by Teo Soh Lung
I have never paid so much attention to the appointees of our Prime Minister than this year. What shocked me was the appointment of 37 officials (including the PM) in his new cabinet.
The PAP won 83 out of 93 seats this general election. A cabinet of 37 officials is 44.6% of elected PAP candidates. I woke up from my slumber.
There are five mayors on our little island of 721.5 sq kilometres with a population of 5.7 million. Do we really need five mayors in addition to 93 members of parliament?
New York and London has only one mayor and each serves a population of more or a little less than the whole of Singapore.
What are the duties of Singapore mayor?
According to Community Development Council (CDC), “The Office of the Mayors in Singapore serves the residents in the five districts. Each district is helmed by a mayor, each of whom also serves as a Chairman of the Community Development Council (CDC) in a particular district.”
Isn’t this a duplication of the work of a member of parliament who has to look after his constituents? And isn’t every mayor already a member of parliament? Why do we need to create this glorious title of Mayor with no additional duties but at humongous costs?
How much is a mayor?
A mayor’s minimum annual salary is $660,000. To this salary, we should add the salary of a member of parliament which is $192,500 per annum. The monthly salary of a mayor is, therefore, a minimum of about $71,000. This is near twice the salary of New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern who earns just $35,800 a month. And New Zealand has a population of 4.886 million. If Singapore’s 5.7 million population is divided by 5, each mayor “takes care” of 1.14 million people.
The prime minister is answerable to the people of Singapore.
How can he justify his astronomical salary of $2.2 million a year and those that surround him? Has he a conscience?
The Leader of the Opposition, Pritam Singh is giving away half his allowance. Should not the PM, Dy PM, 2 Senior Ministers, 3 Ministers in PMO, 5 Mayors, 4 Ministers of State, Parliamentary secretaries etc voluntarily cut their humongous salaries by at least 60%?
The PM should have a leaner team in these difficult times and not expand his cabinet just to feel comfortable and secure. Despite the huge number of officials he surrounds himself, it will be difficult to see the economy of Singapore grow within the next one or two years.
High salaries must be matched by high performance if we follow the PAP past assurance. If the cabinet is not able to produce extraordinary results, they should be sensitive to the rest of the population who are facing very challenging times.