Nathan’s presidential pension: the facts

In Political governance on 09/04/2014 at 5:00 am

Kee chui all those who believe that Nathan gets paid monthly his presidential pension? And that is based on the millions he got paid every yr for being S’pore’s top security guard?

When Nathan stepped down as president, I tot to myself, “On top of the millions he got paid as chief jaga, he now gets a pension.  In a place where supposedly there is no free lunch especially for the elderly poor**, this guy gets more free meals for lunch and dinner than he can ever eat. He deserves the chronic diseases he is suffering from.”

Well I was wrong.He didn’t get a presidential pension. And BTW Tony Tan isn’t entitled to one.

In a comment on my piece on Devan Nair, the Jedi knight, a reader wrote in response to a comment by another reader that ex-presidents are entitled to pensions:

You are wrong in your view that ex-presidents are entitled to pensions. They never were so entitled. Prior to the passing of the Parliamentary Pensions Act on 9 November, 2012, the Constitution provided for Parliament to provide for his pension whenever they feel the need for giving a pension. There is therefore no entitlement as such. Even such provision has been abolished with the passing of the Act, which by the way, also abolished MPs’ pensions. As for your assertion that even widows of ex-presidents are entitled to pensions you are certainly incorrect. Remember the case of Puan Noor Aisha, the widow of President Yusoff. Parliament was specifically asked to provide for her lifetime maintenance because there was no such entitlement. It was, and still is, terminable upon her re-marriage.


You can refresh your memory by reading the Hansard. For Devan Nair, the sitting on 31.8.1985; for Puan Noor Aishah, the sitting on 30.12.1970. Note that the Civil List And Pension Act was amended to specifically allow for a pension to widows of Presidents as President Yusof died in November 1970. For the removal of pensions for President and their widows, read Teo Chee Hean’s speech in Parliament on 10.9.2012. To answer your question about Sheares and Nathan, Teo has stated that ” No former President has ever been granted a pension by the State.”

I missed Teo’s comments. Well our constructive, nation-building media missed a trick in not publicising the fact that presidents are not entitled to pensions.

BTW, this post is dedicated to the person I quoted above. I have to be more careful: I lazily wrote that Devan Nair was “quietly pensioned-off” and the above resulted.

Related post:


*Fact that he accepted a pay cut as his term was ending showed that he didn’t think he deserved the millions he was paid. Yes, yes, I know the stories that he donated millions on the quiet to charity. But is that a fact? Or only a Hard Truth? Or its half brother, a Heart Truth? To tell the truth, I believe he donated millions but belief is not evidence.

**Ask VivianB.


  1. In 2011, DPM Teo explains the PAP’s pension scheme for its retired ministers which has been making waves in cyberspace, DPM Teo Chee Hean unwittingly revealed the shocking fact that PAP ministers start collect their multi-million dollar pension at the age of 55, even if they still remain in office.
    I admit frankly that the calculation of number of ministers or ex-ministers on pension in Singapore is beyond my ability.

    • Nice to hear from you. Actually that shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Civil service practice for officers on pension from Brit times. There is a gd reason for it. If an officer cont’d in service, not retiring after pension age, if he then did something wrong, like the MFA protocol officer, he’d lose all his pension rights. So the officers retired at 55, got their pension and then got re-employed. This meant that they would never lose their pensions. Was common in teaching profession in 80s when many teachers were still on pension.

  2. […] Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Nathan’s presidential pension: the facts – Why our politicians seriously need to stop babbling about cheap hawker food […]

  3. okay, the people mentioned are never granted pensions by the State, they are given jobs by the State-owned companies or stat boards or State-directed entities for their supreme loyalty and dedication!!

  4. Ah Neh did not get pension for the president post. That is because the pension is given from the age 55 years beside the new law abolishing the pension. But Nathan is still getting pension when he retired at age 55 years.

    • Pls read what I wrote. Don’t post rubbish. This not TRE. Thank you.

      • Are u saying Ah Neh did not get a pension when he retired at 55 years old?

      • Juz go away. You juz don’t read what I wrote. So pls don’t talk cock.

      • Thanks for proving my point that you can’t even curse properly. Yr parents must be ashamed of you for not being able to write properly, read properly or even curse properly. You must be from Saints. Oh you must be a product of yr grandfather and yr mother having sex. Or grandmother and yr father having sex.

  5. If I get $40 million over 10 years, I will also donate “millions”, say maybe $1.5M. Also millions what.
    Hmmm, was the prataman holding onto civil service job before he became Presi? If so he most likely was on pension scheme. Will he have to forgo his pension to become Presi?

    Actually $40M not that much leh. After buying Bt Timah GCB, quite poor liao.
    People more unhappy with the reward-to-effort/risk ratio — now that is very very big. haha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: