Opinion / From the Press

Taking the icing off moon cakes

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-11 07:45

The complaints of some government officials against rules that bar them from receiving or gifting moon cakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival suggest that they are yet to accept the higher authorities' drive to fight corruption and ensure fair allocation of resources. It is expected that the officials will get used to not receiving extra benefits once a permanent welfare system is established, says an article in Xinhua Daily Telegraph. Excerpts:

This Mid-Autumn Festival, most government officials didn't get extra benefits in the form of gifts because of the Chinese leadership's austerity drive. Many of the officials have even used the Internet to complain against the "financial loss" they suffered because of the anti-corruption campaign.

In contrast, government officials in Singapore see no sense in such benefits, even during festivals, because they believe that only their outstanding and highly competent seniors and colleagues deserve extra perks or higher salaries. Also, they think that no one deserves to be "rewarded" using public money.

The move to bar Chinese officials from receiving moon cakes as gifts conforms to the policy of accounting for every penny that is used from public funds. Using public money to reward public servants is morally and legally unacceptable. On one hand, improper use of public funds can only prompt people to question the honesty of public servants. On the other, the use of public money or official power for illegal purposes to give gifts is a form of corruption.

Therefore, we need to establish a mechanism which will ensure that even the smallest amount from public funds is used for the right purpose, and for that public servants have to be stopped from using public money for personal purposes. After all, spending public money only for the benefit of the public is a fundamental principle of modern governance.

Moreover, the so-called welfare system for officials should be separated from the insurance system. Public servants should be paid enough salaries to pay for their needs, including buying moon cakes and paying the premiums for their health and endowment insurance. If such a system is established, officials are most likely to not think about "extra employee benefits".

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