Why the President’s salary is pegged higher
This is a reply from Chen Hwai Liang, Press Secretary to the Prime Minister in the ST forum page. I am wondering why is it a letter in the forum page and not an official statement, say in the front page of the ST. The kpkb in cyberspace about the more than 20% increase in the President’s salary must be making people uncomfortable. So here is the official explanation. The salary is pegged to the private sector benchmarks. ‘The principle and benchmarks have been extensively debated in Parliament, most recently in 2007.’ He forgot to add that this was also approved by Parliament. Who and how many MPs voted in favour of this formula? Let me guess, 82 for and 2 against? I am not sure, forgotten already. The vote in favour was almost unanimous. Do the citizens agree with it? Sorry the latter is a non issue since the people voted the MPs as their representatives in Parliament and are indirectly saying that the MPs represented them and voted on their behalf. The other reasons given by Chen Hwai Liang, ‘The President occupies the highest office in Singapore. He exercises custodial powers to protect our past reserves and over the appointment of key public officers to protect the integrity of the public service. As head of state, he represents the country and advances our interests internationally. This is why it is appropriate to peg the President’s salary higher than ministers’ and just above the Prime Minister’s.’ I think the first sentence should be sufficient. It is the highest office in Singapore. Period. But the explanation added that the President’s job carries a higher responsibility, though the ministers may be running their ministries and their thousands of staff. The people may agree or disagree, but this is the official position. Now that the people understand the rationale, let’s move on.