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“Ministers are not given pensions” – Halimah Yacob

Posted by theonlinecitizen on September 5, 2007

By Andrew Loh

“Ministers are not given pensions, not the ministers after a certain age, similar to civil servants…. Civil servants after 1984, ‘86 no longer are paid pensions. They’re all on CPF, the same as ministers. So whatever other schemes are applicable to other Singaporeans will also be applicable to ministers.”

NTUC Assistant Secretary General and MP for Jurong GRC, Halimah Yacob, 93.8FM, 29 August 2007 (podcast)

It is curious why Mdm Yacob would make such a statement as the above – that “ministers are not given pensions”.

This is even more puzzling when you consider that various commentators have spoken about it, and even ministry and government officials have mentioned pensions for ministers.

Indeed, as recently as 2004, the then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had even clarified in Parliament that ministers do still receive pensions. In fact, some of them are receiving both pensions and salaries! (link)

Perhaps Mdm Yacob has confused the freeze on pension sums (since 1994) given out to pensioners, with any cancellation or abolishment of the scheme itself – as clarified by the Public Service Division:

“Since 1994, the pensionable salary component at each grade has been frozen. All subsequent salary increases, whether in the form of monthly adjustments or increase in annual components, are non-pensionable.” (AsiaOne)

However, even though the sums themselves have been frozen, it does not mean that the pension scheme is no longer in practice.

Another misunderstanding, on the part of Mdm Halimah, could also be the difference between the Civil Service and the Administrative Service – or Office Holders. Pensions for the Civil Service has indeed been “phased out” since 1986 but pensions for the Administrative Service (which includes Ministers) are retained.

In 2007, in a letter to the Straits Times, the Public Service Division (which is under the Prime Minister’s Office) said:

“… the pension scheme has been retained for Office Holders, namely, Speaker, Ministers, Ministers Of State, Mayors, Parliamentary Secretaries and Political Secretaries.” (PDF file)

For further certainty, here are several commentators who have spoken about the pension scheme for ministers. Perhaps the NTUC’s assistant secretary general would like to read them and clarify her misleading statement on the radio programme.

The Singapore Mayor: A legitimate ticket to a Parliamentary pension? – By The Workers’ Party chairman, Sylvia Lim. (link)

Reaction to MOM’s statement on State pension – National Solidarity Party (link)

Ministers get pensions too – Alex Au. (link)

PSD dispels myths on ministers, civil servants pay. (Asia One)

Annuities for Singaporeans, pensions for ministers?(Andrew Loh)

 

Transcript from the 93.8FM radio programme. A caller, Joseph, asked Mdm Yacob about the “double standards” of making Singaporeans buy annuities while ministers receive pensions:

Joseph: I just want to find out because there’s been a lot of talk, on the Net and in Singapore about the proposed annuity scheme… One of the looming questions is that ordinary Singaporeans are forced to take on this annuity scheme but ministers have this retirement scheme where they have guaranteed pensions. We’re talking about very well-paid ministers who get paid $1.5 million a year and they’re getting $150,000 a month and all this at tax payers’ expense.

On the other hand, we have the man on the street who has barely enough money in his CPF to make ends meet and then be forced on this annuity scheme. There seems to be two standards here. So I am just wondering how do you reconcile the two very wide standards, you know.

DJ: Mdm Halimah, double standards – in terms of how ministers are treated, public servants are treated, and how the rest of us are treated.

Mdm Halimah: Thank you, Joseph, for the question but I think there’s probably a misunderstanding. Ministers are not given pensions, not the ministers after a certain age, similar to civil servants. Civil servants, after 1984/86, I think, no longer are paid pensions. They are all on CPF. The same with ministers. So whatever schemes are applicable to other Singaporeans will also be applicable to ministers, will be applicable to civil servants.

Now, the question is: Are Singaporeans being forced to save? Well, the compulsory annuity is meant …we have to look at the objective. ..I want to come back to the objective and I hope that Singaporeans and all callers will focus on the objective. The objective is really to save, to help Singaporeans because we’re living longer, we need more retirement income. So that’s the purpose of the annuity, really.

