Apr 13, 2007

Are Top Global Companies Really Dying to Hire Our Ministers?

Today we examine another aspect of the official rationale behind the ministers' exorbitant salary increase. This rationale can be expressed as follows:
"Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the pay of cabinet ministers has fallen behind top private-sector earners in Singapore and called for the gap to be closed to keep talent in the government ... Talented Singaporeans are being head-hunted by top global companies as well as by other governments eager to replicate Singapore's success story, Lee said. - Link.

No doubt some civil servants are in high demand by the private sector. Then again, Singaporeans are not complaining about salary increases for civil servants in general. Singaporeans are complaining about salary increases for the PAP ministers.

And these PAP ministers - would "top global companies" really want to hire them?

To investigate this question, all we have to do is draw up a list of ex-PAP ministers, and find out where they went and what they did, after they left politics. If top global companies were really so eager to hire them, we should expect to find ex-PAP ministers working in top corporations such as BP, Shell, Microsoft, Citigroup, British Airways or other
Fortune Global 500 companies.


I did some quick googling, and this is what I managed to find:

    Dr Tony Tan is currently with GIC and Singapore Press Holdings.

    Dr Yeo Ning Hong is on the Board of Directors of Singapore Press Holdings.

    S Dhanabalan is the Chairman of Temasek Holdings.

    Richard Hu is Chairman of Capitaland.

    Yeo Cheow Tong joined Lippo, an Indonesian company.

    David Lim joined NOL for a few years, before quitting. (He seems to be unemployed right now - if anyone knows otherwise, please let me know).

    Dr Seet Ai Mee is with Courts (Singapore) Limited as a non-executive director.

    After retiring from politics, Lim Kim San worked in PSA and Singapore Press Holdings. He passed away last year.

What can we conclude? After leaving politics, our ex-PAP ministers tend to end up, quite predictably, with Singapore's government-linked companies (GLCs). A few, like Yeo Cheow Tong and Dr Seet Ai Mee, end up with non-GLC companies that are definitely not "top global companies".

I could not find a single PAP minister who, after quitting politics, was hired by any remotely "top" or "global" company that wasn't in Mrs Lee Hsien Loong's collection.

83 comments:

Mr Wang Says So said...

Please refrain from making any defamatory remarks about any individual ministers. That will save me the trouble of deleting the remarks. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

No they are not hiring. But too bad, the dirty deed is done. Case close. Sigh. I empathise with insanepoly -

http://www.insanepoly.com/blog/?p=325

Anonymous said...

Haha

www.yeocheowtong.com

Suertes said...

In Japan, amakudari is the practice of retiring from high government office and joining a large corporation. The term literally means "descent from heaven." The original use of the term described the descent of the Shinto gods from heaven to earth. Here, "heaven" refers to the government. (wikipedia.org)

Champagne said...

I think a more pertinent might be "Are top companies dying to hire our ministers-to-be?"

i.e. Ministers to be (supposedly those who are "talents") are being desperately sought after by companies (and hence not join public service or as ministers)?!

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,
the gov is really shameful to say thing that can not be backed by evidence but by what they think they deserved. It obviously that lack of credibility in PAP that can speak but cannot show in action.

Mr Wang, let me ask you. If gov can do this in public speech without evidence, how well can they do this in use of our public fund money without transparency and accountability ?

It just like a few clowns saying that they worth million except that these clowns work in their own father-mother rich company.

Anonymous said...

The government's so called "benchmarking" seemed so meaningless as a measure of talent that I am surprise that commentary have focused on the magnitude of pay but nothing about the performance of individual ministers. Why is this so?

I have not seen any blog with some kind of matrix of ministerial performance against a bank of attributes.

Somehow all these talk about the "talentness" or non of these minister seemed to be in the abstract. Stangely, I have not seen the minister themselves giving a CV of their own achievements and thereby justifying their pay. How come? Are they so shy?

Also in many other countries, ex-ministers write books about their experience in government. At least, when they become millionaires from selling their own books, we can say the money the get is truely due to their own talent. Yet, this has not happen. Why?

