|Surely the bar can be set a wee bit higher|
Like the Breadtalk CEO member in his Committee to Review Ministerial Salaries, Gerard Ee is one who knows which side of his bread is buttered. That's why, die, die, the ministers must end up with a $1,000,000 paycheck.
The base figure of $55,000 a month would have been closer to public expectations, as Opposition Leader Mr Low Thia Khiang rightly pointed out in 2000. That's enough for a bungalow, two cars in the garage, servants and annual holidays skiing at the Swiss Alps or cooking lessons in France. But no, they have to fudge with the findings to come up with an additional 8 months of pay.
The 13th month AWS and Annual Variable Component are done deals. But nobody has a clue how the PM goes about handing out the 3 months individual performance bonus. Maybe all they need to do is tahan him, and vice versa. Vivian Balakrishnan flunked miserably at YOG budgeting, but still gets to keep his pension, thanks to an exception made in the no-more-pensions recommendation (appointed before May 21, 2003). As for the 3 months National Bonus Matrix invention referred to earlier, it's obvious that numbers can always be massaged to suit the intent. Now if they can produce 7% real GDP growth rate in the current economic climate, no one will quibble about their helping themselves to the economic pie.
And what is the "kinesthetic check" that Gerard Ee was yapping about? That must be a high-faluting version of the Lim Wee Kiak proposition:
"If the annual salary of the Minister of Information, Communication and Arts is only $500,000, it may pose some problems when he discuss policies with media CEOs who earn millions of dollars because they need not listen to the minister's ideas and proposals. Hence, a reasonable payout will help to maintain a bit of dignity."
So what's the real world like? Former president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises Lawrence Seow said "$1.1 million is rare":
"On a $10 million turnover, it quite good already if the CEO draws $250,000. On a $50 million turnover, maybe $500,000," referring to the revenue generators and not the cost centers hankering for easy money.