After weeks of criticisms over the government’s mercenary move to charge school teachers for parking in school compounds, PAP Minister Grace Fu wrote to state media Straits Times saying that the ruling party MPs pay for parking too.
Minister Grace Fu however revealed that the Parliament deduct from her salaries to pay for parking in the Housing Board carparks, and she assumed that the same deduction covers for parking in Parliament:
“Elected MPs who drive pay for an annual permit that allows them to park in Housing Board carparks, in order to do their constituency work. This payment, which Parliament deducts from the MPs’ allowances, is deemed to cover the occasions when they park at Parliament House to fulfil their duties.”
The PAP Minister ended her letter with a haughty tone saying “no one is suggesting” teachers pay for parking costs incurred during official trips:
“Political office holders, like civil servants, also pay for parking at their ministries and agencies. This payment generally covers the occasions when they visit other ministries and agencies on official business; and if they have to pay for public or commercial carparks in the vicinity, they are reimbursed. Applying the same principle, teachers now pay to park at their primary places of duty. But no one is suggesting they pay again when they visit other schools to attend meetings.”
In recent weeks, the Ministry of Education has been lambasted for making teachers pay for parking in school compounds. The public also took issues with the Education Minister’s claim that getting free parking is “dirty wage”, and some called for teachers to start charging the government for personal expenses spent on students.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung claimed that the decades-long practice contravenes the “clean-wage policy” and blamed the Auditor-General Office (AGO) for picking this out. A fact check however revealed that the AGO did not pass any comment about charging teachers for parking in school compounds.