Type A and B politicians. Reminder to UMNO

Suppose, we increase the salaries of our ministers many fold. Ministers by 600k a year, so on and so forth. Will the salary structure attract talented people into becoming politicians and into public service? The idea is: high pay attracts better talent and reduces corruption. You know the drill: you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Let’s analyze this proposition a bit farther.

We all know that Singapore ministers earn astronomical salaries. The idea to compensate political leaders with high salaries was thought out by Lee Kuan Yew. His intention was to attract the best talents into public service. The attrition rate from 1st generation leaders was high. Many fell by the way side, succumbing to baneful influences.

How do you attract the next generation of leaders? He was concerned that, if left alone, the best talents would opt for business careers other than public service. So he indexed the salaries of ministers and political leaders in public service to a certain number of the highest salary earners in Singapore.

But public service isn’t an attractive place for talented people. Government can’t pay gargantuan salaries. That’s public money. They can only pay reasonably high salaries, competitive enough to sufficiently attract talented individuals. On top of that, the Singapore elder leaders have still got to talent scout. The anecdotes about senior leaders conducting several levels of interviews are well known.

In Malaysia party elders don’t talent scout. They are interested in setting up a self perpetuating system of leadership, i.e. perpetuating THEIR leadership. This is directly opposite the creation of a self continuing system which means, the show goes on even without you. The ‘without you’ qualification is the scary part to politicians. So, typically, the leader sets up a system that perpetuates his rule. His subordinates are under achievers and mostly second raters. They won’t rock the same boat they are in and certainly won’t go against those to whom they are beholden.