The Singapore government will not be making any adjustments to ministerial salaries and will maintain them at their current level, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean during Prime Minister’s Office session of the Budget debate in Parliament on Thursday (1 March).
Teo was responding to questions raised by Members of Parliament Liang Eng Hwa, Vikram Nair and Alex Yam, who had asked if there would be a review of ministerial pay.
The last such review took place in 2011 and a White Paper on the matter was passed in 2012, which also recommended that salaries be reviewed every five years. Ministers’ salaries have remained unchanged since then.
“The economy is going through a period of transition and the government has decided to watch the changing economic conditions and outlook further, rather than making any refinements now,” said the 63-year-old, who is also Minister-in-charge of the Civil Service.
“We will review the matter again in five years, or when it becomes necessary,” said Teo.
He noted that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had formed a committee in 2017 to review whether the 2012 salary framework remained “appropriate and valid against its intended goals”, and to suggest any adjustments, if necessary.
The 2017 committee – comprising nine members from a range of sectors and led by 2011 committee chairman Dr Gerard Ee – found that the existing salary framework remains “relevant and sound”.
It did, however, recommended a pay rise of 9 per cent along with “fine-tuning of the national bonus conditions” to take into consideration changing economic conditions and national outlook, said Teo.
The recommended increase was to match the respective rise in the salary benchmark for an MR4-grade minister, which is currently set as the median income of the top 1,000 earners who are Singapore citizens.
Another suggestion made by the 2017 committee was to increase the allowance for Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs) to 20 per cent of the allowance of elected MPs, up from the current 15 per cent, in recognition of NCMPs being granted full voting rights in Parliament from this April.
Teo said that the government would be maintaining NCMPs’ allowances at their current level. He added that the 2017 MR4 benchmark was lower than the 2016 MR 4 benchmark.
“Hence, the government has decided to maintain salaries at the current level and watch salary trends further,” he said.