We want “realistic and correct salaries” in government: Lee Hsien Loong

lhl

In a television interview with Yang Lan, a Chinese personality, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong explained that the high salaries of Singapore ministers were about getting “the right people for the right jobs.”

Mr Lee, who is in Beijing to attend the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit, was asked by Ms Yang Lan in an interview for Beijing Satellite TV if he thought having a “clean government… was that simple” – that “very often people attribute [Singapore’s] success to high salaries for office-holders.”

“In principle, we are not talking about high salaries, what we want are realistic and correct salaries,” Mr Lee said. “We want talent, we want morally upright people, and we want the right people for the right jobs. The most important job must be done by the most capable, the most trustworthy person. If we want the services of such capable and trustworthy people, then we must treat them fairly and equally. We must have a practical system – a realistic salary.”

Mr Lee added that with the high salaries comes “requirements” which are “strict”.

“Legally, you absolutely cannot do anything you are not supposed to do,” he said, “and if that happens, you will be punished under the law, and the punishment will be severe. So this is not just a question of salaries, it is also a matter of the system, an issue of transparency, and our whole culture.”

Singapore’s ministers’ salary have always been a lightning rod which attracted intense public anger since it was benchmarked to top earners in the private sector.

Prior to the general election of 2011, Mr Lee’s own salary was S$3.76 million, the highest in the world for a public official.

His ministers were similarly highly paid, in the region of millions of dollars each year.

The issue came to a head in the 2011 general election, with opposition parties and voters castigating Lee’s government for being greedy and being out of touch with the everyday reality of the average Singaporean who was struggling with daily living.

Added to this were various government policy failures, including a declining birth rate, an increasing foreigner population, skyrocketing housing prices, depressed wages, constant flooding around Singapore, rising healthcare costs, and a public transport system which broke down regularly.

Many thus questioned if it was right for the government to pay its ministers the highest salaries in the world.

Lee’s ruling People’s Action Party, which has run the government since independence, saw its vote share dived a further 6.6 per cent, and the PAP losing a group representation constituency for the first time.

Almost immediately after the election, Mr Lee announced that the government would review ministers’ salaries. Two weeks later, he appointed an eight-member committee led by the then National Kidney Foundation chairman Gerald Ee, to oversee the review.

In January 2012, the committee released its recommended salary scales for office holders.

Lee’s salary was slashed from S$3.76 million to the current S$2.2 million.

It nonetheless still made him the highest-paid head of government in the world.

The current salary scale is as follows:

salary

In October last year, former head of the Civil Service, Ngiam Tong Dow, criticised paying ministers millions of dollars.

“I don’t know whether Lee Kuan Yew will agree but it started going downhill when we started to raise ministers’ salaries, not even pegging them to the national salary but aligning them with the top ten [in the private sector]”, he said.

“When you raise ministers’ salaries to the point that they’re earning millions of dollar(s), every minister — no matter how much he wants to turn up and tell (PM Lee) Hsien Loong off or whatever — will hesitate when he thinks of his million-dollar salary,” he continued. “When the salary is so high, which minister dares to leave, unless they decide to become the opposition party? As a result, the entire political arena has become a civil service, and I don’t see anyone speaking up anymore.”

After the government rebutted his assertions, Mr Ngiam later withdrew his remarks.

This entry was posted in Current Affairs and tagged , , .
  • Green Matter

    The Absolute Bosses Say – Work is Work! Personal is Personal!

    Hr Policy Singapore – Fairly and Equally, Uniformly Paid?…?

    – Hands-On Green Matters

  • This is what we call leegalised corruption

    • Alan

      To naysayers like you, everything is bad. But to us majority, a little high maybe but still worth the money.

      • 80twenty

        High or not is subjective, unless certain benchmarks are used and lets not go into which benchmarks. Why? Monkeys also have their own benchmarks, and do you know what is it that monkeys used? I bet you don’t know because you appeared to talk about peanuts without you explicitly saying but we can quite hazard a good guess, and yet you indicated its worth it to you (as I guess to you it is cheap, related to ‘worth’). No one say everything is bad – and even I am not saying peanuts is bad in itself. Apparently you forgot a PAP high official once equate $600,000 as peanuts.

        • Alan

          Apparent you know what monkey do! So you are more monkey than i thought.

