Ministerial salaries remain unchanged in last three years: DPM Teo Chee Hean

Ministerial salaries remain unchanged in last three years: DPM Teo Chee Hean
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Chean has said in Parliament that ministerial salaries have not changed in the past three years.

Ministerial salaries have not changed in the past three years, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Chean in Parliament on Tuesday.

This is despite the overall change of 3 per cent upward annually over the three years that the formula used to derive political salaries has been in operation.

Mr Teo said this was because the changes in the benchmark have been moderate.

Parliament had accepted recommendations from an independent committee to review the basis and level of salaries for the President, Prime Minister, political appointment holders and Members of Parliament. The committee recommended that minsterial salaries should be 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.

The 2011 MR4 benchmark for Ministers was $1.1 million.

Due to the 3 per cent upward change, the latest 2014 MR4 benchmark figures should be $1.2 million, inclusive of bonuses, but Mr Teo said the Government has kept the MR4 norm annual salary unchanged at $1.1 million.

An entry-level Minister's total annual salary starts at $935,000 a year in total.

The Prime Minister earns $2.2 million and the President earns $1.54 million.

In 2012, Parliament also endorsed doing away with pensions for politicians.

Mr Teo was responding to a question from MP Edwin Tong (Moulmein-Kallang GRC) on whether it was timely to review the political salaries framework during the debate over the budget for the Prime Minister's Office.

He also highlighted that the opposition Workers' Party (WP) agreed with the three key principles the Committee used to derive political salaries.

They are:

1) salaries must be competitive so that people of the right calibre are not deterred from stepping forward to lead the country;

2) The ethos of political service entails making sacrifices and hence there should be a discount in the pay formula;

and

3) There should be a "clean wage" with no hidden perks.

WP and the Singapore People's Party (SPP) had also suggested alternative formulas for calculating Ministerial salaries, but the overall salaries derived by WP's proposal were at the same general levels as the Committee's recommended salary level.

SPP's proposed monthly salary for Ministers was 10 per cent higher than the Committee's recommendation, but both alternative proposals were not significantly different from what Parliament had endorsed.

cynloh@sph.com.sg

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