I mean if they can't write, which would be shocking thing, they could get a ghost writer to do it. Hey even a less than educated persons, like footballers and super models can produce their own autobiograhy. Why can't these "talented" minister do so?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

Have you tried asking your company if they are dying to hire these top talents?

According to, lets just say, the "CEO" of Singapore Inc:

"If Singapore Inc were a listed company, what would its market cap be? Think about it. My GDP, which is profit earned in a year, is S$210 billion. The price earning ratio on SGX - average is now 20....I calculated if Singapore Inc went IPO, it is a 4-trillion-dollar company......."

Now as an investment banker, I am sure your company must be salivating at the prospect of people capable of generating profit of S$210 billion and spawning a 4-trillion-dollar company, right?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous of April 14, 2007 4:17 AM,

GDP is NOT profit earned in a year by any accounting standard.

To satisfy your illogical whim, Singapore Inc can never ever go IPO simply because it is sovereign. The mechanics are just too complex for your simple mind.

You can NEVER measure all human standards by monetary value alone. Ask your mother if it was any money that made her want to bring you up.

Lastly, on behalf of all other fellow Singaporeans, I forgive this inexplicable outburst of nonsense and stupidity from you.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous of April 14, 2007 5:10 AM

Anonymous of April 14, 2007 4:17 AM was being sacrastic.

Anyway, in case you did not know, the quote was taken from the words of the PM of a tiny country south of Malaysia -- don't want to name names to avoid defamation :-)

It goes to show what is in the mind of the highly paid and talented PM!

Anonymous said...

Checkout the Strait Times for the source of the quote....

"If Singapore Inc were a listed company, what would its market capitalisation be? Think about it... My GDP, which is the profit earned in a year by Singapore Inc, is $210 billion," said Mr Lee. " , ST, 12th April 2007

Anonymous said...

Of course. If they hire Singapore's ministers, the company will die paying the $$$million salaries and footing the $$$billion losses until they are bankrupt.

james said...

it has been mostly rhetoric n exaggeration.

Anonymous said...

""If Singapore Inc were a listed company, what would its market capitalisation be? Think about it... My GDP, which is the profit earned in a year by Singapore Inc, is $210 billion," said Mr Lee. "

This statement is ridiculous. It would be as ridiculous as George Bush claiming credit for the profits earned by Microsoft, Google, Halliburton, Coca-Cola, Citibank, JP Morgan, General Electric etc etc etc.

Or Shino Abe claiming credit for the profits earned by Sony, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Nomura, Toyota, Japan Airlines, Canon etc etc etc.

hugewhaleshark said...

From another angle, you'd have thought that there would be obvious examples of ministers who have been lured away from public office to join the private sector for more money, or in the case of the lawyers and doctors, return to their practices.

But... I can't think of any. Can anyone?

nec tamen criminosus said...

3 doctors are in the cabinet, Balaji, Ng Eng Hen, and Vivan Bala.

I believe they should be able to return to private practice if they quit now.

Anonymous said...

3 doctors are in the cabinet, Balaji, Ng Eng Hen, and Vivan Bala. I believe they should be able to return to private practice if they quit now.

From Hippocratic oath to the hypocrite oath. I wouldn't go near their practice even if they pay me!

Anonymous said...

Anecdotal evidence. That's all. From PM - it is ok. From other people - cannot.

Another anecdotal evidence - people under Public assistance is getting $2,000 of aid - so said Dr Vivian.

Mr Teo said that altho the MPs / bacjkbencers came out with a lot of good suggestions, they should not be too quick to change the pegging formula. Yeah - sure, take your time. No hurry. Enjoy the fruits of your labour first.

nec tamen criminosus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nec tamen criminosus said...

George Bush just declared his taxable income for 2006!
USD 642,905! Salary was USD 400,000, plus investment income of USD 242,905!.

What are our ministers' full taxable income I wonder?

Lau Min-tsek said...

Lippo group is actually a huge conglomerate with interest in just about everything. They also have interest in many countries including the US (where the Lippo campaign fund scandal broke).

YCT is an advisor/consultant/whatever with them. But that just makes 1 minister joining a large foreign company.

Lau Min-tsek said...

Of course, MM is special advisor to Citicorp...... but he's not retired yet.

Anonymous said...

