No Pay Increments For Politicians Over Past Three Years

The sizes of politicians’ pay cheques have not changed in the past three years, although the salary benchmark for an entry-level minister last year was about 9 per cent higher than 2011 levels.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister-in-charge of the Civil Service Teo Chee Hean told the House yesterday the 2011 annual salary norm of S$1.1 million was kept because changes in the benchmark have been “moderate” — it moved up in two years and down in one, resulting in an overall annual increase of 3 per cent.

While a ministerial salaries committee recommended the salary framework be reviewed every five years, Mr Teo said “we can continue to adjust salaries within this framework should there be a change in overall salary levels in the coming years”, given that things have been stable and the framework remains valid.

He was responding to a question from Mr Edwin Tong (Moulmein-Kallang) at the Committee of Supply debate for the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday about how the framework proposed by the committee had been applied and how the benchmark had moved.

The benchmark for politicians’ pay is based on the median income of the top 1,000 earners who are Singapore citizens, with a 40 per cent discount to reflect the ethos of political service, as recommended by a ministerial salaries committee appointed in May 2011 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

This benchmark for an entry-level minister, also called the MR4 benchmark, includes all salary components including individual performance bonuses.

The MR4 benchmark for last year was S$1.2 million, but the MR4 annual salary norm was kept at S$1.1 million, said Mr Teo.

In January 2012, the ministerial salaries committee led by charity-sector veteran Gerard Ee had proposed linking the salary framework and National Bonus to the socio-economic progress of average and lower-income Singaporeans.

Its recommendations, which were backdated to May 2011, included the removal of the pension scheme for politicians.

Yesterday, Mr Teo said Singapore must continue to keep wages in the Public Service realistic and strike a balance between recognising the ethos of political service and providing a fair salary.

This would ensure a flow of able and committed leaders into the Government, he added.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *