Peter Drucker a world-renowned business thinker advocated a salary cap of no more than twenty times from an average worker. Using that as a benchmark, let’s compare what our political office holders are making as opposed to the man on the street in Singapore.
Between 2006 and 2007, the ministers made S$59,760 per month while the mean salary was about $3,000 – that is about 20 times of what the man on the street makes. But the prime minister made S$115, 920, which is about 38 times more than the average person. The president made a whopping S$119,520, which is about 40 times more than the average person.
On top of that, the office holders received 17 months year-end bonus 2007. With the bonuses included, the ministers’ total remuneration was simply staggering.
In a blog post on likedatalsocanmeh, a prominent Singaporean blogger said, “It would have been fine if everyone is better off but this is obviously not the case.”
Chee Soon Juan, party boss of the Singapore Democratic Party puts it aptly. “Ordinary Singaporeans are expected to collectively suffer to fund the lifestyle of PAP elites who have failed to deliver. So long as the majority continue to believe in hogwash and propaganda, elites will continue to live in obscene opulence which ordinary folks cannot even dream of.”
But unknown to most Singaporeans, the rent seeking has been happening for years. The table below illustrates the quantum of monies that has been extracted from the tax pool as political wages.
For example, (excluding 13-month pay) PM’s bonus had increased from 12.6 months in 2006 to 17.4 months in 2007 before hitting 19 months in 2008. The sky’s the limit?
Since 2006, cabinet ministers have received a total of at least 100 months’ in bonuses.
From 2006 to 2008, President Nathan received 49 months in bonuses.
Why didn’t politicians like Goh Chok Tong and Lee Kuan Yew retire but continue to draw multi-million salaries by continuing to hold cabinet positions created for them to earn inordinate amounts.
Today, despite all the lapses, ministers’ and top civil servants’ bonuses still amount to 7 months annually.
PAP continues to argue that they need to pay top salaries to attract top talent. However, with abysmal decline in standards and the lacklustre economic growth, it seems that we have all our eggs in the wrong basket.
Time to change.
This piece is adapted from likedatosocanmeh. We like to thank the author for the research and graphics.