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PM’s pay still highest globally despite cuts

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Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong has agreed to a 36% annual pay cut, but will still be receiving the highest salary of any elected head of government in the world.

At S$2.2 million, Lee is receiving four times more than US President Barack Obama and UK PM David Cameron, reported The Telegraph.

Headed by Gerard Ee, chairman of the National Kidney Foundation, the committee set up in May 2011 to review ministerial salaries has recommended pay cuts across the board, with the Singaporean President taking a 51% cut, bringing his annual salary to S$1.54 million.

Entry-level ministers’ annual salaries will be trimmed by 37% to S$1.1 million, with those at the lower end grade earning a starting salary of S$935,000.

The Business Times reported Ee is proposing a new salary benchmark which is equivalent to 60% of the median income of the top 1,000 earners amongst Singapore citizens. “It makes it simple, transparent, and easy to understand,” he said, adding it would make the benchmark less volatile.

“I just want to emphasise a point that should not be lost, that this new system is a much transparent system, a lot more Singaporean-centric. And that’s why we were very careful when we picked the benchmark, that it’s about Singaporeans,” Fang Ai Lian, a review committee member, said.

While designing the new framework, the committee concentrated on three key points, which were “keeping salaries competitive, establishing a clean wage system with no hidden perks and computing an element of sacrifice on the part of office bearers”.

The review board is also recommending an independent committee to re-evaluate the salaries of political leaders and the President every five years.

However, despite the cuts, all cabinet members are still entitled to a National Bonus of up to three months’ salary if economic growth, employment and improvements on local’s income targets are met. This new bonus scheme will replace the current GDP Bonus.

Other key changes made include removing the pension scheme, cutting the maximum performance bonus of political appointment holders from 14 months to six, lowering the Speaker of parliament’s annual salary by 53% to S$550,000, and reducing the annual allowance of members of parliament by 3% to S$192,500.

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