After three days of debate, the ministerial salary issue has been voted on within the house and it is more or less considered resolved at this juncture despite the opposing votes from the opposition. As many have said during the debate, the recommendations have been accepted by the government and it is indeed a positive move in the right direction. Yes, there is still much room for improvement such as the issue of how many months bonus the ministers should be entitled to but that is a debate for another day. The following are some highlights from the three day session of parliament that are worthy of attention:
On January 15th 2012, a group of well wishers and concerned citizens gathered at Hong Lim Park to rally for clemency for the death row inmate Yong Vui Kong. Under this grim auspice, NGOs We believe in second chances and Singapore Anti Death Penalty, took a moment to celebrate life by also holding what could be Yong’s final birthday celebration. The following is a short photo essay of what transpired on that Sunday afternoon.
Bukit Brown cemetery is one of the last remaining green corridors of the nation. It is also a national heritage site that several national pioneers call their final resting place. Part of the location has been earmarked by the government to become a highway to help ease a traffic crunch that the government forsees happening on the Lornie Road area.
Amidst the entire hullabaloo about the ministerial pay issue, there seems to be a few other things that are getting overlooked. Indeed one item that no one seems to be questioning is the logic behind the government’s claim that it needs to have the high salary figures to attract political talent from the private sector.
On Wednesday, the Ministerial Salary Review, headed by Gerard Ee, unveiled its recommendations to the government with a new pay formula for all office holders. Amongst the new measures the committee suggested are: reducing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's annual salary by 28% from its 2010 level to S$2.2 million dollars (US$1.7 million). President Tony Tan, who primarily holds a ceremonial position, may see his annual salary slashed by 51% to S$1.5 million.