          I comment based on my own benchmark. So what is wrong with that. I’m relatively comfortable with my life focusing on going my business and nurturing my family in a relatively well taken care off country.

          Please, not every people share the same sentiment as you and the kind that share with me are of the majority. So either you change your mindset and change the government with your vote instead of just ranting here!

          Btw, it’s the wife of GCT and not any high ranking Pap official! Get your fact right before you fart!

          • PikuChoo

            We are happy that you are “relatively comfortable with my life focusing on going my business”.

            Hopefully it isn’t govt contract type business (like teaching english to foreigners) or no (competitive) bid type contracts like a certain developer for bungalows on Sentosa.

          • Alan

            Oh, sorry! Typo. “Growing” I mean.

            No is it not. How I wish. It need specialise skill and thus charges more to impart their knowledge.

            Certain people are meant to do certain trade thus make them more successful than the others. Please do not envy and develop jealousy and speaking ill on them because you can’t be one.

            You probably have yourself to blame for not able to achieve that skill. Then please work hard like the others in your field instead of blaming every others.

          • GUSSIE91

            Should we open again the ‘secret discounted property deal between HPL and the Lee’s decades ago……………..?
            It is indeed it should not happen in our ‘clean blood Singapore’

      • PikuChoo

        “It’s an honest mistake”
        “We did not have the foresight”
        “Nobody knows…”

        And you say “still worth the money“?

        • Alan

          Who said that? Pray tell! Show the script then I can answer! Too many farts and opinions this days! Tiring.

          To err is human! We made mistakes. Different is whether you insist on your mistake like you and your pals always do or you admitted it sincerely and made remedies.

          So yah…still worth the money! At least they proven to work till this far. Your stooges? Nah!

          • PikuChoo

            You fart too much. You need to get out of your own fart cloud as it is clouding your memory.

          • Alan

            You fart to me and I had to catch the stench! So it become my problem.

            See! That’s why you people are always unreasonable.

          • GUSSIE91

            ………..realistic and correct salary in addition of ‘sex scandal’, ‘sex w/the underaged’, ‘sex for higher degree’…………those has happened in our Singapore first world class country.

            Singapore is sex city.

          • JT

            Ah Pek, you sound like you are related to one Nelsonmandala…

          • GUSSIE91

            I am still busy w/the Apec agenda and will respond soon.

          • JT

            Don’t come back until you have compared all the APEC countries properly with our beloved nation, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, etc…. Please share with us your findings.

          • GUSSIE91

            There will be a train between China to Singapore soon……………..supported by billion Yuan.
            Bravo China.

          • Alan

            Dear Gussie91!
            If you insisted on blaming the government on the ills that you mentioned, you shouldn’t even be born! How can we control greed on human just like we can’t control you from spewing nonsense! Same logic!

            Fortunately most of us knows what is right or wrong so our country are in good hands! We promise we’ll never give in to your kind and we’ll still enjoy the life we have to nurture the future generation.

            Mari kita!

          • GUSSIE91

            no problem………..please stop shouting that Singapore is always number one (which actually not).
            All of you should learn deeply from PRC Chinese leaders, talk less and more and more action for all citizens benefits regardless you are poor, old, disable and unfortunate.

          • Alan

            When did I say Singapore is number 1? I’m not like you that always fart out of nowhere.

            But we are the model that many countries follow!

          • GUSSIE91

            what model………?
            Is Singapore is a model of ‘sex corruption’ country?.

          • Alan

            Sex corruption country? Is this how your rumoured about your own country? You are a fucking asshole to do this! Where is your bloody proof and stats? Where’s the number you fucking idiot?! So you sell your fucking cunt too?!

            You get of my way you bloody asshole!

          • Humane

            a-lan-jiao,
            such BIG CASES u also don’t know, u are really the frog in the deepest well

          • Alan

            Who is the frog now? How many big cases? Bring it out? Don’t just fxxking do a one-liner! You want me to research for you?

            Only know how to parrot your master! What fxxking good are you?

          • Humane

            a-lan-jiao,
            u are the frog, BIG frog, ask yr master they will tell you

          • GUSSIE91

            Woahlan…………beaking news from Apex that Singapore control large world bank StandChart got another $425millions huge penalty in addition of 18% fall in 3rd quarter profit.

            Severe loses has forces the bank to close more than 100 branches and more and more cutting staff to reduce its huge loses.

            It is better to sell the losing bank business and to return back the capital to the CPF money and to increase interest earns to 6% to all members.

          • Humane

            a-lan-jiao,
            PM LEE cannot CONTROL his excessive greed therefore we have to KICK him & his gang out from parliament, UNDERSTAND!!!!!

          • Singaporean

            Hi Alan 🙂 … What does “Mari kita!” mean? Is it a Japanese phrase, similar to “Banzai!”?

          • nelsonmandala

            it meant
            primesiter says
            u all MARI
            me and my papa/wife sumua kita kita

          • Singaporean

            Oh… I’ve only heard of “bunga bunga”

          • Alan

            It means “come let us ” in Malay.

            Togetherness.

          • Singaporean

            Thanks Alan, for the explanation… So how does the phrase fit in the context of your post?

          • Alan

            Show of nationalism maybe! Is the start of our national anthem.

            We used to say we sing “Mari kita” for the anthem.

          • Singaporean

            I understand your context now

          • Alan

            Haha! You are right! Just being lazy.

            And we always used “Mari kita” to represent as this is the first 2 words of the anthem.

          • Singaporean

            Oh I see

          • Alan

            I probably been around longer than many of you here in Singapore. So I treasure our country more than this liberals who think that everything west are good without sparing a thought bout the others.

            Hope you have your own mind and thoughts instead of blindly follow their belief.

            And a tip…Samson is an extremely evil one! Beware! Find out about the others yourself!

          • Singaporean

            Thanks for the reply, Alan,
            I’ll certainly observe, weigh and analyst the thoughts and ideas posted on here to be better informed.

          • nelsonmandala

            indeed onced awhile a..LAN will morped into…

          • GUSSIE91

            oh my…………I will forward this to 200,000 Overseas Singaporeans to take note that their feed backs are rumours mongers.

          • Samson

            Alan is a PRC Commie trying very hard to pretend to be Singaporean. Too many slip ups and his idiosyncrasy in the use of the English language is quite telling as well. He is in the process of infiltration, he wants to make himself very at home (says Sg is his homeland now) therefore he is here in this forum day and night trying very hard to turn Singaporeans into Commies too.

          • Alan

            For someone like you who have nothing better other than rumors and insinuating about your own country is least qualify to comment on others.

            You are the worst of the whole lot that make TOCommunist look extremely bad!

            Thanks god TOC are running out of money that Andrew is taking a well deserve break!

          • nelsonmandala

            most of us knows what is right or wrong
            ………………………………………………
            it right if u know u r bein bullied..its wrong when u asked ow high muz i jump?

          • Humane

            a-lan-jiao,
            go & ask yr beloved PM LHL who said these:
            “It’s an honest mistake”
            “We did not have the foresight”

      • GUSSIE91

        Hong kong Chief executive and its Ministers are paid between $350K to $200K w/the total GDP is double than Singapore.

        Singapore Minister pay should be half than Hong Kong….

        • Alan

          If you are capable please take over the government and you can do it for free if I ever care.

          But I’ll definitely pack my bag to prevent myself from suffering from someone without logic like you.

          Fortunately it’ll never come!

          • GUSSIE91

            No worry………….we will after GE 2014.
            The new leaders will definitely look after all Singaporeans, devote their entire life and spirit for Singapore mother land……….and will have eye to eye level to discuss all the problem w/o labelling its citizens DAFT.

          • Humane

            typo error erh? GE 2016 latest

          • GUSSIE91

            thanks……….

          • Humane

            UNfortunately u will see it soon

          • Alan

            Looking forward to see your frowning face when you face the losses! Want to hear your KPKB about 2022 election again.

          • Humane

            don’t worry u will be disappointed, we will smile & laugh loudly from GE 2014 onwards

          • GUSSIE91

            We will gobble your ugly face, flatten your nose and poke your slit eyes……..

          • GUSSIE91

            Woahlan…………it took ST media more than 48 hours to publish Singapore world largest control bank UBS got huge penalty more than $4billions for doing illegal forex rigging scandal.
            It is sad indeed that Singapore govt has joined ‘mafia banking industry’, they should sell UBS to maintain Singapore good banking reputations.

