We need to re-install in each person a sense of duty.
If you are a doctor, it is your duty to treat and cure the patient. If you are a teacher, it is your duty to teach the students well. You receive a salary or fee for your service. When you accept the job, you accept the terms of your engagement and undertake to carry out your duty to the best of your ability.
In a corrupt society, government officials need to be bribed to do their duty. They may be bribed to break the rules in favour of the briber or just to carry out their duty according to the rules or what is expected of them.
Singapore is fortunate to have stayed clear of corruption and to have a public administration that is largely free of bribery. The few cases of bribery are prosecuted.
However, in recent years, there is a worrying trend. The sense of duty seems to have been eroded. Many people now expect to be incentivised to do a job well.
Corporate executives, who already earn a high remuneration, are now given incentives (through profit sharing or stock options) to increase their company’s profits. If they want to, they can increase the profits in unethical ways, such as over-charging or cheating the customers, delivering a lower quality of product or exploiting the workers.
Financial advisers rush to sell financial products to earn an attractive commission. Many forget that it is their duty to understand the product and ensure its suitability for customers. The lure of earning the attractive commission overcomes the sense of duty. Many neglected their duty and unknowingly mis-represented the product. Some knew but joined the bandwagon anyway. A similar situation applies to the property market.
There has been a serious decline in the standard of protection for consumers and workers. The government authorities are now less active in prosecuting cases of public interest and prefer to leave these matters to be sorted out by free market.
Consumers are asked to take legal action to seek redress. But consumers do not have the financial means to take legal action against large businesses who have access to the best lawyers anyway.
Local workers are also affected by depressed wages due to the influx of foreign workers and are not protected by a minimum wage policy. Many have to accept wage rates that are inadequate to provide a decent standard of living and have to work long hours to make up.
In this pro-business environment, where consumers and workers are not adequately protected, it is not surprising that businesses can rake up high profits, giving million dollar income to their top executives. Successful professionals, such as lawyers and doctors, can also earn million dollar incomes.
It is rather sad that the remunerations of our government leaders are now benchmark against the earnings of these top business executives and professionals. If the leaders are chasing the top dollars, who will look after the interest of the ordinary workers, the consumers and the other weak people in our society?
Tan Kin Lian
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08/23 - 08/30
- A nation run by scholars
- Jeddah - shopping during Ramadan
- Opponent of US health reform yield fear weapon
- Jeddah during Ramadan
- Regular update of bank deposit rates
- Asset share of your life insurance policy
- Whistleblower tells of America's hidden nightmare ...
- Travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- Join FISCA
- Low wages and purchasing power in Singapore
- Petition to the Prime Minister (2)
- Review of National Service
- Challenges for the Free Market
- End of life issues need to be addressed
- How insurers do or don't compete
- Petition to the Prime Minister
- St Times: Tan Kin Lian launches new consumer body
- Survey: Political Party Blogs
- Orphan money at NTUC Income
- Analogy - there are no poor people in Singapore
- Orphaned money in Life Insurance Fund
- Watchdog thinks $20m is in bag for Lehman fund
- Letter to MAS - Asset Share
- A Sense of Duty
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- The Uninsured
- Burden of National Service
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