Singapore—As Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat wrapped up the Budget debate in Parliament on Friday (Feb 28), he announced that all ministers and other holders of political office will be taking a one-month pay cut.
This, he said, is being done as a show of solidarity with Singaporeans amid the crisis brought on by the coronavirus outbreak. Mr Heng stressed the need for Singaporeans to act as one, which is how the whole country will win together.
“Our citizens and institutions all play a part: Enterprises and senior managements standing with unions and our workers, landlords supporting tenants, neighbours looking out for one another, political leaders working hand in hand with the public service and the people, to do everything that will help us see this problem through together.
Singapore has been able to respond strongly and effectively to COVID-19 because there is strong trust between the people and the Government, and the sense that we are all in this together,” TODAY reports him as saying.
Mr Heng, who is also Singapore’s Finance Minister, added that President Halimah Yacob has volunteered to take a similar one-month pay cut.
The allowance of every Member of Parliament (MP) will also be cut by one month, and certain senior public service officers will be taking a half-month cut in their pay.
In the meantime, the public officers who have been hard at work in the front lines to contain and mitigate the coronavirus will be receiving up to one additional month of special bonus, according to Mr Heng.
Included among them are the numerous healthcare officers in restructured hospitals and the Health Ministry, and officers in front-line agencies fighting the spread of Covid-19, the Deputy Prime Minister said to Parliament.
“Our front-line workers, especially healthcare workers in the restructured hospitals, have shown outstanding courage and dedication. They are out there making daily sacrifices to fight this war against the unknown.
While we cannot thank them enough, we can show our appreciation and support in a tangible way.”
The economic fallout from the spread of Covid-19, a coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, a city in central China and that has gone on to infect over 82,000 people around the world, is expected to be considerable. While Singapore is still feeling the economic effect of global trade tensions, the coronavirus outbreak has compounded financial stresses.
Senior MinisterLam Pin Min（蓝彬明) wrote on his Facebook account, “This is the right thing to do, to show our appreciation to the frontline healthcare workers for the sacrifices and dedication they have shown during this challenging times of battling COVID-19. The government also appreciates the support of the PHPCs. More details of the grant will be made known soon.”
As for Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, he wrote, “Three cheers to our frontline workers fighting against the COVID-19 outbreak, especially healthcare staff who put their safety and that of their families at risk. The special bonus announced today by the government is a small token of our appreciation.” —/TISG