While the whole wide world braces for the impact of price increases in oil, food and commodities, Parliament has quietly moved to increase the selected president's salary to $4,267,500, a hefty 20.8% quantum jump of $890,700. That's double the percentage increase of the financial assistance package for the poor, which was recently adjusted from $360 to $400 per month.
If you haven't spewed your morning coffee yet, listen to this. Minister Thaman proposed the change for "recruitment of an additional staff officer to support the work of the Council of Presidential Advisers and a butler manager to meet increased demand for butler services, and the high variable payments on account of a strong economic growth". We know from Tom Plate's account that Lee Kuan Yew has two staff just to provide hot towels for his aching bones, but are there so many butlers there in the Istana that they need a "butler manager" to supervise the servants? It's bad enough to read of "higher variable payments", Tharman also uses the term '"ad hoc spending". Does the national budget also have a YOG styled "other costs" accounting entry?
Tharman tried to downplay the gross abuse of public funds by saying that the total expenditure for the "Civil List for the President of the Republic of Singapore" will be the same as the revised 2010 figure of $11,605,000. What he did not say to the public is that the original 2010 figure was $10,354,700. Why and when was the number "revised" by $1,250,300 to $11,605,000? Just in time for the 2011 budget?
By the way, while sky rocketing COEs are threatening the affordability of cars for those who need to drive for work purposes, these guys have also decided that the president needs a new office car. Are we even on the same planet?