This article was published in The Straits Times on August 15, 2018.
By Viswa Sadasivan
I am deeply pained by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong's recent remark that we "are going to end up with very, very mediocre people who can't even earn a million dollars outside to be our minister" (Beware casual snobbery that shows contempt for ordinary folk; Aug 12).
In one stroke, the remark unceremoniously ruled out the ability of more than 90 per cent of us, and entrenches an unproven correlation between one's earning capacity and the potential to be a national leader.
Many Singaporeans agree with the principle that ministers and political office-holders should be paid well enough, even though we may disagree with what is "enough". The central argument is that it is fair payment for their responsibility and sacrifice, and that it prevents corruption.