Ministers’ salaries and top earners: Why the discrepancy?

To: The Straits Times
2 July 2006

Dear sir

I refer to your recent article by Aaron Low and Ken Kwek “Household incomes up; bottom third’s wages down” in the 29 June 2006 issue of the Straits Times.

The article was accompanied by a table which showed the Top 10% of professionals; “the average income of the top 10 per cent of households grew by 2.8 per cent a year, rising from $14,360 to $16,480” per month. It is an illuminating fact that the conservative monthly salaries of Singapore Ministers (approx SGD120,000 per month) is close to 7.5 times more then the average income of the top 10% of professional households in Singapore. (emphasis original)

As your own statistics refer to HOUSEHOLD INCOMES (emphasis original), it is quite likely that the average monthly salaries of the top 10% of individual professionals may well be lower and Singapore’s ministerial salaries would exceed these top income earning professionals by an even greater percentage margin (perhaps in excess of 100% or 10 times).

I was under the impression that Singapore’s million dollar ministerial salaries are benchmarked against its top professionals.

How then does one explain or reconcile the very huge and disproportionate difference between basic ministerial salaries (SGD120,000 per month at least) and the reported salaries of Singapore’s top 10% professional wage earners (SGD17,000 per month)?

I also append below past articles which touched on this sensitive subject (go to has been shunned by the local press and hope that you can give this discussion an objective and unbiased coverage.

Yours faithfully

Mellanie Hewlitt

Editor, Sg_Review

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