Actually, could it be the case that joining PAP actually decreases the person's market value in the private sector, hence, the higher pay is to compensate for this implicit loss, or else PAP would have trouble hiring?

Anonymous said...

LOL. Ask yourself - how many ministers were employed by a top global Fortune 500 company, BEFORE they came ministers?

Approximately none, as far as I can recall.

These chaps - they are simply not in demand by top global companies. Doesn't matter whether it was BEFORE they became ministers, or DURING their time as ministers, or AFTER they have quit being ministers.

They're simply not in demand.

Ah, but then there's always Ho Ching and her stable of GLCs that can keep them employed.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to read in Asiaone that Bush earns much less than Cheney! I hope some MPs will ask for a breakdown of the income of the PM Lee and MM Lee family income. We cannot afford to be less transparent than USA. Personally I am interested to find out, Feb 2007, how much pension did PM Lee obtain on reaching 55. When he retired as BG - was / is he still concurrently paid a pension? MM Lee - as head of GIC - does he get a separate remuneration? What about advisor to Citicorp and other think tanks? And why is Ho Ching, (an engineer by training?) running our Temasek Holding? What is her salary as she is the PM's wife?
Did you guys read about the World Bank fiasco?

Anonymous said...

These PAP ministers have a budget for their ministries to SPEND. Some ministries (eg defence) do not create any profits at all. Which global company wants to hire "top talents" that have no records of creating profits. CEOs are hired because they have shown that they can turn companies around and become profitable. They have far better visions than the PAP ministers' helicopter visions.

Pkchukiss said...

Excellent expose on their illogical babblings! Mr Wang is tearing their stand down one by one!

Anonymous said...

Recently, we can really see how 'talented' they are:

- Vivian: How unfortunate people link these 2 issues?

- Teo Chee Hean: Public will come to understand importance of ministerial pay increase

Vivian 'act blur', while failing to fight for better welfare for the helpless while receiving huge pay hike. Aren't they from the same budget and tax payer's money?

And Teo Chee Hean: a bad manager who use this kind of tactic when all reasoning fails convince anyone.

One who act blur and another who can't convince the team. Any takers?

Anonymous said...

So, if they go to private sector, the best is they can be 'adviser' (who knows what he advised, increase ERP?).

Is there any 'adviser' among the highest paid? i did not see any.

Anonymous said...

""My GDP, which is the profit earned in a year by Singapore Inc, is $210 billion," said Mr Lee."

Please lah, GDP includes private sector contribution right? Who runs the private sector? LKY? My foot.

How much his so-called GDP excluding private sector?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous April 14, 2007 10:29 AM

Balaji has already said he would stay even though he was not promoted because he could not go back to the private sector as a surgeon because his skills are rusty (PM stated in his speech).

So, do we have good quality people? But of course they claimed he stayed for the sake of Singapore. Even when he is not promoted, he will stay. So sacrificial, where to find?

By the way, was he the one who said the useless bums in our society will not conveniently go away?

Anonymous said...

The most likely reason for the justification of the increase of minister salary:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/ID13Ae01.html

Excerpts from link:

"According to independent financial analysts who spoke with Asia Times Online, Singapore's outsized surpluses are habitually hidden away off-budget, often through the use of accounting gimmicks that diverge from internationally accepted norms. They note that government-linked companies and investment corporations buy and sell among themselves at undisclosed transfer prices, obscuring their profit and loss profiles. Nor, they note, does the government publish statistics related to its share of overall national savings. "

Anonymous said...

According to The Star online, an Asiaone poll on the pay hike is as follows:

"In a survey on the media website AsiaOne, only 11.4% of the people surveyed supported the pay increase, while 83.7% said no and 4.9% had no opinion."

(Ref: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/4/14/focus/17423190&sec=focus)

But ST today claims that less that 50% are against in the same poll. I can't find the poll on the website.

So who is telling the truth?

Anonymous said...

Never reinforce failure

Anonymous said...

thank you for this research. this confirms what everybody knows all along: the pap ministars simply cannot command the same exorbitant pay if they are in the REAL private sector.

i would say, some people have no sense of shame.

Anonymous said...

