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Legitimized Corruption - Have Singapore Ministers/President No Shame?

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  • Mellanie Hewlitt
    The latest round of pay-hikes for the Singapore President begs the following question: Have Singaporeans elected political leaders who reflect their own
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 26, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      The latest round of pay-hikes for the Singapore President begs the following question:

      "Have Singaporeans elected political leaders who reflect their own values, or are Singapore's political leaders prostituting a once noble profession?"

      We circulate below a previous letter from a reader on this subject matter. Read on and decide for yourselves


      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/1360

      From: Julie Rogers
      To: Singapore Review
      27 October 2004

      Does Inequality Make You Sick? S'pore ministers salaries

      Hi, I pondered over Catherine Lim's article "PAP and the people: A return of
      disaffection?"
      (see: http://www.singapore21.org.sg/art_disaffection.html#debate1)

      Until recently I knew next to nothing about Singapore so it is a revelation
      that my first introduction to this little speck is through various discussions on the internet about Ministerial Salaries.

      Quite frankly I am rather appalled by the fact that ministers in your country
      can earn upwards of USD 1 million. Any officer of the state is apublic servant and this was a once noble and honourable calling. In the civilised world, persons assume this office because they want personally to contribute to the well being of the country. Self sacrifice and altruism are essential hallmarks for a public office holder and the minister must be ready and willing to make these personal sacrifices.

      If the heart is not in this noble service, then it will be wasted effort.
      Money should not be an issue at all and if it is, then your "elected leaders"
      have very ill-placed priorities and are obviously in it for the wrong reasons.

      Even if we were to overlook the misplaced financial motives of your ministers,
      the sheer gulf in income disparity between ministerial salaries and those of
      the working class will create a huge irreconcilable dichord and disenchantment
      with any normal voting public. (A valid point in Catherine Lim's article)

      But I am told that Singapore is a democracy with elected leaders! So I have to
      assume that Singapore must have a very unique "voting public" which is able to
      silently and willingly take all this in their stride. Singaporeans should take
      note here that Who they vote for and who they elect is a reflection of their
      own core value systems and the undeniable fact remains that Singaporeans have
      elected a group of Leaders who are eminently pre-occupied with escalating their
      on salaries.

      I for one will never be able to accept this unequal state of affairs if ever it
      was my lot. And thank goodness it isn't for I will never be able to sleep
      soundly at nights knowing that the fate, future and well being of my country
      are in the hands of a bunch of financially motivated hired mercenaries.

      Below is a further write-up of some of the social ills that a huge income
      disparity can create. There is an old saying that the most efficient form of
      governance is a Monarchy, but this assumes the Monarch has the same priorities
      and agenda as the people he rules. Is this the case with Singapore's Monarchy?

      I repeat that who you elect is a mirror image of your own core values and
      Singaporeans have to ask themselves whether their current leaders who require
      million dollar salaries to be in office, have the same value systems as the
      voters who elected them.

      Lastly, I have also copied in Guniess World of Records to see if this unique
      feature of your country will earn it a place in the world record books.

      Julie Rogers

      http://www.sallysatelmd.com/html/a-ws1.html

      --- In Sg_Review@yahoogroups.com, Sg_Review-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      wrote:

      Singapore's State Endorsed Corruption.

      http://forums.delphiforums.com/sammyboymod/messages?msg=050.127

      Forum: the Sammyboy.com's Alfresco Coffee Shop ™ Forum
      Subject: Truly Out of dis World Salary for Nathan
      From: (QXP)
      To: (ALL)
      DateTime: 25/01/2005 19:24:40

      At least we now have some exact figures of what our good for nothing
      President -perhaps has done nothing good President - is paid to just
      make frequent trips overseas for no tangible benefits at the
      ADDITIONAL expense of the taxpayers.

      Since Nathan is over the civil service retirement age of 55, and
      having been a civil servant for his entire working life until being
      given a cushy job at SPH, he must be drawing additional pension IN
      ADDITION to his President salary.

      Boy this must be the best paid Head of State, other than a monarchy,
      in the Whole World by several times - President Bush as Head of State
      and Head of Government is paid a mere US$400,000, compared to
      Nathan's $2,373,100 which is equivalent to US$1,455,889 @ an exchange
      rate of US$1 == S$1.63, EXCLUDING his pension.

      Nathan's OUT OF THIS WORLD's salary should be seen in the context of
      Singapore's GDP of around US$95 Billion as against US GDP of around
      US$11 TRILLION, which is more than 115 TIMES larger than S'pore.

