I shake my head when I see the whole story unfold before my very eyes.
It started off with an open letter to Dr Teo Ho Pin about Northwest CDC staff getting 8 months bonus in 2008. I also blog about it saying that its a good opportunity for the government to engage the new media. After several attempts to get official comments, Dr Teo finally replied saying that it’s confidential.
What kind of nonsense is that? We are not asking you to name who got exactly how much bonus. We just want to know if some staff got 8 months bonus. No need name the person out.
Then on Sunday, Dr Teo Ho Pin spoke to the media and said he don’t know the salary and bonus of the staff of North West CDC. OK, brilliant. From “confidential” to “I don’t know”. Perhaps “Confidential” is the new word for “I don’t know.” His interview with the media was very well drafted. Check out his interview with the media.
And Dr Teo squandered an opportunity to engage the New Media. (Gee…. I think I remember that phase from somewhere.) He could had reply directly to the source of this rumors which is the new media. But instead, he kept his silent until the mainstream media spoke to him. I thought you guys are going to leverage on the New Media? Well, I guess not.
So, it’s the People Association or Workforce Development Agency who decide on the salary and bonus of community development council staff. Not the Mayor. Then why didn’t you say so earlier Dr Teo? And now that it has been brought to your attention, don’t you, as a Mayor of North West CDC and a Member of Parliament of Bukit Panjang, feel that it is your duty and obligations to find out what exactly is going on in the CDC that is under your charge? Why are some of the staff getting such high bonus, especially during a recession?
No, it seems like you don’t know and you don’t care. All you want is this issue to get off your back. OK, since it is none of your business, everybody turn their attention at People Association and Workforce Development Agency.
And interestingly enough, before we can make enough noise, Mr Lim Boon Heng (hey, that’s my MP) steps out and defended the need for Community Development Councils (CDCs) to have flexibility in rewarding staff, pointing out that is how companies around the world operate. He stated that fixed monthly pay is kept down and the bonuses vary according to performance to motivate people to perform, because if a person does badly, he will not get the same high bonus. So this ensures that the reward system is fair and responsive to the needs of the organisation. He also advised people ‘not to begrudge the few people who got very high bonuses’.
Mr Lim, perhaps you don’t know that a lot of people in the private sector are having their salary and bonus cut because of this recession. (Some even lose their jobs) Are they not performing well? Nope, they got a pay cut because of the economic situation. I’m sure there are people in the private sector who are performing just as well as your staff in North West CDC. And if the people in the private sectors are getting their pay and bonus cut, why is the government sector getting excessive bonus? It’s shocking to see you defending the 8 months bonus. Are you so disconnected from the rest of Singapore to the extend that you think 8 months bonus is perfectly alright?
And come to think of it, now that we are in a recession, isn’t it about time we relook into the Minister’s salary?
In the mean time, the People’s Association said that salaries are in line with the National Wages Council’s guidelines, and that the association had moved to performance-based pay to reward and incentivise staff fairly and responsively.
Wow, for the past week, everyone kept quiet, saying it is confidential. Now everyone come out and talk about it. Although they never confirm or deny if any of the North West CDC staff (or staffs) got 8 months bonus, I think the answer is pretty clear already.
Now, the Salary and Bonus is based on National Wages Council’s guideline. If that is correct, then the high performance staffs in the private sectors should at least get 6 months bonus right? How can that be wrong? You mean the private sector don’t follow the NWC’s guideline meh? But if you think about it, if every private sector follow the NWC’s guideline and give their high performing staff 8 months bonus, I think some of them will be in financial problem soon.
And if PA and WDA really follow the NWC’s guideline and give 8 months bonus to their staff, I think we seriously need to relook into the NWC’s guideline. How the heck did someone get 8 months bonus? Even if we are not in a recession, 8 months bonus is a lot of money.
So can someone please justify why some of the staff at North West CDC received 8 months bonus? Did someone managed to find to cure to Singapore’s unemployment rate or something?
Update on 17 March, 3:30pm: The article on Mr Lim Boon Heng’s comment in Straits Times Interactive has been removed. I did a quick search at CNA website and I also can’t find Mr Lim Boon Heng’s comments. I hate linking to local mainstream media websites. You never know when will they suddenly take down an article.
Wait, the video is still there. Although I think they will take it down soon.