a community of singaporeans

Are ministers already being paid more than their private sector salary benchmark?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on December 18, 2007

By Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the report “Fatter bonus payouts expected this year” (ST, Dec 15).

It states that “Employers are expected to hand out bigger bonus payouts this year… recruitment industry leaders expect this year’s private-sector payouts to be even bigger than last year’s – which were considered among the highest in recent years”.

The bonuses expected range from a low of between 1 to 1.5 months for the Manufacturing sector, to a high of 3 to 8 months for the Oil and gas, offshore marine sector.

So, why is it that ministers’ bonuses appear to be much more in terms of the number of months (average of 9 months performance bonus plus GDP bonus of between 3 to 8 months), than everyone else in the entire population?

I refer to Chua Sheng Yang’s letter “Is it right time to raise top civil servants’ pay” (ST, Dec 15) and the article “Ministers, top civil servants to get 4% to 21% in 2nd pay rise” (ST, Dec 13).

The former letter states that:

“It is a well-publicised fact that life for the average Singaporean is becoming more difficult. With continual inflation, recent increases in the prices of housing, transportation and daily necessities have seen many people struggle to make ends meet.

The Government’s action in giving itself a pat on the back with salary increases, in the face of the plight of low-income Singaporeans, would thus come across as a callous one.”

The latter article states that:

“Singapore ministers and top civil servants will start the New Year with a second round of pay increase, ranging from 4 per cent to 21 per cent. Under the revised salary package announced by the Public Service Division (PSD) on Thursday, ministers at the starting grade will take home $1.94 million next year – an increase of 21 per cent over this year’s $1.6 million. MPs and administrative officers – the elite of the civil service – will see their salaries going up by around 4 per cent.”

Since the increase for civil servants range from 4 to 21%, why is it that ministers who are already paid the most are also getting the highest pay increase in both percentage and quantum terms?

With regards to Minister-in charge of the civil service, Teo Chee Hean’s remarks that:

“actual pay would still be tied to performance. This includes individual performance and how the economy does. … At the senior levels as much as 50 per cent of the annual salary is now performance-based…. For instance, Ministers at the entry grade of MR4 will get an average of nine months performance bonus, on top of the GDP bonus, which can fall between three and eight months, depending on economic growth”,

I would like to ask: including the “average of nine months performance-based bonuses ” and “GDP bonus which can fall between three and eight months “, what is the total average pay of ministers?

If these are included, have they reached or exceeded the 77 per cent of the private sector benchmarks, to which their pay is pegged?

In line with the Government Investment Corporation’s (GIC) statement made in conjunction with its recent $14 billion stake in UBS, that it will set an example for the world, in more disclosure and transparency, is it possible for the break-down of each and every minister’s bonus and the total remuneration for the year to be made known to Singaporeans? In the interest of accountability and transparency, what were the criteria used, and how were the sums derived?

By the way, do the President, Prime Minister, Minister Mentor and Senior Minister get bonuses? If not, why not? Because, then, they may not be as incentivised as the other ministers to out-perform?

As more than 7 months have passed since the Prime Minister’s unprecedented magnanimous gesture 2 days after the ministerial pay increase was moved in Parliament in April, to donate the next 5 years of his pay rise to charity, I understand that to-date, only 2 members of Parliament have followed suit in donating their pay increase.

Will anymore of our ministers and MPs emulate the PM’s fine example, by donating their 2nd pay increase, come 1 January 2008?

Read also: “Annuities for Singaporeans, pensions for ministers?” by Andrew Loh.



7 Responses to “Are ministers already being paid more than their private sector salary benchmark?”

  1. Robert HO said

    1. Ministers over 55, and most of them are, also receive concurrent PENSION on top of their ‘salary’ and all kinds of bonuses, allowances and perks. This is never the case in the private sector, where if you continue to work and draw regular pay, your pension is held back until you retire.

    2. Proof that LKY is responsible for <20% of Singapore’s alleged ‘success’ is seen in the fact that NONE of the Sinic-cultural countries of China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hongkong, even some IndoChinese countries EVER had a LKY as ruler yet are doing amazingly well in all measures from GDP to society development to infrastructure and the peoples’ wellbeing, much harder for these countries as they are real countries, not a tiny city islet like Singapore.

    3. It is precisely because these Sinic-cultural countries are succeeding so well, especially and including in GDP, that put enormous pressure on LKY LHL PAP to be ‘better’, with such moral pressure on them to justify their ‘specialness’ and ‘talent’ that they have resorted to desperate, reckless and unsustainable policies to import huge hordes of foreigners to artificially ‘grow’ the GDP to look good and successful, thus setting Singapore and its people on a path to self-destruction.

    4. For a more complete exposition of how this Sinic-cultural legacy is the real qualities responsible for the true success of the abovementioned countries, see my Commment in the last TOC article just before this 1. For more original ideas and concepts, see my blogs.

  2. […] Rich or Die Tryin’ – The Online Citizen: Are ministers already being paid more than their private sector salary benchmark? – My Singapore News: A simple comparison of salaries – Pay Rise For Government […]

  3. […] Read related TOC article here>>> […]

  4. Lyer said

    Not sure if ministers are now paid more than the private sector, but I can dead certain that they are paid more than their worth!!

  5. blackshirt said

    The PMO’s reply:
    Public sector’s benchmark pay includes all bonuses


    “The total annual pay for ministers includes all bonuses, such as the 13th-month payment, the average performance bonus and the GDP performance bonus and the GDP bonus. In the latest revision, we have also included the imputed value of the pension.”

  6. Lyer said

    The govt has replied in TODAY:

    “The total annual pay for ministers includes all bonuses, such as the 13th-month payment, the AVERAGE performance bonus and the GDP bonus.”

    Notice how the word “average” is so well hidden in the reply??!!! Does it imply that some ministers’ salaries are higher than the benckmark???

  7. idiot said

    need so much money for what? grand funeral, long term hospital stay. no conscience blood sucker !!!

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