According to state media Straits Times, 4 of the PAP ministers are from the same cohort in a school reserved for the rich and affluent. Minister Edwin Tong, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin, Minister Chan Chun Sing and Minister Ong Ye Kung were all schoolmates from the 1986-1987 cohort in Raffles Junior College.
Through legalised corruption in the single party-controlled Parliament, each Minister is paid S$1.1 million a year in tax-funded salaries except for the Speaker who is paid half the amount at S$500,000 a year.
Responding to media queries, PAP MP Edwin Tong, who is newly promoted to Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance, dismissed widespread criticisms that being from the same elitist background does not means they advocate the same stance:
“The RJC connection is a coincidence and not necessarily a reason for groupthink. After JC, we all went on different paths. I didn’t see Chun Sing for years until 2011, I did not know Ye Kung then, and while Chuan-Jin and I were classmates, we only kept in touch occasionally. Our different career trajectories – Mr Chan and Mr Tan joined the Singapore Armed Forces, while Mr Ong joined the civil service before going into the private sector after his 2011 electoral loss – have had a greater impact in shaping the way they think today. I look at my own quarter of a century in the private sector, and I hope to complement what my colleagues already have.”
None of the newly-appointed Cabinet Ministers is from a neighbourhood school background, and all of them are either uniformed cronies or have family members who were formerly from the PAP. It is also common to see PAP MPs and Ministers rallying together behind any government policy, which see PAP MPs echoing each other in unison during Parliament debates.
The new Cabinet will still be dictated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who also controls puppet president Halimah Yacob. In the past two decades, Singapore’s elitist leadership have resulted in out-of-touch policies which exacerbated income inequality and a falling standard of living for residents.