Wayang Party: Uncanny similarities between Burmese junta and Singapore government
The Wayang Party blog published an article today comparing Singapore’s cabinet and the Burmese military hierarchy:
In a recent article published on Asian Times, the head of the Myanmar military junta Senior General Than Shwe was reported to have fostered rank inflation and growth of the flag officers corps to secure the loyalities of his men. (read article here)
This led to a bloated bureaucracy and rising government expenditure which threaten to saddle the state with an ineffective and expensive government.
The Prime Minister’s move to add more portfolios to an already bloated cabinet bears uncanny similarities to the Myanmar military junta’s self-preservation instincts.
Of the new faces introduced by the PAP in the 2006 general elections, three have been “fast-tracked” to become ministers – Rear-Admiral Lui Tuck Yew becoming the Acting Minister for the Ministry of Information, Communications and Arts, Gan Kim Yong as the Acting Minister for Manpower and Lim Hwee Hua being made a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.
With the senior ministers remaining firmly entrenched in their positions, there is little choice but to create more new positions for the junior leaders to fill up.
The number of official positions within the cabinet is truly bewildering. Besides the ministers themselves, there are second ministers, acting ministers, senior ministers of state, ministers of state, senior parliamentary secretaries and parliamentary secretaries.
Wayang Party then asks a pertinent question:
Why does a tiny island state of only 620 square kilometers in size inhabited by 4.5 million people need so many ministers to govern?
Such a bloated cabinet make governance a more complicated affair leading to reduced efficiency and it is an unnecessary toll on taxpayers as well.
More importantly if MM Lee Kuan Yew has said that:
But he said that Singapore is not a master of its own economy.
He said: “Of all the economies in the world, we have the highest percentage of external trade – three and a quarter times our GDP. No other country has got that size of external trade. So when the external trade shrinks, remember it is going to hurt us.”
The best question to follow that up is: If we can’t do anything about the fact we’ll inevitably fall into a steep recession when the world economy dips since we aren’t in control of the economy, why should we be rewarding ministers with million-dollar paychecks when our economy is booming? Do we really need so many people in government each drawing exorbitant salaries to tell us something we know all along?