About Yeo Cheow Tong, I hear that he's only drawing $20,000 p/m as an "advisor & consultant" for Lippo.

Couldnt be in Euros, right?

Anonymous said...

This is how I see it. Imagine I am LKY.

I am not sure how long I will live maybe before the next elections or maybe longer I don’t know. My main concern is what would happen after I am gone? Will PAP continue to rule Singapore? Will my son be able to hold the party together? I know PAP is not as united as it used to be. There are people within the Party who don’t agree with certain of our policies but have to go along because the old guards and me are still around to shut them up. But will they continued to be silent when I am gone? I don’t think so especially the young and ambitions ones. What could be the worst scenario after I am gone? I guess it is a strong opposition party. I am not referring to WP because frankly I don’t think they pose a threat to us. On the other hand a breakaway opposition party will definitely pose a serious threat. They are well trained, know the game, and most importantly they represent a new beginning. This group of former PAP members will be hard to deal with. So what can I do to prevent this, frankly not much. However there is one way, though not a popular one with the rest of the Singaporeans i.e. to raise their salaries. My message is loud and clear – I am willing to piss off the rest of the Singaporeans to show you that you are an asset to the Party. We value your service so please continue to stick with us even when I am gone. This method might work because I know despite the fact that most Singaporean are unhappy with my decision, they still want PAP to be the ruling party. I am aware that some of you become MPs not because of its high salary but the desire to serve fellow Singaporean. In that case feel free to donate the increase to charities.

For the sake of PAP, I hope I am right.

hugewhaleshark said...

3 doctors are in the cabinet, Balaji, Ng Eng Hen, and Vivan Bala. I believe they should be able to return to private practice if they quit now.

Yes, they can. But did they, for the money? As far as I can see they are still in government. If they are already staying for $x, do we really have to pay them $1.6x to stay?

And the further question is this. Even if they decide to quit the government because of money, can the job not be filled by anyone else who isn't a multi-million dollar surgeon in real life?

Don't forget, in persuading them to join the government, the country has lost the benefit of their valuable doctoring skills. If they want to return to practice, should we not let market forces prevail.

Anonymous said...

Many are liked robots programmed with high level artificial intelligence. Void of human feelings, souls and spirits, they are like digital monsters. However they are experts at exageration, when one used talent, another would used talented elite, super elite and yet another will elevate it to genious. And they are not only transparent but ROBUSTLY TRANSPARENT! They will certainly, definitely and surely excel in running PRODUCTION LINES BUT NOT HUMAN SOCIETY! If i am not wrong, no one begrudge giving pay increases to Civil Servants. It seems that most commoners believe that it is the Rulers(ministers) that do not deserve the unreasonable and incredibly stupendous self awarded pay enhancements!

Anonymous said...

Seems the robots are programmed to give crap reasons/ arguments. Another one - they say the hike is for the sake of future leaders but, the biggest slice of the cake goes to current ministers who won't be around when the future leaders take over.

Kevin said...

With regards to that probable reason by LKY, I can only say one thing. It boils down to an inability to believe that Singapore can thrive outside a dominant one-party system.

That is a fairly logical reason to prop up this argument over attempting to stem a breakaway party.

Personally, if another centrist party is formed, with capable professionals and talented people, but with less capitalistic mindsets, it would be a better scenario, as a counterweight in Parliament. The roles would work themselves out eventually.

Singapore is a city-state, a nation and a financial hub. One must keep both businesses and the citizens happy to ensure a proper progress in national growth and evolution.Delaying the inevitable is a more painful pill to swallow.

geriatric_eunuch said...

I fear this topic may simply never go away the way the ruling class hopes and prays it will. Why? Because it touches on the subject dearest to the hearts of all true kiasu S'poreans - money! They really seem to have crossed some OB marker here.

From now on the subject of exhorbitant, undeserved pay will always be a stick to beat the gahmen with, overtly or tacitly, irrespective of the situation or event being discussed. Citizens hurt by terrorists? Hey, how'd you over-paid elite geniuses let that happen, eh? We hire you expensive Oxbridge, Ivy League types what for? Smog once more blanketing the country? What the bleedin' hell are we paying you 5-times the US President's salary for if you can't stop a simple thing like that, hah, you useless buggers? $3M pay and can't get sand and granite, ah? Gaji buta izzit? And so on, and so on. An endless suppurating sore.

