A rational look at Ministerial Salary
The issue of high Ministerial Salaries is making its rounds again - likely stirred by the opposition as this is seen as a “pain point” for the electorate. An analysis of the arguments and “perceived public consternation” (as highlighted by NSP) reveals that the consternation is purely emotive and comes from the logic that “my leaders need to be poor to help the poor.”
Unfortunately, there is a price to pay for capable leadership. If there is not, then why do MNCs pay their CEO millions? The world of business and government is complex. Being attuned to what the masses want is not enough. One needs to also have the intellect and the ability to not only see the bigger picture, but to also navigate and steer the organization or country through the complexities of a chaotic environment. Having heart, while good, only makes you a popular leader. It does not necessarily make you a capable leader.
In keeping with the spirit of public service, many of our Ministers had given up much higher salaries. For example, Minister K Shanmugan used to earn $6 million per year as a top lawyer, Dr Ng Eng Hen around $4 million per year as a surgeon and President Tony Tan $5 million as the Chairman of Singapore Press Holdings.
If this is not enough to convince you on the value of our Minister, ex-cabinet Minister George Yeo earned S$1.6 million as Chairman of Kerry Logistics in 2013. Taken in context and with all the facts, a logical response to the issue of Ministerial Salaries is that our Ministers are fairly paid.