What’s wrong with a Cabinet Minister having a concurrent appointment?

Some political wannabe has taken to her blog to criticise how some of the Singapore government’s ministries are helmed by an individual Cabinet Minister, instead of 2.

Specifically, Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss raised the example of the Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Home Affairs that are both helmed by Minister K.Shanmugam.

Perhaps Mrs Aruldoss has forgot that Singapore has had 3 law ministers since independence in 1965 and each one of them helmed other ministries concurrently.

Our first law minister E.W. Barker was appointed to the law ministry in 1964, and concurrently held different other portfolios at different periods of time till he retired from politics in 1988.

Cabinet Minister

Similarly, Mr Shanmugam was appointed to the Home Affairs Ministry and Foreign Affairs ministry at different times, on top of the Ministry of Law.

And if her issue was that of more than one salary, she would be happy to know that regarless of how many ministries a minister holds, they only get one salary.

Don’t believe? Take a look at this document: Salaries for a Capable and Committed Government.

Explicitly, point 92 on Page 34 of the document says:

“We recommend retaining the current practice of paying all political appointment holders one pay package as an appointment holder, even when they hold two or more portfolios.”

Another issue she raised was accountability and conflict of interest for both ministries.

Honestly, is she able to provide specific evidence or instances where there was conflict of interest on the part of Minister Shanmugam?

And even if there was a conflict of interest, is she even suggesting that the hundreds of civil servants working in both ministries are keeping quiet knowing that there is a conflict of interest?

Lastly, she mentioned Singapore as a one-party government.

Cabinet Minister

She might want to know that Singapore has other political parties besides the ruling party, and there is more than one party in Parliament.

Just because her own party wasn’t elected into Parliament, doesn’t mean that Singapore has a one-party government.

Frankly, she ought to read up and get some facts right, before raising certain issues about our Cabinet Ministers.




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