How much is the right amount to pay our ministers?

This question keeps popping up in every discussion after the discovery of how much the ministers are getting under the current formula. And when this question was asked, many would want to say $200k or $300k or $500k. But all were too shy to say it. They know that these numbers would not be accepted by people used to earning millions and have millions as their base reference point. The best example is what Gerard Ee quoted, that his peers would tell him not to kacho them for anything less than a million.
They would only be comfortable with millions and millions, nothing less.

And it is only right that these millionaires should not be coerced to suffer by going into politics to earn less when the heart is not there. Or else when they come in they would quietly devise all kinds of schemes and formulas to ensure that they get back what they want and more for the big sacrifice to go into politics. Money minded people will only think money even if they tell you money is not important or not a consideration.

A cat will say it would not want to eat mice. But eating rats is ok. Rodents, big ones, better still. Just don’t give it any mouse. They could even cut out the big rats or rodents into many pieces and tell you they are eating only a leg or a piece of steak. No mice. So the myth will go on, cats would no longer eat mice.

As to the question of how much, no amount is right and no amount is wrong. It is only right or wrong to the recipients. And it is also right or wrong to the public from their own perspective and values.

I would want to suggest a generous amount for our ministers. Actually it is a very generous amount in the eyes of reasonable people. Though it is not right to compare a chiku with a durian, if we want to be generous, we should close an eye and pretend that the chiku is as big as the durian and peg it to the durian’s worth. No one can say that this is not generous.
But the people must be brave enough to tell the chiku that it is a fruit and should not try to pick and choose what it wants to compare with. It is time to gently remind the chiku that it is after all a chiku.

Ok, now that we have a little framework in place and in a generous mood, I would suggest that we peg our PM’s pay with the richest and biggest economy in the world. We peg our PM’s salary to the President of the USA. Generous or not? If the President of the USA can live comfortably with his salary in a country where the cost of living is definitely not lower than ours, there is no reason that the same salary cannot provide our PM with a comfortable lifestyle and with dignity. At least he would have the same level of dignity as the President of USA which no one else can come near to. That should be very generous in my view. Anything more than this would be seen as greedy, outrageous and insane. Period.

A chiku is a chiku is a chiku.


Divali said...

[Millionaire Ministers of Singapore]

"Like the Breadtalk CEO member in his Committee to Review Ministerial Salaries, Gerard Ee is one who knows which side of his bread is buttered. That's why, die, die, the ministers must end up with a $1,000,000 paycheck."


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Thanks Divali.

market2garden said...

~How much is the right amount to pay our ministers?~
or Double the salary of existing amount.

Anonymous said...

Pay Peanuts get Monkeys worr

Anonymous said...

Monkeys get paid what they are worth : Peanuts

Anonymous said...

The problem is , Monkeys not only like peanuts, they like chiku , rambutan , jackfruit and of course durians as well too. Cheh .... greedy basturds

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi market2garden, welcome to the blog.

This looks like a crisis situation. With the current pay we are still not attracting the right super talents, cutting it down to size will only attract even lower quality talents.

Sinkies better prepare for the worst. You may be right in suggesting double the pay to attract double the quality talents.

Anonymous said...

Things are falling apart ... even the so called talented FT Gupta already showing cocks-up ala DBS/POSB account raids from our neighbours up north. Why is the skeleton going to fall out of PAPPY's closet ... hmm ??

Anonymous said...


you see all the media shit and Gerald want u to focus on the salary component of world's most expensive clowns, and nothing but the salary but this is irrevelant because the extra conditions (maybe it is in small print too just like those investment brochure) to protect themselves may help them to be even more greedy with great bonus and remumeration which far exceed the amount of the salary itself. Where else can you find in this world where your bonus and remumeration exceed your 12 months salary other than in PAP govt of Uniquely Singapore ?

Right-hand give, left-hand takes.

Please don't fool by PAP. A leopard never change its spot, at least not a PAP leopard.

We can do better because the more Shitty media focus on the salary cut, the more it smells of conspiracy to do the public-in. Anyone remember the MRT fare hike on how Shitty Media portray that it will help commuters, it turns out that MRT is helping themselves with additional millions in the end. haha ....

We are the lion how come we always kena bully by PAP leopard ? It is time the Lion show some toothes.

Anonymous said...

Looks like this is how the committee proposal came about. Start wth S$1m bucks mimiumum. Then find suiable statistics and logics to argue the case (backward engineering; we do it in working life all the time for the bosses). Anyone can do this (even a super duper trained monkey). But like any thing in this world you need a "credible" group of people to deliver the message. Because no one will believe a genius monkey ....

Anonymous said...