      Also China's President - who is both Head of State and Head of
      Government - starting salary is only S$265 per month or $3180 per
      year for running an economy with a GDP in purchasing power terms of
      nearly US$6 TRILLION, which is 63 TIMES Singapore's GDP and this
      would make Nathan being paid 47014 TIMES the Chinese President's
      salary on a per GDP basis.

      http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/sub/singapore/story/0,5562,297613,00.
      html?
      Jan 26, 2005

      House approves increase in President's salary

      PARLIAMENT approved an increase in the President's salary and other
      changes to the Civil List, which specifies his allowances and
      expenditure on the Istana and personal staff, for the fiscal year
      2004.

      The salary will be revised to $2,373,100, an increase of $247,100
      from the estimated fiscal year 2004 expenditure.

      As such, the total expenditure under Class 1 of the Civil List -
      which includes the President's salary, entertainment allowance and
      Acting President's allowance - will now be $2,492,700.

      Minister of State (Finance) Lim Hwee Hua, who outlined the changes,
      said the increase was 'in view of the restoration of the cuts in the
      President's salary and higher projected bonuses'.

      An increase in the expenditure under Class 2 of the list, which is
      for payment of staff salaries and other staff- related expenses, was
      also approved yesterday.

      The additional $48,800 here will go towards the 'higher than
      anticipated salary payments', resulting in a total of $2,425,100
      being paid to Istana employees in fiscal year 2004, which runs from
      April 2004 to the end of March this year.

      Under Class 3 payments, which is for the maintenance of the Istana,
      vehicles, utilities and other supplies, $38,000 from the estimated
      figure has been shaved off due to savings on these items, bringing
      the expenditure on household expenses down to $903,600.

      The Class 4 expenditure, to do with the purchase of special services
      such as cars and office equipment, was raised by $15,500, bringing
      the total amount to $27,000.

      The additional funds are for the purchase of a computer server

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      -------------

      Commentary on Ministers pay cut
      Singapore Review, 2 May 2003
      By Mellanie Hewlitt

      The headlines blared loudly in the 2 May 2003 issues of the Straits
      Times and Business Times "Pay cut? Ministers ready to lead by
      example: DPM", announcing to the entire world this selfless act of
      leadership by Singapore's Ruling Elite.

      In what appeared to be an initial move to reduce severely inflated
      salaries, to more reasonable industry standards, Singapore's Ruling
      Elite have bowed to public pressure and hinted at accepting a pay
      cut.
      Or have they?

      What exactly does "Leading By Example" mean? Lets try to put some
      substance behind those brave words. As of last count, average take
      home pay of a Singapore minister was well in excess of SGD100,000/- a
      month.

      The below table puts things back in proper perspective: (these are
      basic figures as of July 2000 and did not include last year's pay
      hikes or other benefits. Otherwise the updated numbers may well be
      much larger)

      1. Singapore Prime Minister's Basic Salary US$1,100,000
      (SGD1,958,000) a year Minister's Basic: US$655,530 to US$819,124
      (SGD1,166,844 to SGD1,458,040) a year

      2. United States of America President: US$200,000 Vice President:
      US$181,400 Cabinet Secretaries: US$157,000

      3. United Kingdom Prime Minister: US$170,556 Ministers: US$146,299
      Senior Civil Servants: US$262,438

      4. Australia Prime Minister: US$137,060 Deputy Prime Minister:
      US$111,439 Treasurer: US$102,682

      5. Hong Kong Chief Executive : US$416,615 Top Civil Servant:
      US$278,538 Financial Sec: US$315,077

      Source: Asian Wall Street Journal July 10 2000

      In relative terms, less then 20% of Singaporeans here have take home
      salaries
      exceeding SGD100,000/- A YEAR.

      In stark contrast, BASIC SALARY FOR A MINISTER STARTS AT SGD1,166,844
      A YEAR,OR JUST UNDER SGD100,000 A MONTH.

      What these ministers earns in just ONE MONTH exceeds the ANNUAL TAKE
      HOME
      salary of 80% of Singapore's income earning population. Lets not even
      begin to compare annual packages which will exceed SGD1 million
      easily.