 

 

The Public Service Division’s responses to comments from the public, April 2, 2007. Asia One.

PENSIONS

Q: Do ministers and AOs receive pensions?

A: Only those who have served at least eight years as an office holder (for example, minister or minister of state) qualify for a pension.

Since 1994, the pensionable salary component at each grade has been frozen. All subsequent salary increases, whether in the form of monthly adjustments or increase in annual components, are non-pensionable.

The pensions for ministers are not calculated based on the total annual salary package each year.

Bonuses, allowances and other annual salary components are not included in the calculation of the minister’s pension.

Only the pensionable portion of the minister’s monthly salary is used and the actual pension also depends on the length of pensionable service. Currently, only about half of the monthly salary of a minister is pensionable.

As for post-retirement medical benefits, all office-holders, including ministers who qualify for pensions, continue on the Medisave-cum-Subsidised Outpatient Scheme. They do not get free medical after retirement.

For administrative officers to qualify for a pension, they must have served for at least 15 years. But they lose the pension once they resign from service.

As with ministers, only about half of AOs’ monthly salaries are pensionable.

Also, MPs appointed after Jan 1, 1995 are no longer eligible for pensions.

 

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22 Responses to ““Ministers are not given pensions” – Halimah Yacob”

  1. shoestring said

    “Ministers are not given pensions, not the ministers after a certain age,”

    But still there are Minister who are given pensions right? That’s our point Madam.

    “similar to civil servants…. Civil servants after 1984, ‘86 no longer are paid pensions.”

    But still there are Minister who are given pensions right? That’s our point Madam.

    “They’re all on CPF, the same as ministers.”

    But still there are Minister who are given pensions right? That’s our point.

    “Only those who have served at least eight years as an office holder (for example, minister or minister of state) qualify for a pension.”

    But still there are Minister who are given pensions right? That’s our point.

    “Bonuses, allowances and other annual salary components are not included in the calculation of the minister’s pension.”

    But still there are Minister who are given pensions right? That’s our point.

    There’s more to go, but I am tired already. Why so long-winded? Just say “yes”. Full-stop.

    You beat around the bush, you’ll likely get burnt by a burning one.

  2. meesiam_maihum said

    Is Halimah Yacob trying to create a smokescreen and mislead people? Her statement not only contradicts PSD’S but also casts doubt on her credibility.

  3. RaymondChua said

    Is she forging ignorance, pure ignorance, or deceiving the public ? YOu have gahmen speaking policy with no accountability of what they say. Just like NKF, with first saying that 50cents go into donation, and upon scrutiny, only 10cents go into helping the unfortunate. Is it the same for government. YOu decide. You have CPF planning for us, and we don’t want at end of day, minimal go back to us, the rest is unaccounted for just like this case.

  4. RaymondChua said

    First of all, what’s the hell we paying millions to ppl who either don’t know the fu#$@3@#!ck what going on and just speak things that public want to hear only, hiding facts and truth ?

    we want the answer today not tomorrow . We pay and pay and what we get from LKY is crude mentality. It is so easy to get away with just a dubious and ridiculous reason that I am motivated to join gahmen’s party one day, and live happily after ! What can be so motivating in life where you get millions dollars easily without worrying about doing your job, whether you perform or not, because end of day, you just gonna tell this simple answer to the public. The answer to citizen’s question is one simple answer: NO REPLY.

    Why is ERP increase to 11pm => NO REPLY, you mean you get traffic congestion at this time ? Who using ERP at night ? U means the ghostriders ?
    Is gahmen justified high pay, what performance statistic is there ? NO REPLY
    What happen to ShinCorpse now ? NO REPLY
    What happen to New South Wales university investment ? NO REPLY
    etc

  5. Kaffein said

    Well Raymond Chua, you have the 66.6% to thank. Or maybe less because a lot of wards were walkovers. For those contested wards, either they are too bo-chap or too scared to do otherwise.

  6. Pui Yee said

    This halimah looks so much like a ah-soh housewife, with the same brains to boot!

    and this is the kind of calibre pui-and-pui boasts of: the ones who “deserve” lotsa $$$ and $$$ increments so that they can be persuaded to “help” the peasants!!! Shamefully pathetic. Was this ah-soh ever asked about the impending annuity scheme too?