      • Humane

        a-lan-jiao,
        let me remind you again: your beloved PM LHL is TOO season, TOO sharp, TOO brainy, TOO brilliant, TOO bright, TOO sparkling, TOO fast, TOO clever, TOO
        wise, TOO intelligent, TOO smart, TOO reasonable, TOO talented, TOO capable

        Why then is your beloved SUPER-HYPER PRICED PM LHL unable to prevent problem popping up one after another; the problems are getting BIGGER & BIGGER?

    • GUSSIE91

      dude…………the current ruling party is too powerful and they will never ever listen to its citizens.
      It is sad indeed.

      • RD

        “will never ever listen” ?? listen to what? When you don’t have an intelligence ideal to communicate, don’t be surprised that no one listens to you. Go ahead, tell us a good ideal that is unique to you.

        • GUSSIE91

          Try to apply govt feed back group, they will invite you officially but will throw your feed back paper into the dust bin………………..
          It is just wasting our valuable times.
          Having said that, I do not blame our leaders who have labelled all of Stayers Singaporeans DAFT.

          • RD

            You seem like an intelligent person, so let me give you a bit of bad news you might understand: your type of complaint is everywhere… In every country, in every city and district. After living in three very different countries in three different parts of the world, and working in a number of other countries, i can tell you that your complaint is not unique to Singapore… However, all those countries envy Singapore in a variety of ways. That should tell you something, kind friend.

            Respectfully,
            RD

          • GUSSIE91

            dude…………….next time, no need to respond to my not so unique posting.
            What for?

          • JT

            Actually I appreciate RD’s post. His comment is a breath of fresh air blowing into a vacuum devoid of reality and cut-off from what’s happening in the whole wide world. Did your coverage of the G20 meetings teach you anything?

            Maybe you need to follow Putin’s example and catch up on your sleep. Perhaps that might bring you some sanity. Have a nice sleep.

          • GUSSIE91

            yup………..China is just getting more powerful, richer and invest more and more money out side PRC, unfortunately Singapore may only get less than 2% from China $2trillions surpluses.
            Larger countries like Russia, India, South America, South Africa, Middle East, NZ and Australia will get a bigger money.

            How far more the 90x90Km red tiny little dot Singapore can go?

          • JT

            Singapore has become the second largest yuan trading centre in the world after Hong Kong. Enough of China money flowing through this little red dot?

          • GUSSIE91

            no need………….
            there is huge hidden un-accountable overseas client deposit in the local bank estimated more than $150 billions for the last decades.
            Unfortunately it is just a matter of time the G-20 economy forum/US regulators will force MAS to reveal those huge hidden fund if Singapore is willing to sign the ‘laundry money treaty’.
            Nothing wrong w/that, UBS and StandChart controlled by Singapore have been doing it for the last 25 years by rigging $billions forex, Libor, Singbor, mafia money including the powerful Lehman Brothers CDO etc.
            At present, if you are powerful and got plenty of money, you have won the battle.
            Therefore I still support PAP even they are trying to import more and more $millions PR/FT/FW to support and to replace old poor Singaporeans who live in one room HDB ……………the rest, who cares?

          • GUSSIE91

            According to our nieces/nephews who live in Australia/NZ, the latest G-20 meeting, China has concentrated 98% of their agenda to the countries which have a large huge ‘food,wines,farm, cattle,wheats, dairy products, baby foods, educations, financial, tourist, $billions infrastructures, banking………those are for a large countries w/huge resources for the next 350years.

            Not sure if Singapore is in the China preferred list countries of $2trillions spending…………., regret that we can not find.

  • 80twenty

    We have all known for years what is bull shit and what is not. Similarly we ALL had known who are lying and who is not? Legalised corruption or not, who is to say this is legalised, that is not because all laws are frameable as and when they like, within a very subjective framework, dependant on what they want and what they wish if they are the sole lawmakers. Simple perspective, why certain parts of the constitution are not strictly executed? What actually is the true meaning (basing on execution), of the daily school pledge recited daily by the 1,000,000s of school children over dozens and dozens of years?

  • ASE

    “Legally, you absolutely cannot do anything you are not supposed to do,” he said, “and if that happens, you will be punished under the law, and the punishment will be severe.”

