Recently, the Istana advertised for butler and chefs jobs on the government portal for those interested in working for the President. As with most job advertisements, basic remuneration was also disclosed. This has got people talking, as simple calculations would show that President Halimah Yacob earns about 48 times the salary of a chef at the Istana.
Yes. 48 times. Means the chef would have to work for 4 full years just to get the salary President Halimah earns in a month. Intrigue for the salaries of Istana staff was piqued when an advertisement for “Assistant Senior Butlers/Butlers,” advertises a gross monthly salary range of S$1,400 to S$2,000. This job is open to Singapore citizens only, and after factoring in CPF deduction of 20%, the Istana’s Assistant Senior Butler or Butler would only bring S$1,120 to S$1,600 back home. Another job listing was that of a chef. The Istana advertises a gross monthly salary range of S$2,000 to S$2,500. After the employee’s Central Provident Fund deduction of 20 per cent of their take-home salary, the Istana’s Chef would only bring S$1,600 to S$2,000 back home.
You would think working at the Istana would entail a higher basic pay than this. The President’s salary on the other hand, based on Government statistics, is a monthly gross salary of S$119,900 since 2018.
The Presidential expenditure estimate for the financial year of 2018 shows that there are a total of 26 full-time butlers and four chefs employed at the Istana. Ten of these butlers were hired in 2018. If one assumes that all the butlers and chefs are paid the highest salary in the gross monthly salary range advertised in the recent job listings, the total monthly gross wage for the 26 butlers and 4 chefs would be S$62,000.
As can be clearly seen, President Halimah only has to make Milo every morning, while her army of butlers and chefs works hard to have her well fed, yet what the kitchen staff in total earns in a month does not even come close to what the President earns.