Ong Ye Kung claims charging for parking at schools is about “self-discipline” – after allegedly disregarding parking rules himself

4230
 

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said this week that imposing parking fees on teachers is about the Government’s “system of internal self-discipline”. His remarks come two months after news broke that teachers at all primary schools, secondary schools and junior colleges will have to start paying hundreds of dollars for parking at school premises from 1 Aug this year.

The school carpark policy review came after over a year of speculation that arose after the Auditor-General Office’s (AGO) flagged the Institute of Technical Education and two polytechnics last year for not imposing parking charges, or charging below market rate, for use of their car parks. The carpark policy review was subsequently initiated as part of a “clean wage policy” that is meant to make any hidden perks and subsidies for teachers transparent.

The initiative has received widespread criticism from those who work in the education sector and members of the public alike. Last week, Marine Parade GRC Member of Parliament Seah Kian Peng joined these voices during his speech in Parliament during the debate on the President’s Address, which quickly went viral.

Asserting that it is “laughable and an insult” to teachers to use the clean wage policy argument to justify parking charges at all schools, Seah called on the Government to move away from using economic reasoning in policymaking.

Responding to Seah’s argument, Ong said that while he agrees that the Government should not only see things from an economic perspective, he felt that imposing parking charges at schools is part of the Government’s checks and balances. In a lengthy Facebook post, the Minister argued:

“…we have to respect our internal system of checks and balances. We cannot pick and choose which finding to address or comply with – we take them all seriously. This is about upholding the value of self-discipline.
“Furthermore, the whole public service subscribes to the discipline of having a clean wage, so every public officer knows that his salary is all he gets – there are no hidden benefits. This is one of our core practices to ensure a clean government.”

It is interesting that Ong is making the argument that imposing parking charges for teachers is about “self-discipline” – especially considering that he faced widespread flak less than two years ago for parking in a reserved parking lot that was set aside for emergency vehicles at the National Library.

Facebook user Chong Sun snapped a photo of Ong’s car occupying a lot meant for emergency vehicles in September 2016 and asked, “Mr Ong Ye Kung – parked his car in the Fire Engine Access…!!!??? Please explain why our Minister are so Big Shot that they can forget about the safety access of the building..?”

The National Library was quick to jump to Ong’s defense. It claimed,“there are a total of 3 car park lots designated for invited guests. As can be seen from the photo, two of the lots were available for use by emergency vehicles, if necessary.” 

A letter writer to The Independent noted: “What NLB did not say was, why the Minister cannot be dropped off at a convenient spot by his bodyguard/driver and be picked up later when the event is over.”

This is not the first time Ministers and political figures have been caught parking indiscriminately. A few months after Ong drew criticism for parking his car in the reserved lot, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu also faced similar backlash after she was caught parking her car illegally in a spot reserved for season parking holders at a busy carpark.

A year after that incident, just last December, vehicles belonging to President Halimah Yacob’s convoy were flagged for waiting along double yellow lines at Prinsep Street. An LTA enforcement officer was photographed at the scene appearing to investigate a car belonging to the convoy for flouting parking rules.

According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA), parking on unbroken double yellow lines is an “illegal parking offence” and offenders can be fined between $70 to $150 depending on the type of vehicle they drove.

Despite this rule, the LTA and the Singapore Police Force later revealed in a joint press statement that no summons were issued for vehicles belonging to President Halimah Yacob’s convoy.

President Halimah’s convoy did not receive summons for flouting traffic rules: LTA

In light of these incidents, netizens responding to Ong Ye Kung’s justification that charging teachers for parking is about “self-discipline” have expressed that there might be a “double standard” between rules that are imposed for political figures vs ordinary Singaporeans:

Ong remains one of the three Ministers hotly tipped to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as Singapore’s fourth head of government, along with Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.

100 COMMENTS

  1. “Furthermore, the whole public service subscribes to the discipline of having a clean wage, so every public officer knows that his salary is all he gets – there are no hidden benefits. This is one of our core practices to ensure a clean government.”…OYK

    So…in line with this clean wage policy, would the Minister object to an audit being done by AGO on Senior public servants and Ministers with regards to hidden benefits and make known the findings of this audit publicly?

  2. Ong Ye Kung, going by his past achievements and lifestyle seems to be an OK guy, and probably would be so l, had he joined the opposition.