Dear redbean
I thought your insight in an earlier post said it best;
"The big mental trap is that everyone is still treating political appointments as an employment."

How much to pay our ministers?
It depends on what you want the Ministers to do.

If we want Ministers to run Singapore as a business - then obviously you will have to pay millions since you are obviously looking for corporate CEOs.

If we want Ministers to lead us and to inspire us.
Then such passionate people are usually willing to work for very little pay.
Think India and Gandhi.
Think George Washington & the American Revolution
Think Mao Zedong and the Long March.

Different political parties have different beliefs and values.
If you vote for a money-faced political party, then you should not complain when you get money-faced Ministers.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

There are many false assumptions that the recommendations are based on other than just treating it as an employment.
It assume that the politicians will be re elected every election and can regard it as a career.
It fell to the myth that political leadership is a big sacrifice.
It continues to believe that you need to pay in gold bars to lure good people into politics.
It assumes that Singapore is a commercial company and the money is there to be distributed by the top managers, with variable bonuses.
It claims to have a simple and transparent model when it is not.
It accepts that it is right to compare politicians with career employees or professionals and not with other politicians where appointment is through election over a short term of 5 years.
The only thing I agree is the abolition of pension. Unbelieveable that after being in office for 10 years and being paid a ransom, one is entitled to life time pension or option to convert into one lumpsum payment equivalent to something like 15 years.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

After reading the new formula, I will say it is safer and less problematical to just pay the PM $5m, ministers $2m to $4m and do away with all the bonuses and formulas. Just a fixed sum. Nothing hidden, no hidden clauses, no small prints.

And this is still a substantial discount from the current formula. Let's all be generous about this.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

The island of Singapore is TINY when considered as a sovereign territory. IMO the people -- who rightfully deserve the government they get -- have allowed themselves to be too lavish and created a government TOO LARGE for the purpose of managing such a small chunk of geography.

Singapore, a city state, only requires a mayor, chief of police, military chief, a treasurer, and a chief justice.

You could fit the entire lot and their staff on 2 or 3 floors of a modern office building.

Small cuntry lah. That's all the government you need. Whatever you pay them is not going to matter in the national account because the size of government is so small.

This whole discussion about minster pay is built on an unexamined premise: the actual reasons for having such a large, expensive government... which the people deserve because they just can't organise themselves without getting into fights with eah other.

What a bunch of needy cunts and entitlement mentality motherfuckers.

Republican meritocracy? Going, going.. GONE!

Anonymous said...

Better idea might be;

Let Worker's Party take over the government.

And Worker's Party can re-employ this current batch of Ministers on employment contracts (as business experts) at current salary levels.

Anonymous said...

"After reading the new formula, I will say it is safer and less problematical to just pay the PM $5m, ministers $2m to $4m and do away with all the bonuses and formulas. Just a fixed sum. Nothing hidden, no hidden clauses, no small prints."

Unfortunately, that is not the case. What they do, they think they are smarter by putting some basic salary, and then give themselves complex conditions that make their combined annual income even greater. Don't believe ? See how they peg it to 1000 earners, and who are the earners ? Are these earners selectively by PAP, and behind closed doors ?

Hello, Singapore has the world's largest millionaires in the country of 170,0000 , and the clowns pegging against the first 1000 among these richest earners ? Who the hell PAP is screwing with ?


You know that PAP cannot be trusted as they will give you something to pacify you, and on the other hand, have conditions with secretive behind the dollars options to back them up. Are we daft to believe them ?

Anonymous said...

How much? Base on their last drawn pay.

Plus the perks of high office, it would be fair compensation.

In other words, no ministers should have the same pay.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans love wayangs, so they are putting up one wayang after another.

Anyway, they can pay themselves whatever they fancy, but the only thing they can take with them when they kick the bucket is their soul.

Anonymous said...

Last drawn pay before entering politics is the fairest.

If you earn half a million a year, then you should settle for half a million and if you earn 3 million a year, we pay you that amount. No ministers should be envious of the other pay and after the first term, we evaluate and adjust the pay against an agreed criteria.

As far as monetary compensation here, I believe few will have any complain.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

As long as there are variables or freedom to add, it stinks. Don't be surprise by a 25% GDP if GDP is still a factor for bonuses. And just look at things like Special Bonus, Leadership Bonus. Next you may see Hardship Bonus, Dignity Bonus, FaceBook Bonus, Lost of Privacy Bonus or whatever. It is only limited by the ingenuity and creativity of the mind to invent them.

Anonymous said...

Would there be a decent man who would stand out and say, 'I am so sorry. I have taken too much over the years. I don't deserve all these money. Here, is 50% of what I have taken. My apologies for being so pompous and audacious.'