Two weeks ago (25 Jul), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced his new Cabinet line-up and the other political appointments in his government.
In particular, Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC, Low Yen Ling was promoted to Minister of State at the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) as well as at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). She will also remain as Mayor of South West District. There are currently 5 mayors appointed by PM Lee in Singapore.
Concurrently, she has the added responsibility of being the “Coordinator of Mayors”.
PM Lee must have thought highly of Ms Low in order to appoint her to hold 3 concurrent political positions in his government, notwithstanding also making her the “Coordinator of Mayors”.
It’s not known how Ms Low would divide her time to manage her 3 political appointments, in addition to her MP job, while trying to take care of her family.
In an interview in 2014, she told the media that the toughest part for her has been sacrificing time with her 2 boys.
“No matter how busy I am, I try my best to make time for dinner with my family at least twice a week because mealtimes are very important for us to talk about anything under the sun, for the children to share with us interesting things that happened or what bothered them,” she said.
She added that every time she can’t be home to tuck her kids into bed, she will write them a love note and leave it on their desk.
Big salary increase for Low Yen Ling
In any case, lawyer Teo Soh Lung noted that Ms Low used to earn $572,000 as Senior Parliamentary Secretary last year. Now, as Minister of State of at least one ministry, she would be earning a minimum $770,000, an increase of $198,000 or $16,500 a month.
“And she also gets her MP salary of $16,000,” added Soh Lung. “I don’t know if she also receives $660,000 from the People’s Association as Mayor.”
“How many people can get a pay rise of $16,500? Would she donate her enhanced salary to activities of the People’s Association?” asked Soh Lung.
As for opposition MP Pritam Singh, he has said that he would set aside half the pay increase he gets as Leader of the Opposition for donations to his party, residents and charities. After income tax deductions, the amount works out to be about $96,000 of his $385,000 annual salary.