    So taking this principle and applying it to the whole Sim Lim nonsense, are those shops doing something they are supposed to, since there is no punishment for them?

    • PikuChoo

      The banks were very lucky. Apparently attempted rigging is not against the law, so they got away scot free.

      Meanwhile, they managed to get Hui Hui and Roy charged under the Park and Trees act.

      • ASE

        Everything not against the law is allowed, everything against the law is also allowed. Except for the poor trees. Think about the poor trees!

        • PikuChoo

          “everything against the law is also allowed” only for some people.

          • GUSSIE91

            Dude………..in Singapore, the most powerful ruling party will rule the entire Singaporean’s life, it is just bad luck for all of us.

          • JT

            Change your luck. Migrate.

          • GUSSIE91

            why not………?

          • JT

            Take out all that is left in your CPF. Sell your HDB. Take bus to Johor. Everything there is half price. Good deal? Or 50% discount not enough to make you migrate?

          • Humane

            Asking ppl to migrate is a damn selfish & domineering
            demon in U.
            we will stay on the side of RIGHTEOUSNESS, EQUALITY, JUSTICE, HONESTY & fight to correct the wrong at all cost, preventing u devils from bullying the ignorant & weak. We will continue to educate the ignorant & weak to see the truth

  • PAP supporter

    I fully agree with PM Lee when he said getting “the right people for the right jobs.”

    And we are still waiting for him to get the right people for the right jobs for the cabinet, including his – while paying sky high salaries.

    And we citizens are paying multiple million dollars to give these people on-the-job training, and they still can’t get it right.

  • Nutcase

    He is telling the world your country government officials are not paid the “realistic and correct” salaries that is why your country is in “shit” trouble. Eat your heart out Obama, Cameron and the rest !

  • Alex

    Ngiam is MIA now. WHY??????

    • Nutcase

      Give face (mian) to Lau Lee, lah !

  • Ace

    If the right salary is required to get the right people, then why do you reject minimum wage and why do employers say that Singaporeans are too expensive? By your logic, if you pay Singaporeans the right salaries, then employers should be able to get the right worker, have high productivity and everyone will be happy.

    For the working class, you want to base the salary on productivity. Shouldn’t productivity also determine the salary of the Ministers, then? A person may be earning millions in their preferred profession but what they do well in one field does not necessary translate into the same high performance in the various Ministries. There are too many past examples.

    In addition, many of the Ministers and MPs are also given additional roles in the GLCs and public listed companies and are paid additional income and not to mention many other additional non-monetary benefits which others do not enjoy. If a person decides whether to come to the public sector purely for the money and self interest, then that person is probably the wrong person.

    Why do we have so many flawed policies and failures in recent years? Could it be that we are attracting the wrong people who puts self interest over public interest first? You decide.

    • Samson

      Before someone jumps in with the myth of ‘minimum pay spoil economy’, allow me to post this here:

      Economy is more about consumerism or spending than low wages, in fact ALL about spending. If people don’t spend, the economy grinds to a halt, simple as that. Don’t believe me, open a shop and pay nothing to the workers. If nobody walks into your shop, you are finished because you still have to pay rent or mortgage, transport, cost of your goods or services, utilities etc. With such low wages in Sg and high cost (esp housing & medical), where is the spending power?

      Minimum wage policy was not introduced until the effect of free labour movement in EU was felt. It was necessary to BALANCE supply and demand of labour. Instead of businesses leaving, the UK saw a big rise in standard of all industries. Businesses who cannot afford to pay more or hire workers close shop (dirty Chinese takeaways selling cheap horrible stuff for eg) and rightly so, others who can do it better, more efficient or use technologies will take over. Where there is demand, there will never be a vacuum. People still need to eat, live and use things. Using higher technologies requires more highly skilled people and that is better job scopes for their youngsters. Sg’s U & Poly grads don’t really go into real jobs. Most Singaporean employment are flipping properties if not flipping burgers, selling insurance or giving private tuitions.

