Veteran Mediacorp actor’s pay cut raises questions on age discrimination by employers in Singapore


By: Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the reports of Mediacorp investigating the hurtful contract negotiations 70-year-old actress Jin Yinji had to experience. Mediacorp said that they were gravely concerned about the reports of how they conducted the contract negotiations. Mediacorp further confirmed they have reached out to Jin to understand and address the issue, although they cannot go into details as contract negotiations are confidential.

Jin was asked to take a pay cut of two-thirds or more, and she also recalled a conversation in which she was told the company would rather hire a $50-an-hour bit player. Jin has also been given parts in two new upcoming Channel 8 drama.

I think that it’s funny that Mediacorp are investigating themselves over this contract negotiations saga, and the supposed remarks made to her. Wonder if this would even happen if the issue had not been widely publicised. I can only hope that this will end with a positive outcome to all involved.

According to the Straits Times, the hurtful comments to Jin Yinji were made more than 10 years ago, and  not during their contract negotiations last year.

Mediacorp’s head of studios, Ms Doreen Neo, said: “The media reports about our contract negotiations with actress Jin Yinji are a matter of grave concern for us and we have investigated the specific remarks reported.” Mediacorp further suggested that the hurtful remark made to Jin was a passing comment made by someone who had no authority to discuss hiring and over a casual conversation.

The veteran actress thanked the Chinese Daily which first reported her story for throwing light on her plight of disrespectful behaviour by Mediacorp staff during her contract negotiations, but also said that she has since let it go. But this may not the first time that something similar to this has happened.

Just look at another examples from 2008, which said that actress Huang Biren quits MediaCorp over salary issues. She was the most acclaimed actress in Mediacorp and had won three Best Actress awards before she quit. She said, MediaCorp did not offer her a salary package that she felt she deserved.

These cases make me wonder about the extent age discrimination by employers in Singapore?


  1. A dedicated group had been fighting against work place exploration since the late 70s. Many were harassed, threaten by the high handed law. Victims were always there, but many Singaporeans simply said “what to do, can’t anything lei”.
    This is my answer, “the power is in your hand, used it wisely”.

  2. Every employer same..older u get..pocket get thinner.For some…money is not so important alrdy…job keep ones healthy n brain working young.So be it.

  3. These has been in practice for the past decade or more and the biggest culprit sadly is the government sector . Imagine on turning 62/65/67 or whatever the current age is, your pay drops by 30% but workload remains the same and you expect the employee to work happily and being thankful for a job ?

  4. Passed retirement age. Contract expired. Nothing wrong going into New negotiation. It works both ways either you refuse to extend new contract or they won’t offer you a new contract. Don’t see a reason why a third party needs to be involved

  5. They only pay Malaysian artists good pay. Local bred can go eat shit, because all Malaysian sitting on top now. Helping own kampong people, why you all still want to watch mediacorpse?

  6. Get Real lah….. the payment out there is an issues that our systems did not balanced out to each work loads and responsibilities. Not happy don’t sign.. that the matket for now and Its the employer power of selection these days.

  7. Some companies took advantage to cut employees pay by half when employees reaches retirement if you continue to work. But workload remains the same. Never believe in Retention n Talent management. Everything outsourced to cut cost of operations.

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