Thursday, March 3, 2011

Real World Salaries

DPM Teo Chee Hean must have a different concept of performance when he expanded on how salaries of Civil Servants rode on the mysterious GDP statistic which seems to go up and down on cue.

Worker's Party's Low Thia Khiang had pointed out that the combined salaries of political appointment holders had been revised from $58.3 million to $75.7 million, a 30% jump. "Unfortunately, the income of Singaporeans do not grow 30% just like that," he said.

Rebutting, Teo quoted Low's speech in 2007 as acceptance of benchmarking and variable pay:
""While we accept that basic salary may be benchmarked broadly with the private sector in line with international practice, we believe that performance pay should also be introduced to established a visible correlation between performance and pay."

Teo failed to grasp Low's premise on performance: Home Affairs Ministers are supposed to keep terrorists safely locked up, Ministers of Environment are supposed to keep the streets flood-free, Ministers of Education are supposed to keep schools free from horny principals and teaching staff, Ministers of Defence are supposed to make sure helicopters don't drop from the sky, Ministers of National Development are supposed to provide affordable housing, etc. Guess which lot is still laughing all the way to the bank?

Teo refers to a decision in 2007, made before the financial meltdown of 2008-2009. Obviously a changed world is not factored in their private plans for personal asset enhancement. One doubts the salaries of the high fliers actually suffered a 18- to 22.5% reduction as he claims. They may have missed out on the GDP bonus payments for 2009 and 2010, but were their base salaries adjusted downwards when those in the private sector lost jobs and suffered pay cuts? Anybody has access to IRAS records?

In 2007 the politically damaging outcry over the proposed huge pay rises resulted in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pledging to donate his own increase to "worthwhile causes" for the next 5 years. He also announced that he would, by 2011, name a successor to take over in 10 years’ time. On wonders if Teo's selective memory recall includes any of those promises.


  1. If I pose a question to LKY to name me a political party in Singapore where its leaders are so greedy and would it surprise anyone that his hard truth answer is that it is definitely not the People's Arrogant Party ?

  2. no need to go too far back on broken promises. we were told more recently there wldn't be any more 6-man GRCs.

  3. What if the highfliers used in the benchmark made their money through questionable, if not illegal, means (e.g. Bankers, Surgeons)? Do they follow them to jail as well?

  4. LTK's point should be that the rise of 30% is double that of GDP growth. Nonetheless, the government might have budgeted for more political appointees (the PS/SPS/MOS/SMOS positions that have to be created for the high flying political aspirants who will have to give up their fat cat private/public/quasi-private sector pays for the thankless job.

    Still, the CS pay system baffles me. I thought it was benchmarked against the private sector pay at two levels. I cannot remember the lower "32 year old" benchmark offhand but assuming a young "senior officer" (which I believe means admin service) draws $15 a month, the max pay he receives including the 8 month GDP bonus (which we are told is 25% of total pay, or 32 months) is $480,000. That by the way is 20 month bonus but hey, that is only the day's rate charged by our best surgeons to their richest clients, sorry patients.

  5. Our "talent" leaders & their attitude that shone through is that their incompetence have made it okay morally speaking, to keep withdrawing obscene salaries regardless of perfomance. I don't need to tell anybody why that's a worrying stance for Singaporeans.

    Perhaps they equate delivery of GDP growth as achievement, not the # of floods they can prevent or #of terrorist they can catch & release, or # of teacher/student fiasco, or # of patients who can afford healthcare. I believe all the more reason for making sure we the people judge them all at the ballot box on the basis of how they solve your problems at the people level, rather than on how they helped or hindered the thriving of the nation. Afterall, you can keep selling drugs and meet your revenue & growth target without any regards to the lives you ruined with the help of peddlers & drug mules.

    We have come to know our PAP leaders of today are self-serving in one area of their lives, and unaccountable and anti-empathy in others.

  6. All I read about PM's donation was to some Chinese Orchestra or ensemble or something like that.

    Anyway the world turned around from Bernanke's printing press, he should be the one getting the 8 mths.

  7. This is day light robbery and leegalised corruption. All I can say is Singaporeans are darn stupid. Don't they know the handouts will stop and the GST will go up after the election. Please for god's sake use your votes wisely.

  8. PM has been donating "worthwhile cause". Its called the Ho Ching Fund for collapsing companies.

  9. The fact is: Sporeans are paying "first world salaries" for a leadership which cannot deliver a first world standard of living. Period.

  10. I know not of any first world nation leaders who draw such high salaries to run their larger first world countries.

    More like "out of the world" salaries for a "second world" nation.

  11. The Government is truly generous!
    Me am very sure It cares for Its' workers.

    Please don't believe those accusation that the PAP is out to buy votes because of the Impending Election. The Government happens to be the most generous employer because It cares for the wellbeings of Its' servants. Let's appreciate It's ability to make profits and share with Its' employees and the top dogs.



  12. Somebody does not know the difference between "Patriotism" & "Parrotism". Does our JC/Uni not teach critical thinking? If so, what an awful waste of their brain atoms. Enough said.

  13. why do we need to pay >$3 million dollars annually for a President who has done nothing useful or worthwhile during his 2 terms?!?

    dun tell me we are lucky to get him coz he can command $X salary outside!!

    this is absolute rubbish! i want him out!