Monday, December 5, 2011

Food for thought - on Ministerial Pay

Following SDP public presentation on their recommendations on Ministerial pay on 30 Nov, NSP organised one on 4 Dec. I think the opposition parties are doing a great job to put pressure on the government so the committee under Gerald Ee, which they appointed will be on their toes, instead of just 'wayanging' with the aim to justify for the overly excessive salary of the ministers again. LKY had done it in the 1980s, then Goh CT in the 1990s and current PM Lee in 2007. After 3 rounds of revision, it is a path to millionair and retire a billionair just by joining PAP.

James from SDP was invited to present their recommendations. NSP gave theirs and Tan Jee Say spoke too. Interesting forum as I pick up some new thoughts from the participants who spoke after the panel of speakers. I will share them here, as the press will report what speakers' speech but not the floor discussion.

1) It is PAP as a party that finds it difficult to attract talent. They make it into a national issue instead and use this as a reason to justify for the high salary to attract talent. So it boils down to policies and party alignment. After all we have seen talents joining opposition parties this election.

2) In this election, the new candidates are from the army and civil service and they have not attracted high flyer from the private sector. This shows their reasoning is flaw. Then why peg it to the top 8 earners from 6 private sectors? It becomes irrelevant. In fact, one participant suggested that those top talent in private sector would not join because they do not want to be perceived to be going in for the money - so PAP policy is having the reverse effect.

3) Another participant suggested PM needs to be pay so much is because he has to earn more than his MPs. If MPs work full time, instead of the current part time MPs, they would not have so much time to take up numerous directorship in private companies. Then our PM need not be so highly paid. Those directorship could be paying $50k or more each. Our MPs are known to hold directorship in 10 or more companies. Besides, MPs are also still holding on to their formal career. Added up MP could be earning alot of money. Now we can guess how much they are earning based on PM pay.

4) The bonus and variable components of ministerial salary are counter productive as it could affect policies decisions. We have seen it happening already. The emphasis on GDP growth at all cost and taking the easy way by letting in many foreign workers which jack up GDP.

Friday, December 2, 2011

SDP Recommendation on Ministerial Salaray

The SDP recommendation papers is fair and well written. Even with the SDP recommendation, our PM and President are still the highest paid leaders in the WORLD. The fact of the matter is that they have paid themselves EXCESSIVELY. The fix component amounts to 16 months. The variable components can be more than 20 mths. This is ridiculous they are paying themselves 3 years salary in a year !

Then 8 months bonus tie to GDP! Ministers can get up to 14 performance bonus from PM, which criteria for assessment is secret! Is it fair that leaders determine their own salary and bonus ? I would call it 'open corruption'. Just because they legalized it does not make it ethical.

Ministerial Pension

The pension component is not touch on in SDP recommendation on ministerial salary. Not sure if the govt appointed committed headed by Gerald will give recommendation on it. I understand that NSP is coming out with their own papers too on ministerial salary. Perhaps they should focus on the pension part, since SDP has done a great job on the salary recommendation.

My personal take on the pension :

1) Since the ministers are getting CPF, for those who are also entitle to pension, they should be given an option to choose either CPF or pension at age 55. They should NOT be drawing money from both CPF and pension. If they choose pension, then the CPF fund will become their pension fund.

2) The pension fund draw down age should be change to 65 in line with CPF and not the current 55. This has resulted in ministers drawing excessively salary, bonus on top of pension dish out to them while still in service.

3) The lump sum payment option for pension should have a cut off date, perhaps say 5 years. If the pension starts at 65, they have to decide before they turn 70 if they want to have a lump sum. If they don't they cannot opt for it later when they know they are near their end stage. The current system is not fair and leaders determine their own benefits which they take advantage of.

4) Our current President who have served in the cabinet before may be entitled to 2 pension. One as a minister and the 2nd as president. This is ridiculous. This has to be look into.