In an interview with state media CNA, Minister of State Chan Chun Sing defended his million dollar ministerial salary saying that he still understands the common people and that such criticisms are baseless attacks from “unhappy people” who think they have been ignored:
“I don’t think that is necessarily a valid criticism for all politicians. I can speak for many of my colleagues, whether they are ministers or MPs. I think they work very hard to try to understand the different fears, concerns and aspirations of our people… The fact that sometimes when we make policies that do not make everybody happy because there are trade-offs, there is give and take within different groups of society, doesn’t mean that particular person has not been listened to; but it is also part of the leadership’s responsibilities to find a balance across the diversity of perspectives that you hear.”
The current PAP administration cost S$53 million a year, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong leading the pack at S$2.2 million a year – the most expensive politician in the world.
Minister Chan Chun Sing also said that army generals like himself have “very diversified experience” and even Singaporeans from the private sector don’t make good Ministers:
“I don’t think we don’t diversify. I think actually in every stage of our development we try to bring in people from as diverse a background as possible. It is not always possible… If you talk to people in the private sector, it’s a different lifestyle, it’s a different upbringing, there will be challenges, and it is sometimes also structural.”
The former Chief of Army also added that army generals integrate into government easily unlike those from the private sector:
“There is an observation that many people from the civil service and military can cross over into public service in terms of political service because many of them, like me, would see it as a continuation of public service. That crossover is actually a bit easier…
By the time you reach the late 40s and early 50s, and you have been a very successful private sector personnel, it is also not often easy for people to just cross over to the public service sector because you would have a certain lifestyle, a certain social circle of friends, and so forth. So it’s not so easy. The way of working may need to be adjusted, and there will be some challenges.”