      With the above numbers and figures now in perspective, it is easier
      to give substance to the words "leading by example". Several facts
      are noteworthy here;

      a) That the ministerial salaries are grossly out of proportion, even
      when compared with their counterparts in much larger countries (US
      and UK) who have far heavier responsibilities.

      b) That these salary reductions were long overdue. In the past, such
      handsome remuneration were "justified" on the back of resounding
      performance. However, Singapore's economy has been in the doldrums
      of a recession for several years now (with beginnings reaching as
      far back as the 1997 Asian economic crisis). This economic barometer
      is a rough measure of performance and implies that ministerial
      salaries were due for review at least 3-4 years ago.

      c) That adjustments should be made to bring them back within the
      industry benchmarks. Taking the salary of US vice president as a
      rule of thumb, the percentage for reductions should start at 50% of
      current pay. Even if a Singapore minister takes a 50% pay-cut, he
      would still be earning much more then the US vice president.

      d) The percentage reductions should greater then 50% if the intent is
      to bring the salaries within the perspective of Singapore's domestic
      scene.

      With such inflated figures, it is understandable why the local
      government controlled media (Singapore Press Holdings) have taken
      pains to exclude mention of actual numbers for the world to see. The
      numbers would be too glaring and no amount of window dressing or
      creative writing could have reconciled these numbers with a sane
      figure and restored credibility.

      It is unlikely that Singapore's Ruling Elite will accept such huge
      salary cuts. Exactly How much and when the ministerial pay-cuts takes
      effect is not revealed. Ask any man on the street and 9 out of 10
      responses indicate many agree the current ministerial salaries are
      grossly inflated, especially in these lean and difficult times.

      Said a long time forumer from an internet political chat group:
      "First of all the Ministers are NOT leading on pay cut. Workers'
      salaries have been drastically reduced since the beginning of the
      recession while thousands have been unemployed. so the Ministers are
      NOT LEADING. they are only CATCHING UP. And they have several decades
      to catch up on."

      "Secondly, how much of a pay cut will Ministers take? 10%? 20%?
      unless its a cut that will affect their lifestyles, it is merely
      symbolic and they would still not know what it feels like to be a
      normal worker. as such, this is not Leading by Example. Its just
      another bogus political propaganda stunt"

      A 29 yr old executive who requested to remain anonymous admitted
      sheepishly ; "The numbers (ministerial salaries) are a national
      embarrassment really, because it reflects the underlying
      materialistic value systems of Singapore Ministers. No matter how you
      look at it, the fact remains that our ministers are money faced, and
      these are supposed to be Singapore's leaders, with value systems that
      Singaporeans should follow." "It (the ministerial salaries) puts
      Singapore in a bad light in the eyes of the world. The rest of
      Singaporeans really put in an honest days work for every penny they
      earn. And the process for review and approval of the ministerial
      salaries is also a joke. Imagine sitting on the board and approving
      (on White Paper)your own salary increments! Its all a wayang show".

      This also raises the question as to the authenticity of the actual
      process for review and approval of cabinet minister's salaries. Who
      decides on these numbers? Is there independence and transparency?

      Veteran opposition figure J.B. Jeyaretnam on Wednesday, Nov 20, 2002
      challenged Singapore government ministers to take a pay cut to show
      they understand the economic hardships faced by the public. And the
      over-riding concern is that Singapore's Ruling Elite are unable to
      appreciate the economic hardship that the masses face in these tough
      times.

      The growing public resentment comes afew months after PM Goh's
      careless comments that "lay-offs were not all bad", drew a backlash
      from the public with a flood of e-mails being sent to the foreign
      press to register public indignation.

      Source Sg_Review group

      Singapore Review welcomes honest feedback on this hotly debated
      topic. You can Send your comments to the editor:
      sg_Review@yahoogroups.com

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      -------------


      July 10, 2000
      SINGAPORE'S LEGITIMIZED CORRUPTION
      Singaporeans Protest Pay Increases
      Granted to Government Officials
      By SARA WEBB
      Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


      SINGAPORE -- Hefty pay raises awarded last month to what are already
      some of the
      highest-paid government officials in the world have sparked a rare
      display of
      public indignation here, with Singaporeans criticizing the move on
      the Internet
      and even in the normally pro-government media.

      Under the new pay scale, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong will see his
      annual salary
      increase 14% to 1.94 million Singapore dollars from 1.69 million
      Singapore
      dollars (US$1.1 million from US$971,264), while the salary for the
      most junior
      minister will increase 12% to S$968,000, putting Singapore's
      ministers well
      ahead of their counterparts in the U.S., the United Kingdom and many
      other
      countries in the salary league tables.

