Singapore – The Progress Singapore Party held a press conference on Monday (June 29) to introduce its manifesto.

The manifesto stated that one of the party’s goals in the political realm was to peg ministerial salaries to the median income of Singapore.

Ministerial salaries have been a major issue in Singapore for many years but the high salaries have always been justified as a way to curb corruption in the government.

The party was asked if there would be any drawback if it were to significantly decrease ministerial salaries and make them equal to the median income of the nation.

PSP Central Executive Committee member Michael Chua responded that perhaps the only group that would suffer any drawbacks if this move were to be implemented would be the ministers. He added, however, that by pegging ministerial salaries to median income, there would be a “tremendous incentive” for those in power to work harder.

In her introduction, Vice-Chairman Hazel Poa said that the plan was to ensure that everyone in the nation would “move together” for the better of the nation. She added later that “if our ministers are going to be corrupt because we are going to cut their salaries, they are in the wrong post”.

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PSP member Taufik Supan, agreeing with his party colleagues, said that those interested in becoming the leaders of the nation should question if they were in it to “serve the people or for personal gain”. If they were in it for personal gain, then their hearts “were not at the right place”.

Like Mr Chua, Mr Supan argued that the initiative would encourage ministers to work harder because if they wished to increase their own wages, they would need to formulate policies that would bolster the wages of the people first, thereby increasing the median income of the nation. This would, according to the plan, naturally translate into higher incomes for the ministers themselves.

This initiative to peg ministerial incomes was in line with the PSP’s approach on the economy, which aimed to prioritise an increase real wages rather than GDP growth. This was, however, not to be confused with focusing on economic shrinkage, according to the party. It was simply to focus on strategies that would increase wages first, which would allow Singaporeans to have greater purchasing power to contribute to the economy and so on.

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The party emphasised that these initiatives were in line with its belief that the people should come first. /TISG