Will following Workers’ Party’s formula for ministers’ salaries means no more ‘sweat and tears’ paying ministers?

Minister, salary, pay, government
If everyone of the 3.6 million Singaporeans has to pay from their pocket a total monthly salary to all 33 of our ministers and ministers-of-state, it would cost each of them $1.20 a month.
$1.20 can’t even get you a plate of the cheapest economy rice, but $1.20 is the cost of a competent and dedicated government that does its best for Singapore
You don’t always like all their policies but you know the PAP Government has Singapore’s and Singaporeans’ interests at the centre of their policies.

Ministers’ salaries, of course, never fail to get that mention, no matter what the topic may be. The Leader of the Opposition is more fortunate. Despite also being highly paid and without a ministry to look after at that, no one pays attention to his huge allowance.

Multiple portfolios, one salary

There are, in total, 33 ministers and ministers-of-state. Some of them hold more than one portfolios but they are paid only one salary.
Take Dr Maliki Osman. He is Second Minister in both the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He gets paid one salary despite being second minister in two ministries. Ms Low Yen Ling is Minister of State for MCCY and MTI while also being mayor. 3 portfolios, one salary.

How much?

We shall err on the generous side and take a combined salary of $50 million a year for all the ministers and ministers of state.

This is a generous estimate because a minister may start at the lower end of the MR4 range with an annual salary of $935,000, of which $607,750 is fixed (and therefore certain) while the rest is variable.

Ministers-of-state, of course, earn less than a minister

At $50 million, it works out to $14* a year per Singapore citizen, or $1.20 a month (based on 3.6 million population). 
Those complaining that they are paying ministers their salaries through their sweat and tears, are paying just $1.20 a month to be served by all the ministers and ministers-of-state.
This is equivalent to paying 3.6 cents a month for the service of one minister, or 0.12 cents a day.
No tears and sweat at all. You can’t buy anything with 0.12 cents. If every minister and minister-of-state stops receiving their salary today and gives you back your money, it won’t even amount to 1 cent a day.  So no, reducing ministers’ salaries will not help with inflation.
Minister, salary, pay, government

How about the alternative Workers’ Party’s formula for ministers’ salary? 

It turns out that the WP’s recommendation for ministers’ salaries pays just as much as the formula adopted by the PAP Government.

In fact, if you look carefully, the WP’s formula will pay ministers a higher salary. 

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐖𝐏 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐮𝐥𝐚 𝐢𝐧 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐭, 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐚 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐢𝐱𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝟖𝟏 𝐩𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐯𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐨𝐟 𝟏𝟗 𝐩𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐭.

This means the WP would have paid out a higher portion of the salary – about $880,000 out of $1.1 million, 𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐮𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐖𝐏 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐫 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐝.

Those decrying ministers’ ‘million-dollar’ salary should wake up to the illusion that a WP government will pay their ministers a fraction of what the present government is paying their ministers. 

WP' formula

Ministers eyed million-dollar salary?

One criticism often levelled at the PAP is that the ministers entered politics because they eyed the million-dollar salary. 

A look at what ministers were doing before they entered political office shows this to be simply not true. 

Many present ministers could easily be earning more than a million had they not entered politics.

Indranee Rajah was a litigator and had an active court practice as an advocate and solicitor, specialising in cross-border dispute resolution. She was appointed Senior Counsel by Chief Justice Yong Pung How in January 2003.

Dr Ng Eng Hen had his own private practice in Mount Elizabeth Hospital as a surgical oncologist. 

Dr Koh Poh Koon was a consultant colorectal surgeon in private practice at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre. Among various appointments, he was also adjunct clinician scientist at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

Edwin Tong was a Senior Counsel and  a lawyer at Allen & Gledhill, practising extensively in corporate and commercial disputes, restructuring and insolvency matters, and international arbitration.

K Shanmugam needs no introduction. He was a top lawyer in private practice who became a senior partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution at Allen & Gledhill. He was also one of the youngest lawyers to be appointed Senior Counsel of the Supreme Court at the age of 38. 

Dr Tan See Leng was a doctor and entrepreneur. He was Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at IHH Healthcare Berhad, one of the largest listed integrated healthcare providers globally, from 2014 to 2019. He was also concurrent CEO and MD of Parkway Pantai from 2011 onwards till 2019 when Parkway Holdings was merged with Pantai Holdings. During Dr Tan’s tenure, the group doubled its revenue and expanded its presence to 11 countries with 84 hospitals employing over 50,000 employees.

These ministers and minister-of-state (Dr Koh) could easily earn millions more than what they are earning now had they not accepted political office. 

*  $50 million divided by 3.6 million population = $14

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