Man, it beggars belief what a stumbling, gaffe-prone, PR-disaster of a government we presently have, doesn't it? 'Fix' the opposition; wave huge upgrading carrots in opposition wards in vain; demonstrate the courage of your convictions by NOT announcing your intent to raise salaries and GST before the election; piss away $80M mishandling the World Bank/IMF fiasco; sneer at 'mediocre' European governments while scrambling to contain your own murky Shin Corp fallout; swear blind that the GST rise is actually to help the less well-off then cry-father-cry-mother when pushed to raise their benefit by a whole $30 to a staggering $290; with your next breath, tactlessly scream blue-bloody-murder that you're 50% underpaid because you receive 'only' $1.2M, then piously renounce your increment only AFTER the people's loud outcry; demonstrate your boundless talent for repression to the entire world yet again by banning EU MPs from speaking...the legend continues. I can hardly wait for the next almighty cock-up.

Heh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.

Still, not to worry, aren't the world's mightiest private enterprises fighting tooth and nail to steal away the these dazzling flowers of our national excellence?

Gerry Boy said...

Actually, Mr Wang, if I am not mistaken, Tony Tan left the Government to work for UOB befre he was recalled to Cabinet a few years later. This was durig the period when LHL was diagnosed with cancer.

Anonymous said...

Tony Tan was in OCBC before he entered politics. Together with S Dhanabalan he resigned in 1995(?) - interestingly the slapping incident was supposed to have taken place in 1994? He then returned to OCBC as Chairman but rejoined government when LHL was diagnosed with cancer.

Anonymous said...

The reason why "real private sector" wont be fighting to take our ministers under their wing is because this is how a typical minister works. He would first come up with a very broad idea, so broad that it is nothing different from common sense like "we want to retrain workers who have been retrenched so that they can find new jobs." He then turns to his PS and said "Give me a policy paper on this." The PS would then turn to his directors and repeat the same order. The directors then pass the orders to his officers who not having enough that they can pass the buck to would come up with all the research, justifications and ideas of how to implement that one liner of the minister. when all that is said and done, the minister just goes to parliament, get the thing passed and announced to the press that he has come up with this new initiative to help the unemployed. Thus all the ministers need to do is to say broad things which anyone can do and then leave all the work to his civil service henchmen. Hell, they don't even write their own speeches but have to rely on their officers to think of things for them to say. These are the people we are paying millions for. You think the private sector would be dying to get them???

Anonymous said...

So Mr Wang,

Is your company hiring all these talents?

I mean for a tinsy sum of $48 mil, in wage packages, you can get a team capable to generating a profit of $210 billion!

Think about it, with profit like this, how much you will be getting in bonus ;-). No need to work liau!

When I hear this I lau nua (salivate) for these talents but my company Tai Ee Long Pte Ltd, not top global company lah. So they feel pai say to join. I have tried even, let's just say more, hiong (bodily related ways), ways to lure them but don't come. So clearly proof that they are really Tok Kong talents!

So my advise to your company, better snap them up fast otherwise kenna sapu by these GICs you know!

Tai Ee Long

Anonymous said...

Banned Conference In Singapore now available on Youtube!! ;-)
Part 1

Part 2

Anonymous said...

In the history of mankind, many wise men have often said that politicians are borne to become liars. Because of their rather awkward & peculiar circumstances, they will have to make you hear and believe what they want you to believe what that may not necessary be the truth.

Therefore could this be one of the reasons why true capable wise men often shy away from politics and rather not perceived to be a "liar" even though their true intentions may have be noble.

The way I see it, IMHO, the pay increases are more of a reward to compensate for the "sacrifices" made by the Ministers and not the rubbish propaganda that is being dished out by MIW.

If indeed the country is likened to be runned like Singapore Inc like any top global company, then the PM should present the Balance Scorecard or the Performance Appraisal for each of the Ministers to reflect whether each of them has indeed met their individual performance criteria in order to qualify themselves for the substantial pay increment rather than an unjustifiable obscene increment for all of them across the board.