      Join the discussion: Are civil servants paid adequately for what they
      do?

      The pay raises, which follow a two-year pay freeze, come at a time
      when many
      Singaporeans feel they are still worse off than they were before the
      Asian
      financial crisis of 1997-98. During the crisis the government cut
      employers'
      contributions to the Central Provident Fund -- Singapore's compulsory
      savings
      scheme -- by 10 percentage points, and many Singaporeans are upset
      that this cut
      has been only partially restored despite the economy's revival.

      "The disturbing part of this latest pay revision is that it is
      undertaken while
      the majority of Singaporean workers are still being told to be
      patient about
      their CPF restoration ... . As leaders of a country, money is not
      everything,"
      said Chong Wee Lee in a letter to the Business Times.

      The government brought out its heavyweights -- Prime Minister Goh,
      Deputy Prime
      Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew -- to argue
      for the
      raises in Parliament.

      Five Plates of Fried Noodles

      The pay increases work out to S$11 a year per Singaporean, equivalent
      to "about
      five plates of char kway teow [fried noodles] per Singaporean," noted
      Mr. Goh in
      defending the S$34 million cost of the pay raises for political
      office holders.
      Citing the glowing evaluations by international organizations of
      Singapore's
      economic competitiveness and the effectiveness of its government, Mr.
      Goh asked
      Singaporeans to judge his government by its record.

      Singapore came through the financial crisis in far better shape than
      many other
      Asian countries, but its economic growth did slow in 1998 to just
      0.4%.

      Meanwhile, Lee Kuan Yew and his son, the deputy prime minister, told
      Parliament
      that it was necessary to pay civil servants higher wages in order to
      discourage
      them from leaving the service to pursue other, better-paying careers,
      and to
      encourage bright young Singaporeans to consider working in the public
      sector.

      "That period of revolutionary change that threw up people with deep
      convictions
      and overpowering motivation is over. We are in an era of high growth,
      with
      fortunes being made by the enterprising," Senior Minister Lee told
      Parliament.
      "Do not believe that we have escaped the problems that have plagued
      the region
      -- KKN for corruption, collusion and nepotism. Our market-based pay
      and
      allowances will give no excuse for any slippage."

      High Pay, Low Corruption

      Singapore consistently scores high in international surveys for
      clean,
      corruption-free government, a result that is often at least partly
      attributed to
      its high government pay.

      Singapore's new salaries were calculated according to a complicated
      benchmarking
      system based on the income of the top eight earners of six well-paid
      professions.

      Citizens in any country rarely think their government officials
      should be paid
      more, and Singapore is proving to be no exception. A poll conducted
      by AsiaOne,
      the online version of the Singapore Press Holdings newspapers, asked
      readers
      whether "Singapore's ministers and political appointment-holders
      should continue
      to receive high salaries" and found that 69.4% disagreed, while only
      24.3%
      agreed and 6.3% couldn't decide. The Straits Times newspaper
      conducted a street
      poll, and found that out of 150 people interviewed, 55% said
      increasing a junior
      minister's pay to S$968,000 wasn't fair. Asked what would be a fair
      salary, the
      answers ranged from S$180,000 to S$600,000 a year.

      The Straits Times also interviewed government workers who had
      recently left
      their jobs and found that money wasn't the reason for quitting --
      they simply
      wanted a more interesting job. The newspaper found that some had left
      to work
      for less money outside the civil service, and that higher wages
      wouldn't have
      made any difference to their decisions. Marcus Yong, 26 years old, a
      former
      assistant director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, was quoted
      as saying
      he would have left no matter how large the pay increase was because
      he preferred
      to be a player in the business world to operating behind the scenes
      in
      government. Others who left to join Internet companies said that
      though they
      earn less now, they had wanted to break out of "the comfort zone" and
      be a part
      of the New Economy.

      --Lingling Wei in Hong Kong, Puspa Madani in Jakarta and Josephine
      Cuneta in
      Manila contributed to this article.

      Write to Sara Webb at sara.webb@a...
      --- End forwarded message ---
    • Muse_Alternative
      From: Muse_Alternative To: Singapore Review 28 Jan 2005 The World s Most Expensive Ribbon Cutter My opinion is that why should
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 27, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        From: "Muse_Alternative" <cool_and_easy02@...>
        To: Singapore Review
        28 Jan 2005

        The World's Most Expensive Ribbon Cutter

        My opinion is that why should the S'poreans pay so much money for a
        mere figurehead who has almost no power? The President of S'pore has
        no power, does absolutely nothing of signifiance and yet he draws a
        salary of S$2m dollars- and that's probably US$1m over in US montary
        terms.