    Joining the PAP is his greatest failure in life, unless he intends to hide under the banner, until such time, he will surface as the real activist of the people, to resurrect PAP and rid the rubbishes (PAP policies) and trashes (paper generals and yes sir idiots) of PAP.
    It is beyond imagination for him to utter such an opinion, knowing full well it is nonsensical.

    Is he a people’s mole in PAP hibernating to strike PAP at the right time? If he is not, he should be.

  3. Ong Ye Kung, going by his past achievements and lifestyle seems to be an OK guy, and probably would be so l, had he joined the opposition.

    Joining the PAP is his greatest failure in life, unless he intends to hide under the banner, until such time, he will surface as the real activist of the people, to resurrect PAP and rid the rubbishes (PAP policies) and trashes (paper generals and yes sir idiots) of PAP.
    It is beyond imagination for him to utter such an opinion, knowing full well it is nonsensical.

    Is he a people’s mole in PAP hibernating to strike PAP at the right time? If he is not, he should be.

    • His brand of self discipline is, that the teachers and the general populace must submit to his master’s demand for $$$$$$$$$$$ when he dictate so !
      Oops was he the one that say people that needed help from the gov. have no dignity???
      Ah kung limpeh tell you !, joining the white termite gang is dishonorable and you have betrayed your father !!! Nahbeh!

  4. Self discipline. ..my foot. Ask yourself when you are minster now…did you pay parking charges at your ministry…? Did you pay parking charges when you attend functions…where ever you go for function..
    .they will reserve a parking lot for you..on top of that ..uniform policemen will also keep an on your car…free parking for you and security services. ..self discipline my foot..pay parking charges as well…then take about self discipline. .if not…ye kung. .you better discipline yourself first.

  5. Self discipline. ..my foot. Ask yourself when you are minster now…did you pay parking charges at your ministry…? Did you pay parking charges when you attend functions…where ever you go for function..
    .they will reserve a parking lot for you..on top of that ..uniform policemen will also keep an on your car…free parking for you and security services. ..self discipline my foot..pay parking charges as well…then take about self discipline. .if not…ye kung. .you better discipline yourself first.

  6. “Self Discipline” need to start from All the ministers to speak with honesty and be tranparent of what they are doing for Singaporean.Lòok at youreslf and search your soul are you working for your high salary?I only can see 1 or 2 that is working from then heart.

  7. “Self Discipline” need to start from All the ministers to speak with honesty and be tranparent of what they are doing for Singaporean.Lòok at youreslf and search your soul are you working for your high salary?I only can see 1 or 2 that is working from then heart.

  8. So u have to pay higher salary to all teachers if not how they going to pay parking fee in the school, is it nothing to improve? U all many to do for us we erected u to run the country no come after us for $$$$$ I still like old PAP alway Singaporean first

  9. self disciplined- then i think most ministers and PAP MPs should have more disciplined than most. if you cannot be self dispiplined. let me reminds your guys that your status now and your salary are from the taxpayers and you should be thankful, or else your status will be taken away from the voters or taxpayers.

  10. All Ministers and Government employees should pay for the parking fees too, why only teachers? In fact teachers spend more personal time for the students due to their passion compared to other Government employees, they should deserve more respect and benefits….

  11. When ministers n MP visited their constituency for weekly meetup, why they park free? When they report to work to their ministries- there have a reserved lot for them , again free. Most Super scale personnel park free in their office but yet drawing Super high salaries plus 6-12 months bonuses. Yet lower level had to make to pay the lots . Is it fair? Teachers are valuable to country cos our next leaders and entrepreneurs depend on them. If they were to make to pay- Teachers would rather go home instead of giving extra lesson .

  12. May god bless Singapore when one of this general become the next PM of Singapore. They have double standard and still got the big ass mouth to said is “self discipline “. Wonder what the school and army had thought them. Highly educated some more. Singapore is DOOM.

  13. Francis Ling Not all who go IMH are crazy and run amok with a chopper. I suggest you go pay a visit and see for yourself. Many go there for different issues such as anger management and OCD etc. There are others who go there out of convenience. There are a few clinics catering to different needs. There is even a TCM. You just over generalized and insulted the patients there. Can’t blame you cos we were brought up linking IMH to mad people.

  14. Other than the Presidential Election, the increases on GST, parking, water, electricity, S&C and unconvincing remarks when world oil prices drops, they increase petrol tax instead ….now this Charging parking for teachers will be another PAP nemesis in the next GE.