Teachers must pay parking because not fair, what about Ministers’ pay?


Not fair that public servants (teachers) don’t pay for parking like other public servants – is it fair for Ministers to earn at least 70 times more than a lower-income public servant?  

I refer to the article “Hwa Chong teachers won’t have to pay for parking from own pockets” (Straits Times, Apr 19).

It states that “Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) teachers will not have to pay the charges out of their own pockets, come August, when parking fees kick in for teachers in primary and secondary schools and junior colleges (JCs).

However, the fees will be deducted from teachers’ individual accounts in a fund that HCI – which has both a secondary and JC section – has set up for their professional development.”

As to “Announced last month, it was imposed in line with the Public Service Division’s “clean wage” policy, which stipulates that public servants’ salaries be fully accounted for, with no hidden perks and privileges” – isn’t this kind of like yet another excuse to collect more money?

If it is not fair for some public servants to pay for parking and some don’t – arguably, is it fair for the gap between our Miniters’ pay to lower-income public servants like Division IV civil servants, to be the highest in the world?

In this connection, we did an analysis in 2014 – an extract of which is reproduced below.

Increased 10 times only?

As we understand that a Division IV officer’s salary in 1973 was about $100 plus – does it mean that their salary only increased by about 10 times in the last 40 years?

In contrast, Ministers’ salaries increased by as much as about 45 times, whereas the lowest rung of civil servants may only have increased by about 10 times.

Is there any country in the world where a Minister’s (MR4) pay a day, at as much as $3,993 is more than 3 times that of  junior civil servants’ monthly pay? For a MR1 Minister, it may be as much as more than 4 times more.

For those readers who may have an interest in the history of Ministerial pay in Singapore –

In 1973, a Minister’s annual salary was about $58,500 ( monthly salary of $4,500 x 13 months assuming 1 month’s bonus). (see the document below dated 20 March 1973)

salary '73

Minister’s pay in 1973 – $2,500

Similarly, a Minister of State’s salary was $32,500 ($2,500 a month)

Now – up to $2,288,000?

Fast forward to now, an entry grade MR4 Minister’s pay (even after the recent reduction in Ministerial pay) is expected to range from $1,100,000 to  $1,457,500 (average of 20 months to 26.5 months as per the White Paper).

Quote from the White Paper: “In 2010, while the benchmark figure for the MR4 grade was $2,598,000[4] , the MR4 annual salary was $1,583,900, or 39% below the benchmark” !

Since the above is for an entry grade MR4 Minister, how much will MR3, MR2 and MR1 Ministers get?

We did the calculations and a MR1 Minister will get between $1,760,000 to $2,288,000 (based on 20 to 26 months) depending on the performance factors.

Increased 45 times?

For a MR4 Minister like a Minister of State, from $32,500 in 1973 to say $1,457,500 in 2013, is about 45 times, or a compound annualised increase of about 9.5 %.

Dear readers – did you or do you know of any Singaporeans who were working in the 1970s – who had their pay increased by about 45 times?

Perhaps like in The Animal Farm – some animals are (much) more equal than others!

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.