        The economy has not recovered fully either. The S'pore economy depends
        hugely on the US economic recovery and if the recovery in the US
        stalls, we are back to Square one- recession or stagnation.

        So to hear that the govt intends to 'restore' salaries and bonuses
        just because the economy "recovered" in the short term just smacks of
        selfishness and insensitivity to the ordinary people on the street who
        has seen little of the so-called economic recovery.

        All in all, the govt who pays itself so much money for doing so little
        should be given a 90% cut in all of their salaries. They deserve that
        punishment. After all, how much more laughable crap can they sprout
        further?

        Muse Alternative

        --- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        The latest round of pay-hikes for the Singapore President begs the following
        question:

        "Have Singaporeans elected political leaders who reflect their own values, or
        are Singapore's political leaders prostituting a once noble profession?"

        We circulate below a previous letter from a reader on this subject matter. Read
        on and decide for yourselves


        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/1360

        From: Julie Rogers
        To: Singapore Review
        27 October 2004

        Does Inequality Make You Sick? S'pore ministers salaries

        Hi, I pondered over Catherine Lim's article "PAP and the people: A return of
        disaffection?"
        (see: http://www.singapore21.org.sg/art_disaffection.html#debate1)

        Until recently I knew next to nothing about Singapore so it is a revelation
        that my first introduction to this little speck is through various discussions
        on the internet about Ministerial Salaries.

        Quite frankly I am rather appalled by the fact that ministers in your country
        can earn upwards of USD 1 million. Any officer of the state is apublic servant
        and this was a once noble and honourable calling. In the civilised world,
        persons assume this office because they want personally to contribute to the
        well being of the country. Self sacrifice and altruism are essential hallmarks
        for a public office holder and the minister must be ready and willing to make
        these personal sacrifices.

        If the heart is not in this noble service, then it will be wasted effort.
        Money should not be an issue at all and if it is, then your "elected leaders"
        have very ill-placed priorities and are obviously in it for the wrong reasons.

        Even if we were to overlook the misplaced financial motives of your ministers,
        the sheer gulf in income disparity between ministerial salaries and those of
        the working class will create a huge irreconcilable dichord and disenchantment
        with any normal voting public. (A valid point in Catherine Lim's article)

        But I am told that Singapore is a democracy with elected leaders! So I have to
        assume that Singapore must have a very unique "voting public" which is able to
        silently and willingly take all this in their stride. Singaporeans should take
        note here that Who they vote for and who they elect is a reflection of their
        own core value systems and the undeniable fact remains that Singaporeans have
        elected a group of Leaders who are eminently pre-occupied with escalating their
        on salaries.

        I for one will never be able to accept this unequal state of affairs if ever it
        was my lot. And thank goodness it isn't for I will never be able to sleep
        soundly at nights knowing that the fate, future and well being of my country
        are in the hands of a bunch of financially motivated hired mercenaries.

        Below is a further write-up of some of the social ills that a huge income
        disparity can create. There is an old saying that the most efficient form of
        governance is a Monarchy, but this assumes the Monarch has the same priorities
        and agenda as the people he rules. Is this the case with Singapore's Monarchy?

        I repeat that who you elect is a mirror image of your own core values and
        Singaporeans have to ask themselves whether their current leaders who require
        million dollar salaries to be in office, have the same value systems as the
        voters who elected them.

        Lastly, I have also copied in Guniess World of Records to see if this unique
        feature of your country will earn it a place in the world record books.

        Julie Rogers

        http://www.sallysatelmd.com/html/a-ws1.html

        --- In Sg_Review@yahoogroups.com, Sg_Review-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        wrote:

        Singapore's State Endorsed Corruption.

        http://forums.delphiforums.com/sammyboymod/messages?msg=050.127

        Forum: the Sammyboy.com's Alfresco Coffee Shop ™ Forum
        Subject: Truly Out of dis World Salary for Nathan
        From: (QXP)
        To: (ALL)
        DateTime: 25/01/2005 19:24:40

        At least we now have some exact figures of what our good for nothing
        President -perhaps has done nothing good President - is paid to just
        make frequent trips overseas for no tangible benefits at the
        ADDITIONAL expense of the taxpayers.

