million dollars for a minister seems a lot when compared with the
salary of a worker. But $34 million for all the ministers and political
office-holders is a tiny drop compared with the increase in GDP that a
good government can produce."
This was how Mr Goh Chok Tong
defended the ministerial salaries in 2000. Two factors - at least - are
noteworthy here: the amount of the salary and the year that the
statement was made.
More than 10 years ago, ministers were
already paid $1 million. This came in for much criticism at that time
which Mr Goh obviously felt compelled to defend.
Now in 2012,
the Ministerial Salaries Review Committee recommends that the amount be
reduced for junior ministers to $1.1 million which, as one would note,
is still higher than the 2000 level. The more senior ministers get paid
This is because in 2007 ministers approved a 27
percent hike in their salaries. The following year they accepted another
15 percent increase a jump of 42 percent in two years. During this
period PM Lee took home an annual income of $3.8 million and ministers
between $2-3 million.
This is the classic sales tactic. Jack up
the price and then tell your customers that you are giving them a
discount. This is the same strategem that the HDB and Restructured
(public) Hospitals have been using on us all these decades. Prices and
fees are first raised with the Government stepping in to announce that
the payments will be subsidised. The upshot is that the state still
comes away with a tidy profit.
Similarly, the Ministers raised
their already astronomical pre-2007 salaries by 42 percent and then
accepts a 37 percent cut. Not bad for a deal.
Minister of State Grace Fu implies that she and her colleagues have made
a sacrfice and face hardship by accepting the recommended pay cut. She
said on her Facebook page: "If the balance is tilted further in the future, it will make it harder for any one considering political office.”
Singaporeans cannot be fooled.
SingaporeThursday, 05 January 2012SingaporeDemocratsPrint