Thursday, March 8, 2012

$860,000.00 Joke Is on Us!

Imagine this conversation between a confused Singaporean and a Minister:

Citizen Lost: "Wow, Mr Minister, you all very lucky hor, walk here walk there, shake hands here, shake hands there, speak a few times in Parliament, make us wait long long for you as Guest of Honour in this RC Event, then you get million dollars salary every year. Shiok, huh?"

Minister: "Hey, don't anyhow say. Can or not? No lah, you think suka suka we can get million dollars salary, meh? It's not us who decide how much we get, you know. It's Mercer who helped Gerard and his Team decide our $million pay. Hello, we paid Mercer $860,000.00 for only small job done. How can you grudge us ministers for getting $million pay for full year's full time job? Hello, we also must come up with policies to help you poor lost citizens, you know. Aiyah, you think minister job easy meh? Like now I come to your RC Event, I late 45 minutes, you all also buay song (Hokkien for 'unhappy'). Hello, today is Sunday I also kena work and make appearance. Don't say I say, but because of Mercer's "technical expertise on human resource and remuneration issues" that I can get my current $million pay. So don't think I greedy ok? Don't blame PAP ok? I have to sacrifice a lot to be PAP minister, ok?" [Link]

The above imaginary conversation came from the tricky headline I read below:

"Ministerial pay review panel did work on a voluntary basis.
The committee that reviewed ministerial salaries last year did its work on a voluntary basis, and its eight members were not paid by the Government, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday.

But it paid about $860,000 in consultancy fees to Mercer Singapore, the human resources firm that assisted the committee with the review.


The company was engaged for its technical expertise on human resource and remuneration issues, said Mr Teo. It was selected from three companies that submitted bid proposals.

Mr Teo revealed this in a written reply to a parliamentary question from Workers' Party MP Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC)."
The above came from ST [Link].

Blimey! The headline read so charitable but the truth almost blinded me!

So which part of the Singapore Budget does this $860,000.00 comes from? The PM's Office? In fact, it does not matter. Ultimately, the money comes from us, the taxpayers.

With all the song and dance of how the budget should be spent, does one realise where the money is coming from?
  • The joke of spending $1.1 billion on PTO
  • The joke of granting $60,000 to those whose household income of 1,000 can buy a 2-room HDB flat
  • The joke of our extravagant Defence Budget where we have jet fighters sitting pretty in Arizona desert? and elsewhere
  • The joke of our stingy budget for the poor, the disabled and the needy old
  • The joke of our scholarship money of MOE going to PRC and other countries instead of our own children
  • The sick joke of CPF where rightful owners can never withdraw their hard earned cash savings unless they are sick, old (65 or above) or dead! Oh, they have to pay an additional admin (protection money) fee to use their CPF Medisave when they are sick!
The jokes go on and on and on. . . It is a shame that if not for noises from cowboy bloggers and opposition MPs, nobody will care to comment or question on the scheme of things. Things are so opaque and horrendous when we seriously think about it! Sadly, the election rhetoric of 'serving the people and not to lord over us' sounds so hollow as we slowly but steadily uncover the charade that's played before us.

If not for Pritam Singh of Workers' Party, we would not have been wise to this fact (joke) of $860,000.00! My sincere appreciation to him for this enlightenment that we need more opposition MPs for more transparency and truth in Singapore.

Talk is cheap. Whatever money they boast of, it comes from us, the citizens of Singapore. Through our Income Tax, GST, CPF, HDB mortgages, ERP, Maid and Foreign Workers' Levies and other ingenious ways of parting money from it citizens, the government, in its political way, put itself in the limelight as the good cop. Surprisingly, 60% of Singaporeans still buy into it!

Fair is fair. Much as I would like to bitch about this waste of good money ($860,000.00), it's worth noting that, at least, the amount spent after the review has helped to reduce the total expenditure of ministers' salary compared to the previous. However, if not for the greed and the wrong assumption that money buys everything, this disgraceful episode would not have come to pass.

With the culture of kiasu (fear of loss), kiasi (fear of death), kia bo lui (fear of no money) and kia chenghu (fear of government) so entrenched in Singaporeans for more that 40 years, it is difficult to change. However, there are some (and there will be more) who regardless of being rich or poor; powerful or not; regardless of the colour of their skin; regardless of their religious or non-religious belief will (through the votes, blogs, emails, coffeeshop conversations and other means) change the status quo for the better.