        Since Nathan is over the civil service retirement age of 55, and
        having been a civil servant for his entire working life until being
        given a cushy job at SPH, he must be drawing additional pension IN
        ADDITION to his President salary.

        Boy this must be the best paid Head of State, other than a monarchy,
        in the Whole World by several times - President Bush as Head of State
        and Head of Government is paid a mere US$400,000, compared to
        Nathan's $2,373,100 which is equivalent to US$1,455,889 @ an exchange
        rate of US$1 == S$1.63, EXCLUDING his pension.

        Nathan's OUT OF THIS WORLD's salary should be seen in the context of
        Singapore's GDP of around US$95 Billion as against US GDP of around
        US$11 TRILLION, which is more than 115 TIMES larger than S'pore.

        Also China's President - who is both Head of State and Head of
        Government - starting salary is only S$265 per month or $3180 per
        year for running an economy with a GDP in purchasing power terms of
        nearly US$6 TRILLION, which is 63 TIMES Singapore's GDP and this
        would make Nathan being paid 47014 TIMES the Chinese President's
        salary on a per GDP basis.

        http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/sub/singapore/story/0,5562,297613,00.
        html?
        Jan 26, 2005

        House approves increase in President's salary

        PARLIAMENT approved an increase in the President's salary and other
        changes to the Civil List, which specifies his allowances and
        expenditure on the Istana and personal staff, for the fiscal year
        2004.

        The salary will be revised to $2,373,100, an increase of $247,100
        from the estimated fiscal year 2004 expenditure.

        As such, the total expenditure under Class 1 of the Civil List -
        which includes the President's salary, entertainment allowance and
        Acting President's allowance - will now be $2,492,700.

        Minister of State (Finance) Lim Hwee Hua, who outlined the changes,
        said the increase was 'in view of the restoration of the cuts in the
        President's salary and higher projected bonuses'.

        An increase in the expenditure under Class 2 of the list, which is
        for payment of staff salaries and other staff- related expenses, was
        also approved yesterday.

        The additional $48,800 here will go towards the 'higher than
        anticipated salary payments', resulting in a total of $2,425,100
        being paid to Istana employees in fiscal year 2004, which runs from
        April 2004 to the end of March this year.

        Under Class 3 payments, which is for the maintenance of the Istana,
        vehicles, utilities and other supplies, $38,000 from the estimated
        figure has been shaved off due to savings on these items, bringing
        the expenditure on household expenses down to $903,600.

        The Class 4 expenditure, to do with the purchase of special services
        such as cars and office equipment, was raised by $15,500, bringing
        the total amount to $27,000.

        The additional funds are for the purchase of a computer server

        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        -------------

        Commentary on Ministers pay cut
        Singapore Review, 2 May 2003
        By Mellanie Hewlitt

        The headlines blared loudly in the 2 May 2003 issues of the Straits
        Times and Business Times "Pay cut? Ministers ready to lead by
        example: DPM", announcing to the entire world this selfless act of
        leadership by Singapore's Ruling Elite.

        In what appeared to be an initial move to reduce severely inflated
        salaries, to more reasonable industry standards, Singapore's Ruling
        Elite have bowed to public pressure and hinted at accepting a pay
        cut.
        Or have they?

        What exactly does "Leading By Example" mean? Lets try to put some
        substance behind those brave words. As of last count, average take
        home pay of a Singapore minister was well in excess of SGD100,000/- a
        month.

        The below table puts things back in proper perspective: (these are
        basic figures as of July 2000 and did not include last year's pay
        hikes or other benefits. Otherwise the updated numbers may well be
        much larger)

        1. Singapore Prime Minister's Basic Salary US$1,100,000
        (SGD1,958,000) a year Minister's Basic: US$655,530 to US$819,124
        (SGD1,166,844 to SGD1,458,040) a year

        2. United States of America President: US$200,000 Vice President:
        US$181,400 Cabinet Secretaries: US$157,000

        3. United Kingdom Prime Minister: US$170,556 Ministers: US$146,299
        Senior Civil Servants: US$262,438

        4. Australia Prime Minister: US$137,060 Deputy Prime Minister:
        US$111,439 Treasurer: US$102,682

        5. Hong Kong Chief Executive : US$416,615 Top Civil Servant:
        US$278,538 Financial Sec: US$315,077

        Source: Asian Wall Street Journal July 10 2000

        In relative terms, less then 20% of Singaporeans here have take home
        salaries
        exceeding SGD100,000/- A YEAR.

