During a public hearing on the recent phone hacking scandal involving his tabloid newspaper the News of the World, media mogul Rupert Murdoch told British members of parliament that the Singapore model of paying high salaries to politicians should be emulated to curb corruption:
I think there is an answer to it, and we ought to look at them as open and clear as a society in the world, which is Singapore — where every minister gets at least a million dollars a year and the prime minister a lot more and there is no temptation and it is as clean a society as you find anywhere.
For comparison, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron has an annual salary of S$279,000 while Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong receives S$3.87 million every year.
But Murdoch should be reminded that the Singapore salary system he praised is now under review after it became a main election topic a few months ago. In fact, reforms are being demanded by the people, especially those coming from the private sector, who describe the high salaries of elected public officials as unjust, inefficient and unreasonable.
When The Online Citizen posted Murdoch’s statement on Facebook, it quickly generated a lot of response:
Gregg Chen: what a joke from the phone hacker
Janson Choo: To be fair our ministers are definitely non corrupt. But some are probably are incompetent.
Lawrence Pek U: have to ask if the Murdochs knows that the PAP (ruling party) has lost so many votes for Ministerial Salaries? That there is an on going Review? That all people in Singapore is against it? :-)
Anne KoArt: Is Rupert Murdoch insinuating legalised corruption? :O
Ooi Kim Soon: It's a irony.He has no chance of hacking here because all are controlled by the puppies.
Jon Zephanius: I think after this he will start trying to find Singaporean citizenship…
Salihin Nihilas: Not surprisingly, Murdoch and all the other rich douches love Singapore cos the Government backs them. No strikes, no independent unions. Easier for them to press wages.
Wil Wilkins: Ironically if Murdoch came to Singapore he would have been banned under the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act.
My Singapore News, however, agrees with Murdoch:
Singapore has the cleanest and least corrupt govt in the world, by paying them not to be corrupt. We should share our world best formula with the British and the West, plus the ingenious arguments. They will be very thankful that they could finally learn something from the East. We are the pathfinders for a govt that is not corrupt, with a pay that is so good that makes corruption obsolete.
The British and the Americans would surely love the formula.
More comments from The Online Citizen website; Americano supports Murdoch’s argument:
Now this is coming from one of the world’s most successful businessmen, not from our ministers. There is justification to this. Developed world(think of UK ministers fudging their personal expenses) and undeveloped world (think of politicians in Africa siphoning the countries resources) alike, nowhere are politicians as clean as in Singapore. The ministers are not perfect, but are fully deserving of the salaries they earn, given the good job they have done in improving the citizens lives and making Singapore one of the most business friendly countries in the world. Even the Scandinavian countries (which have among the least corruption in the developed world) should learn from Singapore.
Jonathan Wang thinks that Murdoch was wrong to cite Singapore:
Rupert Murdoch is not doing any favor to Singapore by citing the astronomical pay our ministers received. By the same token, he is saying that if you pay top dollars, you can prevent corruption.
I do believe the ruling party is trying very hard to close this chapter by appointing a committee to look into the pay formulary for ministers introduced in the nineties.
The guy is immersed in a battle for his group’s survival and trying to fend off the stigma that his organization was corrupt-prone. But it still doesn’t sense.
Some Twitter reactions:
@marvelgal: Rupert Murdoch said it's good that Singapore ministers are paid millions to avoid corruption. Yeah sure, his words are credible right now.