The elite government has to change its apathy for empathy.
If not the people will change the government.
That is for sure!

video

feedmetothefish


25 Comments:

At March 8, 2012 at 1:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot about the joke that we will tear down the budget terminal only built 6 yrs ago at $25m in order to build a bigger one. Now is that our money well spent and their long term planning well envisioned?

So is it 860 or 840k?

 
At March 8, 2012 at 1:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

can sense your growing anger..... my anger boiling over too.

 
At March 8, 2012 at 1:49 AM , Blogger FeedMeToTheFish said...

Dear Anonymous of March 8, 2012 1:18 AM,

Thanks for your head up on my mistake. I have updated with correction and addition.

Cheers,
fmttf

 
At March 8, 2012 at 7:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would really like to know HOW Mercer actually contributed to the review. Were the IRAS data insufficient or inadequate for the purpose of the review? If yes, how did Mercer complemented the IRAS data? What else did Mercer bring to the table? How were these Mercer data/info reflected in the final recommendation?

 
At March 8, 2012 at 8:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Power concedes nothing without a demand.
It never did and it never will.

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to;
and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; And these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both.

The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Frederick Douglass
1818-1895

http://thinkexist.com/quotation/power-concedes-nothing-without-a-demand-it-never/1273306.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass

 
At March 8, 2012 at 8:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If not for Pritam Singh of Workers' Party, we would not have been wise to this fact (joke) of $860,000.00!"

Pritam Singh can ask whatever he wants in parliament.
He cannot be sued.
Parliamentary privileges.

Unlike bloggers.

So please be careful out there.

Use your energy to convert one PAP voter to vote Opposition in GE 2016.
Then we will have more Opposition MPs to ask questions in parliament.

And we won't have to risk being sued for doing our patriotic duty, defending Singaporeans against anti-people policies.

 
At March 8, 2012 at 9:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phew! At least Mercer did not "rename Marina Bay...Marina Bay"...a small cut is better than none

 
At March 8, 2012 at 10:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Singapore very unique ? If opp party never ask the question , the Pappies will not even reveal that (stop kidding us that this accountability of large amount of money is not important to us), and it only happens when it is questioned in parliament.

Please, please , vote more opp party into parliament.

These pappies really behaving like a Freaking bunch of incorrigble kangaroos that getting on our nerves.

 
At March 8, 2012 at 10:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why didn't Ah Loong say that this is been outsourced to Mercer before the parliament debate on minister salary ?

And all along we thought that Gerard and his committee are doing the work when they actually doing nothing really useful other than outsourcing to mercer at astonishing cost of $860,000 ?

 
At March 8, 2012 at 10:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who was on the Mercer committee who did the study?

Were they Singaporeans?

 
At March 8, 2012 at 11:54 AM , Anonymous Alan Wong said...

Supposing if Mercer has employed foreign consultants to advise the committee, then what does it say about our PAP govt's policy of not allowing foreigners to interfere in our local politics ?

Would that falls back to be a lie afterall ?

 
At March 8, 2012 at 12:44 PM , Anonymous Amused said...

The Mercer report will be a good read (hint! hint!)

I would like to see what parameters/constraints the government gave them? Salary as compared to the private sector or OTHER DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS.

I would also like to see the benchmark that they used.

Finally, I REALLY want to see their recommendation as compared to the final implementation.

P.s. It is always a problem if I pay you to tell me how much I should make. In addition, I get to choose who to do the research and what parameters to use. US rating agencies had serious trouble rating bonds and mortgages (e.g. AAA or lose future business.) US CEOs are getting higher compensation year after year because they choose their "consultants."

 
At March 8, 2012 at 12:50 PM , Blogger Gintai_昇泰 said...

Datuk Fish,
You also forgotten about the YOG joke where it overshot by 3 times from $100 million to $384 million. Pls add this biggest joke of the children's games!
Someone said "When the change outside exceeds the change within the end is end". Pls refer to my blog "Symptoms of decay and rotting at its core" at gintai.wordpress.con
Hope those idiots will get their retribution for locking the people's sweat, tears and blood money accumulated thru their whole life time! It's the evil deeds that will come back to haunt them come 2016! More and more ppl are realizing this evil scheme of theirs to use laws to deprive our own life savings!