        In stark contrast, BASIC SALARY FOR A MINISTER STARTS AT SGD1,166,844
        A YEAR,OR JUST UNDER SGD100,000 A MONTH.

        What these ministers earns in just ONE MONTH exceeds the ANNUAL TAKE
        HOME
        salary of 80% of Singapore's income earning population. Lets not even
        begin to compare annual packages which will exceed SGD1 million
        easily.

        With the above numbers and figures now in perspective, it is easier
        to give substance to the words "leading by example". Several facts
        are noteworthy here;

        a) That the ministerial salaries are grossly out of proportion, even
        when compared with their counterparts in much larger countries (US
        and UK) who have far heavier responsibilities.

        b) That these salary reductions were long overdue. In the past, such
        handsome remuneration were "justified" on the back of resounding
        performance. However, Singapore's economy has been in the doldrums
        of a recession for several years now (with beginnings reaching as
        far back as the 1997 Asian economic crisis). This economic barometer
        is a rough measure of performance and implies that ministerial
        salaries were due for review at least 3-4 years ago.

        c) That adjustments should be made to bring them back within the
        industry benchmarks. Taking the salary of US vice president as a
        rule of thumb, the percentage for reductions should start at 50% of
        current pay. Even if a Singapore minister takes a 50% pay-cut, he
        would still be earning much more then the US vice president.

        d) The percentage reductions should greater then 50% if the intent is
        to bring the salaries within the perspective of Singapore's domestic
        scene.

        With such inflated figures, it is understandable why the local
        government controlled media (Singapore Press Holdings) have taken
        pains to exclude mention of actual numbers for the world to see. The
        numbers would be too glaring and no amount of window dressing or
        creative writing could have reconciled these numbers with a sane
        figure and restored credibility.

        It is unlikely that Singapore's Ruling Elite will accept such huge
        salary cuts. Exactly How much and when the ministerial pay-cuts takes
        effect is not revealed. Ask any man on the street and 9 out of 10
        responses indicate many agree the current ministerial salaries are
        grossly inflated, especially in these lean and difficult times.

        Said a long time forumer from an internet political chat group:
        "First of all the Ministers are NOT leading on pay cut. Workers'
        salaries have been drastically reduced since the beginning of the
        recession while thousands have been unemployed. so the Ministers are
        NOT LEADING. they are only CATCHING UP. And they have several decades
        to catch up on."

        "Secondly, how much of a pay cut will Ministers take? 10%? 20%?
        unless its a cut that will affect their lifestyles, it is merely
        symbolic and they would still not know what it feels like to be a
        normal worker. as such, this is not Leading by Example. Its just
        another bogus political propaganda stunt"

        A 29 yr old executive who requested to remain anonymous admitted
        sheepishly ; "The numbers (ministerial salaries) are a national
        embarrassment really, because it reflects the underlying
        materialistic value systems of Singapore Ministers. No matter how you
        look at it, the fact remains that our ministers are money faced, and
        these are supposed to be Singapore's leaders, with value systems that
        Singaporeans should follow." "It (the ministerial salaries) puts
        Singapore in a bad light in the eyes of the world. The rest of
        Singaporeans really put in an honest days work for every penny they
        earn. And the process for review and approval of the ministerial
        salaries is also a joke. Imagine sitting on the board and approving
        (on White Paper)your own salary increments! Its all a wayang show".

        This also raises the question as to the authenticity of the actual
        process for review and approval of cabinet minister's salaries. Who
        decides on these numbers? Is there independence and transparency?

        Veteran opposition figure J.B. Jeyaretnam on Wednesday, Nov 20, 2002
        challenged Singapore government ministers to take a pay cut to show
        they understand the economic hardships faced by the public. And the
        over-riding concern is that Singapore's Ruling Elite are unable to
        appreciate the economic hardship that the masses face in these tough
        times.

        The growing public resentment comes afew months after PM Goh's
        careless comments that "lay-offs were not all bad", drew a backlash
        from the public with a flood of e-mails being sent to the foreign
        press to register public indignation.

        Source Sg_Review group

        Singapore Review welcomes honest feedback on this hotly debated
        topic. You can Send your comments to the editor:
        sg_Review@yahoogroups.com
      • mellaniehewlitt
        http://japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=7&id=345374 Singapore to hold poll for largely ceremonial presidency on Aug. 27 Thursday, August 4, 2005 at 07:22 JST
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 3, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          http://japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=7&id=345374

          Singapore to hold poll for largely ceremonial presidency on Aug. 27

          Thursday, August 4, 2005 at 07:22 JST
          SINGAPORE — Singapore will hold popular elections for its largely
          ceremonial presidential post on Aug. 27, Prime Minister Lee Hsien
          Loong's office announced Wednesday.

