Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on ministerial salaries
Parliamentary Sitting Date: 1 March 2006
Mr Steve Chia Kiah Hong: To ask the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, in the spirit of greater transparency and public accountability (a) whether Ministers who hold multiple portfolios also receive multiple salaries; (b) whether he will state the monetary compensation for each Cabinet Minister for FY 2005 in bracket ranges of $250,000; and (c) how this salary compensation compares with the last disclosed figures in 2000
Written Reply (for the Prime Minister) by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister in charge of the Civil Service and Minister for Defence:
Ministers who hold multiple portfolios do not receive multiple salaries. They receive only one salary based on the salary grade they are at as decided by the Prime Minister.
The Ministry of Finance publishes the budgeted expenditure on manpower for political appointment holders in each ministry in the budget book annually. The Ministry does not intend to disclose the salaries of individual cabinet ministers.
The framework for setting ministerial salaries and the salary benchmarks were debated openly in Parliament when they were first formulated in 1994, and again in 2000 when they were revised. Revisions to ministers’ salaries and key changes arising from private sector salary trends (such as salary cuts and restorations) have also been made public.
The formula for the ministerial salary benchmark has remained unchanged since the last revision in 2000. The benchmark is pegged to two-thirds of the income of the 24th highest earner (median) among a group comprising the top eight earners from the six professions (bankers, accountants, engineers, lawyers, MNCs, local manufacturers) . Ministers took the lead by taking wage cuts in Nov 2001 and Jul 2003, following the economic downturn during those periods. These cuts have been restored in two steps in Jul 2004 and Jan 2005, along with those for the civil service, to the pre Nov 2001 levels (prior to wage cuts). Notwithstanding the restoration of the cuts, ministerial salaries have lagged behind the salary benchmarks compared to the year 2000.