Recent reports show that Singapore’s ministerial salaries have been reduced significantly to heed recommendations of public opinion. The Economist released an article regarding the pay cuts of ministers in Singapore comparing to the United States Presidents pay. The ST indicated that there will be a pay cut of 36%, 35% and 51% for entry level ministers, the PM and the President respectively. Thus reducing the ministers annual salary to $1.1mil, the PM to $2.2mil and the President’s to $1.54mil (all in SGD).
Argument that Singaporeans are facing higher prices and thus ministers should reduce their pay grade. However, how do we even know that the cut in their salaries will result in the betterment of the community? Where will these funds be directed to?
Lets say that the funds are used to subsidise or create rebates for consumers. But will companies really adjust their prices? If Singapore is a global city, we are well aware that we are export led. Thus, companies will target markets that give them the most return, or have a higher WTP for their G+S. Thus companies will charge prices according to world market prices. It is independent of whether salaries are reduced or not.
Another argument is that talent should not be attracted by the high pay grade of the job, but by the intrinsic value of being a public servant. This is true to a certain extent, but let us look at facts. I wish not to say: ‘look at Singapore now since 1965, we have only to thank our government’. Whilst this is true, it is cliche. Thus let us look at certain facts. Does singapore have high risks of expropriation? Does the government come knocking on our door to extort land and money from us? For instance, SMRT CEO is resigning after poor due diligence as a director of a company that provides transport for Singapore Do we have high levels of crime and theft? Do we have affordable and appropriate healthcare services provided for Singaporeans/PR? The bottom line question is; whether the government is fulfilling the fundamental criteria that a government should? Schooling, healthcare, infrastructure, housing and all other basic necessities? -well, you know the answer. So, why should we care how much they are getting paid? why don’t we stop wasting our time thinking about this matter and focus on things that are directly related to our lives?
Let us look at policies, the standard of living and living costs. Focus on items down on the ground. Why do we concern our selves pay grades of top officials? We have wasted our time talking about these things, what is more important right now? No matter how much or how little politicians are paid, it will not affect what is really important in our lives right now, so let us focus on that first!
Conrad Raj released an article that address the issue at hand appropriately and is a good read.