    All the developments i have seen point to an unviable future for singaporeans e.g. shincorpse, edb, nkf, annuity, barclay, gst, minitoots’ $$$ increments etc etc. emigrate, or at least get a pr while you can!

    if not, you can always de-stress like me: go shopping at CENTREPOINT this saturday afternoon, IN BLACK. the color is slimming, i’m told.

  7. James Chia said

    With slogans like “Staying Together, Moving Ahead”, “City of Possibilities”, “Punggol 21 Plus” etc, one really wonder if we can really hope for a better future for our future generations with the events that have happened: Ministers’ Pay Hikes, GST Hikes, Annuities for Peasants but Pensions for Ministers, Very frequent Transport Cost Hikes, etc. MPs like Halimah who is also the Asst S-G of NTUC do not even know that ministers DO have pensions. Do you expect the uninformed commoners to even know this? They will just be blinded by those election gimmicks and continue to support them without knowing the real truths and the consequences of them doing so. Sad future for Singapore.

  8. Fire Phoenix said

    This remind me of ” V for Vendetta Televised Speech” …
    Pls Go to youtube.com or google to search for following link and listen to it

  9. scb said

    Oh boy!! If You want to believe in them, it is You! that are at fault and not THOSE GIVING WRONG AND MISLEADING INFORMATIONS. BUT You guys are smarter than the Ruling Elites, how come ah?

  10. Like the nicol highway collapse, government leaders knew that the minister in charge has failed to submit structural calculation to BCD for approval and issuing of permit to commence work in contravention of the amended Building Control Act which requires such submission for safety purpose after the Hotel New World Collapse.

    Nevertheless they the LTA and minister in charge prosecuted the contractor who were accused of not submitting such requirements for approval or not doing enough due diligence.

    The court did not ask a single question why the amended Building Control regulations were not complied by minister and LTA.

    Lately after the Nicol Highway collapse the BCD then directed that all work site must comply with structural checking on cofferdam and other shoring protection measures before commencement of work. Why did LTA act only after such collapse.

    Now the same thing is happening with Ministers pretending not to know that under retirement schemes pensions were payable only when salaries were below market values with pensions serving as make-up remunerations.

    Now the ministers despite getting above-market salaries are being paid pensions or given free lunches which the ordinary citizens were being told no one should expect.

    This is in contravention of the retirement schemes previously approved by parliament.

    Because the ministers have the political power to keep quiet and not answer to such queries of breaches of laws and regulations so they will eventually get away with wrong doings.

    Even if ministers know that Halimah was faulted by the people the ministers would not do anything as has happened in Hotel New World or Nicol Highway as no one under the existing system of government is able to check on such NKF wrong doings and they will just carry on with such may be for another 40 years.

  11. RaymondChua said

    “Why did LTA act only after such collapse.”
    This really remind me of the auditor general who suddenly spring into action after EDB’s failed investment in NSW, and these EDB is not even audit for 4 decades ! Now, what’s the verdict ? Answer: NO REPLY.

    “Even if ministers know that Halimah was faulted by the people the ministers would not do anything as has happened in Hotel New World or Nicol Highway as no one under the existing system of government is able to check on such NKF wrong doings and they will just carry on with such may be for another 40 years.”

    For these, we know that the gahmen are helping each other to cover up backside, and shift blame to outsider or to the citizen. With gahmen in full cooperation with each other, the future of Singapore is bleak.
    Recall the case, that it take a gahmen against gahmen to expose the NKF scam. If gahmen are helping among themselves, it is the citizen that will suffer because ultimately, the citizen bear the consequences of these gahmen’s action.

    Perhaps now the gahmen are wiser not to step and kill each other, in other words, mind their own business.

  12. scb said

    The Chinese Saying ‘kuankuan xianghu’, meaning (high ranking) officials protecting and helping (petting and patting) each other has reason to remain in vogue(in fashion) forever.

  13. So it has been proven over and over again that the talents often talked about which are worth millions are talents which would at the end be one of them to help cover up wrong doings instead of talents which offered real solutions to problems.

