Singaporeans slam doctor who justified high ministerial salaries as just $10 per resident

Singaporeans have excoriated a forum letter writer who justified high ministerial salaries by making the point that the Singapore Cabinet’s salaries only cost each resident $10 a year. Published in The Straits Times, the forum letter is written by a Dr Yik Keng Yeong, who argues that current ministerial salaries are not excessive. The doctor wrote:

“If it all comes down to just numbers. Singaporeans fork out about $50 million to $60 million per annum in taxes, or about $10 per resident a year to pay our Cabinet.

“To put this into perspective, one premier-grade durian, eaten within minutes, costs more than $50. So, is this a pittance or an extravagance?”

The doctor further asked, “Emotive issues normally cannot be settled by rational arguments, but should Singaporeans sacrifice what we have in exchange for a new set of low-paid leaders, with the attendant risk of an untried government that may run up multi billion-dollar national debts through populist policies or sheer inefficiency?”

Singaporeans responding to the letter have heaped harsh criticism upon the doctor for his views. Some criticised the Doctor’s durian argument and asserted that many families share expensive premier-grade durians instead of eating it themselves:

Others said that Dr Yik’s rationalisation is unfair since some residents – like children and the elderly – do not earn an income:

Still others found Dr Yik’s argument to be faulty since going by his logic, Chinese President Xi Jinping should earn an annual salary of S$1.3billion if he is paid S$10 per resident:

Some netizens brought up what is perhaps the most important point in many Singaporeans’ hearts – that good leaders should prioritise their service to the people and put their voters ahead of salaries:

Ministerial salaries cost only $10 per resident, says doctor

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