Kaching! Kaching! Kaching!
Ever wondered how those multi-million dollar ministerial salaries are calculated? Well, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has spilled the beans in the 2015 Committee of Supply (COS) debate in Parliament.
The government drew up some ground rules as to how a minister’s salary should be like. The opposition presence in Parliament, the Workers’ Party, had also agreed with these guidelines in the 2012 COS debate.
1. Salaries must be “competitive”
This loosely translates to the idea that salaries must be high. Like really high, since Singaporeans are so competitive.
2. Salaries must have the element of “sacrifices”
The guiding principle of what political service means is to make sacrifices. Ministers are politicians right? Hence, their salary formula must have some discount somewhere.
3. Salaries must be clean…
…and have “no hidden perks”. We’re not too sure what that means. Does it mean that no matter how many times Tan Chuan-Jin raises his hand in Parliament, he still gets paid the same? Or is it actually a hidden warning to stay away from corruption?
Tell me the formula now
Step 1: A wild Minister enters the political arena and joins a category known as MR4. This is the “entry-level”. In army terms, he would be known as a “recruit”.
Step 2: It’s payday! The wild Minister receives his salary of $1.1 million that is already inclusive of bonuses. Without these bonuses, the wild Minister will earn $715k.
Ministerial salaries are pegged to the median income of the top 1000 earning Singaporean citizens. Given that Singapore has such a high proportion of millionaires, it is little wonder as to why our ministers get to earn multi-million dollar salaries too. But since political service demands sacrifice, the pegged amount is further discounted by 40%.
“We did not increase our salaries even when we could”
According to Teo, the pegged amount had actually increased by 3% over the last three years. This means that the wild Minister as mentioned above could have actually earned $1.2 million instead of $1.1 million, an impressive chop of $100,000. However, ministerial salaries have not changed accordingly.
“The formula has remained stable and has worked well.”
“We must continue to keep wages in the Public Service realistic.”
-Teo Chee Hean
Quick fact: The Prime Minister earns $2.2 million (after a 36% cut effective from 2012) and the President earns $1.54 million (after a 51% cut).
We would smile even wider if we were in Tony Tan’s shoes. $_$