Saturday, January 7, 2012

iTODAY: Grace Fu clarifies Facebook post on ministerial pay

From iTODAY:Grace Fu clarifies Facebook post on ministerial pay

Wong Jiahui Alicia | 6 Jan, 2012 11:02 AM

Singapore - Her original post on Facebook drew the ire of netizens, and yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Grace Fu (picture) moved to clarify her comments on the proposed ministerial pay cuts.

Ms Fu's post on Wednesday night, which cautioned that further pay cuts could deter talents from entering politics, garnered more than 800 shares and more than 800 comments within 21 hours of being put up.

Ms Fu had outlined her concerns before joining politics - the loss of privacy, personal time and public scrutiny. She said "pay was not a key factor" but the disruption to her career was an "important consideration".

"I had some ground to believe that my family would not suffer a drastic change in the standard of living even though I experienced a drop in my income. ... If the balance is tilted further in the future, it will make it harder for any one considering political office," she wrote.

Some netizens termed her "elitist", while others accused her of focusing on pay instead of public service. For example, Ng Tiong Gee, who felt the post was "inappropriate", wrote on Ms Fu's page: "Even with a pay cut, a salary of more than a million dollars is still a very big amount by any yardstick."

Ms Fu, who is also Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, responded on her Facebook page at about 5.30pm yesterday, thanking netizens for their "candid views".

"I realise my last posting could have been misunderstood. The committee has done a thorough job with a substantial recommendation over a fairly emotive topic. I accept and respect the recommendations," she said, adding she is "honoured to be given the opportunity to serve the people".

"However, it may not be wise to call for the trade-offs to be tilted further to an extent that it dissuades good people from coming forward in future," she noted.

Some Facebook users defended Ms Fu. Sebastian Lim agreed that an overly harsh pay cut would deter "good people from joining politics".

Anthony Kan said: "She had made her choice in view of loss of privacy, and a reduction in remuneration, to take up political work, and that's what she did and she spoke what she felt truthfully."

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