 
At March 8, 2012 at 6:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very curious who is working behind Mercer? Will this be some kind of left hand pocket money going back to the right pocket of those involved in the committees (or related family business) in the salary review to make it look like independent or volunteering work? Yet, the money of $860K just thrown in. Or it may be transferred into some kind of accounts where such sum is distributed back to the ministers who suffered pay-cut?

I don't see any transparency in how $860K was spend.

 
At March 8, 2012 at 6:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

another joke naming marina bay after marina bay by spending millions. easy ah gong seoh(people's money) shortie can vouch for that.

 
At March 8, 2012 at 8:23 PM , Blogger Gintai_昇泰 said...

Short asrse is happily enjoying his pension and retirement after Sinkies paid him millions in salary! He's laughing all the way reading this now! KNN! Langgar!

 
At March 8, 2012 at 8:42 PM , Blogger Gintai_昇泰 said...

Correction ..... "doing our patriotic duty, defending Singaporean against anti citizens' policies !"

 
At March 8, 2012 at 10:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many SINGAPOREANS MUST BE SHELL-SHOCKED WHEN THE NEWS BROKE out THAT THE GOVT IS TO PUMP
S$ 1 000 000 000 INTO THE PTO GLC UNDER TEMASEK HLDS.

Arent billions of CPF monies regularly transferred to MOF are often used to snap up bonds issued by these GLCs already?
PlS Correct me if am wrong.

Now even $1B worth of budget money also going into PTO under Temasek Holdings.

PTO bought alot new buses and taxies abroad but no money to buy buses to ease SG crunch is simply untenable. They are not broke.

Yesterday the MP for Pioneer is talking about new fare formula for next year provided they improve their services and this year should have no fare hike.

One wonder if they are already hinting one billion dollar is injected to suspend fare hike only for a year with all these talk about farehike suspension for this year..

It is so disapponting that not many 80 plus PAP MPs are raising this issue especially those formal dpm/ministers the more experienced one should speak up.

What are their stand on this issue?

S$1,000,000,000-00 to buy buses for PTO, 1st April issit ?

 
At March 8, 2012 at 11:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it really odd that the committee consulted Mercer when Mercer has no relevant experience of advising any other government in ministerial pay. They don't know more than what we already know about ministerial pay in the public domain whether locally or internationally. S$860,000 for such irrelevant expertise is a bloody waste of tax payers' money. The ends here do not justify the means. We really have to get rid of the PAP!

 
At March 9, 2012 at 12:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes one really face palm when you see MP needing to obtain info as public as this as huge a sum as $860,000/-, in the parliament.

Why arent these statistics/ figures made readily available on the net?

Parliament is meant for debating, exacting accountability not giving info as basic as how many citzenship denunciation are not local!

 
At March 9, 2012 at 8:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

QUESTION:
Why arent these statistics/ figures made readily available on the net?
@ ANON March 9, 2012 12:17 AM

ANSWER:
Because we have not voted enough Opposition MPs into Parliament to help us ask questions and monitor how the country is being run.

 
At March 9, 2012 at 10:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why there is so much expression of shock over this announcement. This is nothing out of the ordinary.

Just ask yourself how much people like HC and company are paid in the GLCs. There are bus loads of them there. anyway it's not their money, so they don't give a fuck. it's called enriching themselves

 
At March 9, 2012 at 11:47 AM , Anonymous Eric Howdy said...

You spent almost a million dollars on this and kept it concealed for months. What was it you were trying to hide? That Gerald Ee and company didn’t do any work and simply depended on Mercer to do all the dirty work, then claim credit at the end?

PAP, you have failed miserably. In letting an opposition MP dig this info out of you in parliament you have shown how deceitful and untrustworthy you are. At the same time this episode has shown us the public how useful and essential it is to have more opposition MPs in parliament. Thank you.

 
At March 10, 2012 at 2:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question is why are we (tax payers) giving $1.1 billion dollars to private, profitable bus companies?

Why can't the bus companies raise the money themselves?
a. rights issues of more shares
b. reduce dividend payouts
c. issue new corporate bonds
d. borrow the money from the banks

Alternatively ask Gerard Ee to convene a committee of inquiry to explore alternatives.

 
At March 10, 2012 at 11:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Alternatively ask Gerard Ee to convene a committee of inquiry to explore alternatives."

Ask these useless clowns to inquiry ? Wow, they will outsource the investigation to Mercer for another million dollars. And sure enough the investigation result is exactly what PAP want to hear anyway... No more million dollar wayang. Vote those clowns out in next election

 

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