DPM Teo pleased with agreement on ministers' pay

IT IS a debate that has been going on in Parliament since 1970.

But this time around, it is different.

In his closing speech on the latest round of parliamentary debate on political salaries, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the discussion had come a long way from the last three similar debates he had been part of.

"While the earlier debates were marked by sharp divisions and strident rhetoric, what struck me this time was the degree of convergence and agreement that we have arrived at," said Mr Teo, who attended similar debates on the issue in 1994, 2000 and 2007.

"As I listened to the many thoughtful, heartfelt speeches, what gratified me most was that we have come a very long way on this issue of political salaries, and have moved much closer together, members from both sides of the House."

Mr Teo,who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, said he was heartened by both the tone and substance of the debates in Parliament over the last three days.

He noted that Members of Parliament (MPs)on the other side of the House have also departed from their previous positions and accepted the principles and many key features that the Committee has put forward.

"When we strip away the rhetorical wrapping, and take a closer look, the Workers' Party's proposals are in fact based on the same set of principles, have taken into account pragmatic considerations, have resulted in salaries that are at about the same general level, and have the same structural features of fixed and variable bonuses - though in different proportions - as what the committee has proposed," he said.

He also noted that the WP's latest proposal on ministerial salaries differs significantly from its position on the matter prior to last year's General Election and in its party manifesto.

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