Ministerial salaries to remain unchanged

Ministerial salaries will remain unchanged and will be reviewed after five years or when it becomes necessary, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday.

The Government has taken this decision because a scheme for determining the salaries of ministers and other office-holders remains valid and the economy is still in transition, he said during the debate on the Prime Minister's Office budget.

MPs Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC), Alex Yam (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) and Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC), had asked for an update on a review of ministerial salaries.

The review was done by an independent committee formed last year and it submitted its recommendations to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in December, said DPM Teo.

Its recommendations include giving pay increases to politicians and various office-holders whose salaries have stayed the same since 2012.

The current salary framework was based on a White Paper on Salaries for a Capable and Committed Government published in 2012, which was debated in Parliament.

The independent committee that made the recommendations for the paper had suggested a review after five years, and in line with this, PM Lee formed the Committee to Review Ministerial Salaries last year.

A benchmark links ministerial salaries to the median income of the top 1,000 earners who are Singaporean citizens, with a 40 per cent discount.

DPM Teo said the review committee found that this benchmark salary for a new minister at entry "MR4" grade, inclusive of bonuses, had gone up by 9 per cent since 2011. This works out to a compounded growth rate of 1.5 per cent a year over this period.

But in these six years, the committee noted, no adjustment had been made to political salaries. As the annual salary for a "MR4" grade minister is $1.1 million, the committee's recommendation would raise it to $1.2 million.

Explaining why the Government decided not to make any changes to ministerial salaries, DPM Teo said since the committee has affirmed that the current salary structure remains relevant and sound, "therefore, we should maintain this structure".

Singapore Politics