At a committee of supply debate in parliament, Teo Chee Hean had this to say of the much contested subject of ministerial salaries: Public service salaries need to be kept “realistic”, while striking a balance between the ethos of sacrifice in the Public Service and paying a fair salary.

In January 2012, Teo had rounded up the parliamentary debates over ministerial salaries in parliament by highlighting 3 principles for determining political salaries. Salaries must be competitive; must reflect the ethos of sacrifice, which means taking a discount in wage; and must be paid as a clean wage, meaning wages should not have hidden bonuses or payments.

The Committee to Review Ministerial Salaries then had recommended that Ministers at the entry-level MR4 benchmark be paid $1.1 million, which is an annual salary cut of 37%. The prime minister’s salary was reduced by 36% and the President’s was cut by 51%. Ministerial pensions were also removed.

The MR4 salary was benchmarked against the median income of the top 1,000 earners among Singapore citizens but with a 40% discount.

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