  14. shoestring said

    Ah, yes, the EDB and UNSW. I wonder if there is any link to the new 4th university.

  15. RaymondChua said

    shoestring , you forget about EDB’s major investment on ACCS which turn out to be scam and send Victor Tan,ACCS’s Founder to jail. It is unbelieveable that EDB is a major investor and that given that gov ppl are paranoid at control, and EDB did not uncover anything wrong with ACCS, and manage to offload before the scam is exposed when share price is high.

    Is there any correlationship between EDB and scam ? I don’t have any answer but consider so many events in the past remain unanswered and unknown, what make us think the same think did not happen to HDB ?

  16. Lai CF said

    There is a grain of truth in it.
    Int eh 80s, civil servants were given a choice of retaining pension scheme or opt for CPF scheme.

    And those in Singapore Armed Force and Polcie Force are on a PEnsion Scheme such that upon retirement of 45-year old, you collect 50% of your last pay (I think) for life.

    Similarly, those lucky civil servants (especially Division 1 and above) are paid a lumpsum for joining the “privatised” company doing the same jobs. I udnerstnad they maybe some other codnitions such as must stay..say for 3 or 5 years before opting to collect the “lumpsum”….or to “leave” the Civil Servcie to join the “privatised” company.

    The other part she forgot to mention is:

    How many Civil Servants, including ministers and MR4 grade, opt to stay with the Pension Scheme?

    Put it this way, who in his right mind (except maybe to migrate) will ever opt fro CPF Scheme whereas Pension Scheme is so much more “lucrative” as Lee Hsein Loong and New team projected that SIngpaoreans wil live longer to the tune that by 2012….SIngpaoreans need to “pay” for the privilege of living to 85-year old and beyond.

    And if Halimah can produce statistic to prove Lee Hsien Loong wrong and idneed 500,000 NTUC memebrs need help in annuity, then I will say she is doing her job as a NTUC leader; and not simply because she is a PAP MP and need to toe the Party Line.

  17. shoestring said

    RaymondChua, I have short memory lah. But I am beginning to wonder why lately it seems every major investment by our government has gone wrong, losing tons of taxpayers’ money. The latest being Barclays? And the losses happen almost always soon after we have invested.

    I am beginning to wonder who are the ultimate ones who have benefitted from the losses. It is a pity the government is so tight lipped because that will only fuel more speculation and conspiracy theories. It’s one of the ways people try to make sense of what they don’t know or understand.

  18. RaymondChua said

    The answer is perhaps gahmen goes for short-term gain more than long terms gain as long as it make money fast.

    If gov is clean, then they should let the public know, after all Singaporean is the major shareholder of the country’s asset not PAP. consider that PAP control the media to distract failure and celebrate their so-called success, no wonder we people always feel oppressed !

    *Comments edited for pointless rambling.

  19. scb said

    Mr RaymondChua; they love money, but, money is not superior to happiness, peace of mind and good health!

  20. RaymondChua said

    Scb, the leaders doesn’t know what come their way, so the only comfort they seek is acquiring asset and money as much as possible in hope they can buy them happiness in future. They are just as delusion as we are.

  21. RaymondChua said

    shoestring :
    ‘ But I am beginning to wonder why lately it seems every major investment by our government has gone wrong, losing tons of taxpayers’ money. The latest being Barclays? And the losses happen almost always soon after we have invested.’

    The most likely answer i conjure is that the gov think that many countries is out to destroy Singapore and PAP’s regime just like gov think that citizen’s power threaten its existence. And so eager to invest heavily in other countries’s financial and communication industry and to be major players in those areas. In other word, by controlling those important ‘life tube’ of other countries, they are essentially securing the fate of Singapore.

    However, it come at enormous risk of losing investment, but gov think that it is better to lose investment than to lose Singapore and it is better to lose citizen then to lose control of Singapore.

  22. Sg is my home said

    <>

    This remind me of something, some time back Mr Goh mention about about PM lee being a brave leader that is looking at the annunity issuse which is a problem only 15 years later, etc etc. At that time i was already thinking there is a hidden message based on his tone and mannerism.

    Now i know the hidden message.

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