salaries our ministers are getting but even I will ask this question, “Why are we giving such salaries to our ministers if it doesn’t help get people into the government?”
This is one question many, many Singaporeans are asking right now. Right now about ¾ of the new PAP candidates are from the public sector and frankly that’s just too many. The PAP cannot just say “it found it hard to recruit talent from the private sector,” it need to give a good reason why that is the case!
It also need to do it fast before this becomes an election issue. Because if it becomes an election issue, their high salaries will then also become an election issue and it’s hard to see how the PAP will win that argument.