I am sure the gahmen would not be that generous with the taxpayer's money and would have sung a different tune if some of the Ministers happened to belong to some opposition party!!!

Anonymous said...

When the next GE comes along, I wonder if the Opposition would say something along the lines of,

"I know all of you are pissed with PAP. Vote for my party. When we become Govt, we will only pay our Minister 1/2 million a year."

Then Singaporeans vote for Opposition.

Plausible?

Anonymous said...

No competent or responsible top CEO would just dish out money that like as if it is his grandfather's company!!!!

Such is the reality of politics in Singapore. As they say it, politics are dirty.

Anonymous said...

If the PAP continue to piss the people off, the opposition parties CAN give PAP a run for their monies!!!

You can fool us MOST of the times but not ALL the times. Mark my words. It will only be a matter of time that history will repeat itself.

Anonymous said...

I have just set Mr. Wang's blog as my default home page.

I would say It is highly stimulating, both intellectually & spiritually, to be able to hear a wide spectrum of arguments being presented pertaining to issues that matters most to the typical Singaporean in the street.

Using the same paternistic approach that PAP would not hesitate to use towards Singaporeans, a word of advice for PAP is : Don't be too arrogant and ignore the people's sentiment at your own peril!!!

Anonymous said...

Politics are dirty in Singapore. But don't make Singaporean dirty, it is only the Lee's and its whities that is heavily dirty and immoral.

Mr Siu said...

I personally feel that majority of the so called 'elite' admin officers are capable but not overly outstanding. They thrive because of the system they are in and not necessarily because of their own merits. This is unfortunately the case.

Jonathan said...

With all due respect, Mr. Wang, I do find some faults in the logic of your argument. When you're in your 50s or 60s and have just retired from a ministerial post and politics, I doubt you'd have the inclination or the energy to:

-make new friends and contacts all over again in the private sector
-adapt to a completely different and much faster pace of work in the private sector
-deal the more pronounced backstabbing, sycophantic mindsets in the private sector

If I retire from the Cabinet and have to choose between a job at a GLC or the MNC, I'd choose the GLC. My established network of government and civil service contacts would help me greatly and make my job easier at the GLC; I would automatically command more respect in a GLC, with the name recognition in government work and everything, than in an MNC - after all, like what Mr Wang had previously argued in his posts about scholarships, skills in government may not be transferable to the private sector; and at 50 or 60 years old and nearing retirement and the end of my employability, a top job at a GLC or stat board would give me a more than comfortable life.

It is moot, therefore, to examine the fates of retired ministers. I find greater logical basis in an earlier commenter's suggestion to look at the supposed target audience of the pay rise: the ministers-to-be.

Anonymous said...

am wondering, has anyone noticed that both lippo and courts became really really big names in Singapore after these 2 joined in? somehow, contracts are going to Lippo in many many places.

not implying any form of corruptions here, but just find it interesting

Anonymous said...

Have been thinking...perhaps the "envy" that is being felt by incumbent ministers is that of seeing their peers ( ex-scholars or senior civil servants )earning top dollar in GLCs. These include Liew Mun Leong, Lim Chee Onn, Kua Hong Pak etc. Quite likely a lot of "real private sector" honchos like Koh Boon Siew, Ho Kwong Ping must have declined the invitation to enter politics even with the promise of safe sure passage through GRCs and a ministerial post thereafter. So they would not have been the cause of the envy. Moot point is whether the former are competitively compensated...or are they over-compensated rather than that the ministers are undercompensated having regard to ability and job responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Why people join politics? Shouldn't they join to make a difference to the nation?

Anonymous said...

Johnathan says "When you're in your 50s or 60s and have just retired from a ministerial post and politics, I doubt you'd have the inclination or the energy to:

-make new friends and contacts all over again in the private sector
-adapt to a completely different and much faster pace of work in the private sector
-deal the more pronounced backstabbing, sycophantic mindsets in the private sector"


Johnathan ... there is a name for the people you refer to above - they are called "DEADWOOD". How do you preserve Deadwood? Why, give it a pay raise.

Anonymous said...

