Daily Archives: May 5, 2012

Matthew Koh on Politics and the Ideals of Civil Service

I am of the view that people who are talented in making money, should be in the Private Sector rather than in the Civil Service or even MPs or Ministers. There is a tendency that a top scholar will want to prove him or herself by making money for the government while in the capacity as a top civil servant in a ministry. we know that the only way a government can make money is to increase taxes like income tax, property tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and etc. This will contribute to inflation and rising cost of living. The Civil Service should instead be filled by people with a heart to serve the people rather than looking for high salary and monetary rewards. They should value the ideals of Civil Service. High salaries should not be the lure for them to enter Civil Service or even hold Political Office.
The word “Minister” actually means “Servant” or “one who serves”.  So, a Minister should actually be a humble servant to the people; the people are the actual masters. “Power to the People”, John Lennon and JB Jeyaretnam. Ask yourselves, is this the case in Singapore ever since Independence?  The Singapore Government is actually modelled after a Business Organisation as explained by the PAP many years ago. PM Lee HL explained that the PM is like a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of a Company (MNC). He is thus paid like one. Before that, MM Lee KY while being PM in the 1970s and 80s explained that he is like the goalkeeper in a soccer team (Government). Is running a country really like running a business or playing a soccer match? I know all analogies are defective in some ways but to come out of the mouths of  Prime Ministers?
My idea is that the Leaders are here to serve and not to be served.  If they don’t have a “servant-heart” then it is about time they change and become “servant-like” to the people; as they are providing a service to the people.  People who want to earn alot of money should be in the private sector where they can become real CEOs and earn a huge income, then pay taxes to the government to solve the government’s financial woes.
If the Worker’s Party for example do not provide a good service to the people with a “servant-heart” or start becoming a “PAP Clone Party”, then they will lose support from the present 45% of Opposition voters. If the Opposition Parties who are elected fail to deliver, they will surely be voted out at the next elections. The People hold the power through their votes. SM Goh CT while on walkabouts in the 1990s ever chided a lady, “Never threaten me with your votes!” See what happened at the GE2011?  We have a rich government but poor Singaporeans as the bulk of the Singaporean’s savings is kept in CPF (central Provident Fund) accounts controlled by the government.  The government uses the CPF funds in various investments through the GIC (Government Investment Corporation) and GLC (Government Link Companies) like Temasek Holdings. Only between about S$200 to S$400 is given out in average every month to a Retiree.  That’s why there is no real retirement in Singapore and the old have to work till they die as the CPF monthly withdrawals are not enough to pay the bills, food and medical care; medical care can come up to about S$2,000 a month.  It is reported recently in the newspapers that “Eldershield” is considered inadequate to cover for medical costs being up to afew thousand dollars a month for the old and sick.
So, this is a wake-up call for all the die-hard PAP voters.  Perhaps, it is time to vote for the Opposition instead, so that there can be proper debates to create laws in parliament.  Vote for the Reform Party! Vote Opposition this GE2016.
Matthew Koh
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