Nothing makes people more uncomfortable than talking so openly about one’s pay. But well, ministers just have to suck it up ya (too bad)!
To refresh everyone’s memories, there were intense debates on ministerial salaries back in 2007. Workers’ Party (WP) made it an election issue in 2011, contesting hotly that the salary of political office holders in Singapore should be bench-marked against that of leaders in foreign countries. In short, they are saying that our ministers are paid too high and should feel guilt max etc.
Fast forward to the 2012’s Parliament debate (yup, some things never change).
This time, the WP had a shift in position, and agreed with the PAP Government on the fundamental principles in deciding how ministerial salaries should be paid:
- Salaries must be competitive so that people of the right calibre are not deterred from stepping forward to lead the country.
- The ethos of political service entails making sacrifice
- There should be a “clean wage” with no hidden perks.
When pressed today, WP Chairman Pritam Singh stood up to reaffirm his Party’s position again, and agreed that when it all came down to it, their alternative formula would have resulted in the same quantum anyway.
If you don’t want to read words like “benchmarking salaries to MX9 civil servant officers”, or “60% of median salary of top 1,000 SG citizen earners” (what a snoozefest), there’s just one main takeaway from this whole thing:
After all that debate, if we had a WP Government today, they would also get roughly the same ministerial pay. *MEGA FACEPALM* Then I dunno what they were kaopeh-ing about in 2012. And when people criticise ministerial salaries, they also happy happy keep quiet.
But if you do want to read such cheem wording, you can refer to this ChannelNewsAsia article here. Don’t worry, it’s not behind some “premium” paywall. Or better still, the “White Paper Salaries on a Capable and Committed Government” here.
PSA: Paging for Mr Tan Cheng Bock, if you have any other (solid) ideas on what to pay our ministers, please share leh!