People join politics to contribute to nation buildings maybe too broad a statement although it is the noblest intention> The likely goal unfortunately but tenable is power and fame> Even if the initial intention holds true< once in power< a politician is likely to be consumed by fame and reputation not just in the country he plays in< he would want international fame! Vanity< to be fair is everybodys" vice and weakness< sort of Archilles Heel

Mr Wang Says So said...

Jonathan:

There may be some truth in what you are saying. I love your implications anyway. Have you really thought them through?

- "Ex-ministers have no relevant skills transferable to the private sector, so let's put them in SPH, Capitaland, NOL ..."

- "Ex-ministers are too tired and old for the pace of work in the private sector, let's make them run Singapore's biggest companies instead."

- "Ministers' salaries should be benchamrked to top earners in the private sector, even though we know they're never going to run off to join the real private sector".

Etc.

;)

Anonymous said...

Lippo may not be a GLC but it is definitely government linked (the Singapore government, that is).

Any one here knows if the Lee family or Temasek has a stake in Courts?

Anonymous said...

Actually I want to ask, "How many of the 'anonymous' people here are from the government?"

They did hire pple to write in justification for them online right?

This seems like a good post for them to come.

Anonymous said...

Pardon my ignorance but it seems that our ministers are in demand not by Top Global Companies but by GLC's. That says a lot about the hype.

foreveryours said...

I love the implications you mentioned, but my point was more of OLD, RETIRED ministers choosing a life of retirement in the public sector - but this doesn't necessarily mean that they weren't suitable or talented enough for the private sector when they were, say 30 or 40 years old and could easily have secured a job in the private sector then. they may not have the transferable skills at 50 or 60, but that doesn't mean they couldn't learn and apply them well at 30. and they could very have managed the faster pace in the private sector at 30... and well, young ministers, not those old ones nearing retirement age, could on the basis of the above reasons run off to join the private sector. my point is, it's moot to examine the private sector suitability of old and retired ministers to prove that younger, or would-be ministers are not attractive to the private sector, simply because old and retired ministers are old and retired and have specialised in government the whole life. we're talking about the individual at his or her prime who still possesses a degree of versatility and could be attracted to and poached by the private sector, instead of old and retired ministers who are ultimately best suited to the kind of work he or she has been deeply involved in for an entire working life. i think the government's supposed target is those who still have a choice, not those oldies who've been irreversibly moulded and don't have much of a choice except for GLCs.

but yes, it is indeed interesting that our GLCs are run by old, tired people without much private sector acumen :D

Anonymous said...

"There is no good time or bad time (to increase pay)"

Ok, give me my 1.5% CPF back. Thank you. Don't tell me about good or bad time.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, can you send this info to Sylvia lim or LTK for them to broadcast these facts and disclose how lame the rich MPs are in their claim for the need to increase their salaries?

I have friends working in civil service and it's true that they don't earn much, promotions are scarce and increment is miserable regardless of how hard they work. in the end, it boils down to their qualifications again.
this is totally ridiculous, i hope that their pay be adjusted fairly..

can't say the same for certain multi million dollar ministers!

Josh Lyman said...

Mr. Wang...for comparison, could you do a short one on former US presidents or even cabinet secretaries? See where they ended up after retiring from public SERVICE...

I think the results will be very telling...they certainly don't end up working at Courts or Harvey Norman...

Anonymous said...

If i remember correctly

One ex joined PSA, and PSA lost MAJOR clients to Johor, giving them a strategic kick start.. and a strategic kick in PSA's balls resulting in layoffs?

One ex joined a GLC taxi co, then try to ban a journo who dared to report on his million dollar salary.

Views on the fly said...

I think the data you gathered of retired Ministers may not portray a possible picture of what they could possibly do if they were younger and had not been "roped" in to politics. Global companies are unlikely to recruit older people or retired Ministers for senior executive positions.

Anonymous said...

now, out of the list of 8 names, how many of them are actually 'old'??

Yeo Ning Hong old? Yeo Cheow Tong? David Lim? Seet Ai Mee??

And seriously, if that is the case (where pte sectors are unlikely to recruit ex ministers), then these people are definitely not sought after in the pte Sector, and therefore, they should stop comparing.

btw, I still see many 'old' CEOs (or high position executives) from pte sectors beings head hunted to another pte company, so I dun see why is age a problemxq

Mr Wang Says So said...