      EU countries do not grind to a halt, they are still constructing (more grand architecture than ever before), still building big engines, still supplying jet engines, cars, medical equipment etc to SINGAPORE, still broadcasting to the World (BBC), still exporting agricultural produce, still keeping their transportation going, still attracting tens of millions of visitors and paying overseas students each year, still building or improving their museums, still….. quite endless jobs for their people young and old. That is what I call vibrancy. By the way, where does Sg buy jet engines and even (Brompton) bikes from? We also need their lawyers for Eco businesses, there is a whole dept of them here.

      Following their minimum wage policy, their youngsters who do not do the ‘big’ stuff (law, medicine, engineering, journalism etc) still enjoy very good standard of living working as plumbers, mechanics, construction workers, road builders, factory operators and even road sweepers. How many of our youngsters can afford to set up own homes with 2 children before 30 y o? LHL doesnt dare show you such statistic does he? Our TFR is lowest in the World too if you don’t already know. These are all evidence of a failing economy and failing Govt!

      Someone considers minimum wage as price control. What a joke! I agree that price control is bad. The most practice of price control is found in Sg because of its Mafia style of Govt (all big ticket items are sold by the Govt, actually even groceries stores – NTUC belongs to Govt).

  • GUSSIE91

    Where is our President’s salary?

    • PAP supporter

      under his pillow

  • Samson

    We want “realistic and correct salaries” in government: Lee Hsien Loong

    We want “realistic and correct salaries” in all employment: CITIZENS

  • Humane

    PM LHL what “the right people for the right jobs.”

    if yr wife Ho Jing is “the right people for the right jobs.” how come she lost at least $40 billion dollars of TAX-PAYER MONEY?
    WHAT HAPPEN TO OUR MRT SERVICE?
    WHAT HAPPEN TO OUR HOSPITAL BED CRUNCH?
    too many to write here

  • Samson

    If paying top money works, ALL businesses will borrow as much as possible and pay as much as possible to management staff. It works for LHL because he is NOT competing and he has no worries for costs.

    • PikuChoo

      Money is no substitute for real talent. We can pay PM LHL a billion dollars and he will still be flogging the same flawed policies.

  • Humane

    y PM LHL dare not repeat his Millionster said: WE MUST BE PAID HIGHEST SALARY SO THE CEO WILL LISTEN TO US IN THE MEETING.

    by his Millionster logic, at this APEC meeting, the rest of the world leaders MUST kowtow to our CLOWN PRINCE & appoint our CLOWN PRINCE as the SUPREME LEADER IN THE WORLD

  • singaporeman

    1965-2016

  • singaporeman

    When every country he visited and of late it seem to have pop up the same remark of” WHY IS THE SALARY OF YOU AND YOUR MINISTER PAID SO HIGH?” It is very telling what the other country leaders or members of their public is seeing.

  • Humane

    PM LHL, what is the job scope for yr RIGHT Millionster LSS doing the RIGHT job as Minister WITHOUT portfolio?

    • PikuChoo

      To look at his own CPF statement and feel so happy about it?

      • liangjwc1

        The one who took many toothpicks and keep for home use from DTF?

  • RD

    Listen to yourselves! Obviously, none of you have been paying attention to public corruption in the world… Would you rather have public officials who are well-compensated for the tremendous responsibilities and stresses we levy upon them, OR, pay them crappy salary and make them susceptible to bribes by corporations and special interest? Just look around the world … poorly-paid government officials = bribeable officials.

    • Samson

      Might as well say pay every single employed person so well that there is no crime in Sg – no loansharking, robbery, theft, cheating, swindling, etc etc. These crimes are rampant in this part of the World. In fact this is the case in countries where there is Welfarism and Minimum Wage.

      On the other hand, if Politicians are found to be corrupt, we can vote them out (if we have Free Press and Democracy), no need to pay them a King’s ransom.

  • Barry Smyth

    I seem to remember in the past it was mentioned that the high salaries where to align the pay to the private sector and to ensure that with such attractive salaries there was no corruption. The thing is though in the private sector when someone does a crap job they get fired. so I think it only fair if the salaries are aligned to the private sector that is should come with similar job obligations. So we shouldn’t worry about a minister leaving as such, we should be able to fire them for non-performance. Of course you have got to ask who decided the salaries in the first place because it certainly wasn’t the Singapore people who on the whole can’t really say much for fear of being prosecuted by the very same ministers if the recent news is anything to go by. I seriously hope everyone in Singapore takes 2016 seriously.