          President S.R. Nathan, whose six-year term was due to end at the end
          of this month, has announced that he will run for a second term.
          Singapore government leaders, including Lee and former Prime Minister
          Goh Chok Tong, have expressed support for him. (Kyodo News)


          ---------------------------------------------------------------------
          http://forums.delphiforums.com/sammyboymod/messages/?msg=77981.1

          Lets donate more money to the world's most expensive ribbon cutter!

          Forum: the Sammyboy.com's Alfresco Coffee Shop ™ Forum
          Subject: They took us for a ride..didn't they ?
          From: (CRONYLIMITED)
          To: (ALL)
          DateTime: 23/07/2005 09:44:36

          All those charity shows, the TV clips preceding them
          showing hardship cases, touching music, the artificial
          tears the artists dripped, the heart wrenching
          stories of despair and misery of Kidney patients.

          Then we had the acrobatics by the monks.
          The Crooked Times showed color pictures of tears rolling
          down the cheeks of spectators as they watched
          the monk slid down the high rise building.

          It touched many to give all they could thinking
          it was for a noble cause. Some poor suffering souls will
          get relief from their donations.

          Is all just a part of the ugly system called Sing Inc?

          Why does a system called Singapore Inc resort to
          such tactics in the first place?

          Why the need to CON people, why the need to rig
          competition, fake pricing methods, entrapment tactics to
          get people to pay fines, scare them with legal action,
          need to intimidate and issue threats.

          The rotten state and its elite society has petrified
          to the level of a stagnant cess pool, where Men in White
          straddled around pontificating and lecturing people to be
          self reliant, thrifty, tighten their belts more , accept
          low wages, low pay rise, tell them to acdept their miserable
          fate as part of their life.

          While the very same people were taking home seven figure
          salaries, quietly living in the lap of luxury, paying
          themselves 12 month binuses, called peanuts, wash
          themslves from gold plated taps, then the next day they
          are again back on the track mouthing the spirit of
          self reliance to the confused, brow beaten, living
          on a thread, miserable Singaporean.

          " LET THEM EAT CAKES ".

          Should they, Madame DeFarge?

          For more recent related articles see:

          Understanding Legitimized Corruption;
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/1808

          Lifting The Veil On Singapore Politics
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/1755

          =================================================
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          online communities. Explore more than 100,000 Forums
          or create your own at http://www.delphiforums.com
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          You work. They live the good life.

          The below table puts things back in proper perspective: (these are
          basic figures as of July 2000 and did not include last year's pay
          hikes or other benefits. Otherwise the updated numbers may well be
          much larger)

          1. Singapore President's Basic Salary US$1,483,000 (SGD$2,373,100)*a
          year
          Singapore Prime Minister's Basic Salary US$1,100,000 (SGD1,958,000) a
          year
          Minister's Basic: US$655,530 to US$819,124 (SGD1,166,844 to
          SGD1,458,040) a year

          2. United States of America President: US$200,000 Vice President:
          US$181,400 Cabinet Secretaries: US$157,000

          3. United Kingdom Prime Minister: US$170,556 Ministers: US$146,299
          Senior Civil Servants: US$262,438

          4. Australia Prime Minister: US$137,060 Deputy Prime Minister:
          US$111,439 Treasurer: US$102,682

          5. Hong Kong Chief Executive : US$416,615 Top Civil Servant:
          US$278,538 Financial Sec: US$315,077

          Source: Asian Wall Street Journal July 10 2000 *Singapore President's
          salary which was updated in 2005 from the Singapore Straits Times

          In relative terms, less then 20% of Singaporeans here have take home
          salaries
          exceeding SGD100,000/- A YEAR.

          In stark contrast, BASIC SALARY FOR A MINISTER STARTS AT SGD1,166,844
          A YEAR,OR JUST UNDER SGD100,000 A MONTH.

          What these ministers earns in just ONE MONTH exceeds the ANNUAL TAKE
          HOME
          salary of 80% of Singapore's income earning population. Lets not even
          begin to compare annual packages which will exceed SGD1 million
          easily.
          --- End forwarded message ---
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