"i think the government's supposed target is those who still have a choice, not those oldies who've been irreversibly moulded and don't have much of a choice except for GLCs."

Well, if that is the case, there is no reason to increase the salaries of the older ministers, is there? Eg Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong. They can't be the ones "who still have a choice", why are they receiving the BIGGEST salary increase? ;)

Anonymous said...

Bingo Mr. Wang. They have clearly pulled the wool over our eyes.

7-8 said...

First let's expect that asking whether a minister is going into the private sector is an academic, hypothetical situation.

If you had a cabinet that has as many links to the private sector as the current one in the white house then there'd be a lot of fucking around with the system. Like people are asking why Cheney was so on about the war in Iraq, if he wasn't a previous CEO of Halliaburton. In effect, he's like the quarter master of the US armed forces.

And for PM Lee and Temasek chairman Ho Ching to be married, that's a bit like incest, with all that hue and cry.

So for us to ask "are they actually involved in the private sector", in order to answer the question, "are they good enough for the private sector", maybe that is not entirely appropriate.

We know about Goh Chok Tong's links with NOL, I think he worked with Shell before.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...
"There is no good time or bad time (to increase pay)"

Ok, give me my 1.5% CPF back. Thank you. Don't tell me about good or bad time.
April 16, 2007 6:10 PM


I was grinning from ear to ear when i read this.

Can I, hold ransom, if 1.5% is not returned(is it alot, compared to their raise?), be a quitter and join other company (country) ?

A company's (country) asset are its people isn't it?

Anonymous said...

For the record, Goh Chok Tong never worked with Shell. He started out as a civil servant in fact working under JYM Pillay, then got seconded to NOL before he was "persuaded" to stand for elections.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, NOL is not a Fortune 500 company and doesn't count as a top global company.

Ornateghost said...

Robert Rubin run the US Treasury as a civil servant before he became board member of Citigroup.

So perhaps all of our ministars are looking to Robert as a role model. None of them comes close, regrettably.

Mr Siu said...

Lee Hsien Long is a hypocrite. Nothing more and nothing less.

singaporean said...

Yo! Wonderful to read all these views and exposé. Did you vote for PAP in the last election? I hope not.

helpless said...

Just thought I should point out something interesting regarding the donation wayang by LHL.

The S$600k he supposedly donated would have attracted S$120k in taxes. So he only gets S$480k actual money.

The donation will provide him a 2x relieve or S$1.2m. This means he pays less S$240k for his original salary.

So, net he lost out S$480k - S$240k = S$240k.

Brilliant! He looks like such a generous person who has given up S$600k of his personally money but in actual fact he gave up S$240k.

Instead of actually only getting what he has been getting all along after the donation, he is actually getting another S$240k. Brilliant.

Its amazing that this is not pointed out in the newpapers. Do we have anyone who can think there?

Now, why am I skeptical always?

7-8 said...

Anonymous - regarding Shell, my bad, I'm not an expert.

It's also true that NOL is not a Fortune 500 company.

But I do want to say that there are almost no Fortune 500 companies which are Singaporean.

When a large company has a political leader working in its top ranks, everybody will smell a rat anyway. They already saying Ho Ching in Temasek stinks.

If you are a Fortune 500 company, would you ever employ a former foreign head of state to work for you? Can you imagine Bill Clinton heading SIA, getting his dick sucked by Singapore girl? He'd need to hire an armoured personnel carrier to ferry him to and from work everyday because I would want to shoot him down.

You know the old Chinese saying, water from the river and water from the well don't fuck each other. Or something like that.

The other thing is, we are comparing Singaporean minister's pay with top Singaporean executives. Always has been the basis. Otherwise we'd be talking about $30 M, not $3M. The only person who makes that much is Mobutu Sese Soku.

I'm not in favour of jacking off the ministers' salaries, but when we engage in intellectual discussion we shouldn't say things which are misleading.

7-8 said...

Helpless: That is the measure of a smart man. That is the smart man I want managing my nation's resources.

He's a scoundrel, but he's my kind of scoundrel. I'm voting for him!