(Update at 12.25pm on 11 January 2011: I goofed on second question, missing a footenote in the report that covers this issue. I plead guilty to the crime also committed by Uncle Leong of TOC and KennethJ: didn’t read report throughly. Sorry for being stupid. Interest, rents and dividends are excluded from the computation.)
We chose to benchmark the entry MR4 Minister’s salary to the median income of the top 1,000 earners who are Singapore Citizens but with a 40% discount to signify the sacrifice that comes with the ethos of political service. This benchmark is based on a larger pool that does not specify occupations and covers only Singapore Citizens, the pool of talent that political leaders will be drawn from.
How many civil servants, and chairmen, CEOs, directors and senior managers of GIC, Temasek, Temasek-Linked companies, and other GLCs are on this 1000-S’poreans list? If there is a significant proportion (say 5% or more), then one could argue that there is a circular argument at work: the pay of ministers are benchmarked to many people whose salaries are determined or influenced directly or indirectly by ministers. The SDP, KennethJ and TR Emeritus could argue that croynism is at work.
The CEOs (and perhaps some senior executives) of SGX, Keppel, SembCorp, SMRT, Delgro, SIA, DBS, CapitaL, ST and should be on the 1000 list based on their companies’ annual reports.
It would be a gd idea if the number of civil servants, and chairmen, CEOs, directors and senior managers of GIC, Temasek, Temasek-Linked companies, and other GLCs on the list is made public.Pigs would fly first. Sigh.
(Related issue: http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/Story/STIStory_753304.html)
Shouldn’t the 1000 S’poreans Benchmark only have on it “incomes that are earned” i.e. salaries and bonuses? All income derived from interest, rental income and dividends should be excluded? I’m sure that many of the people on this list derive significant income from dividends, interest and rents. They could have inherited or been gifted the proprties, deposits or securities, rather than buy these themselves. I mean, surely there is no merit in being rich via marriage or lineage in a meritocracy?
SGDaily points out that I missed a foot note.
In the committee’s full report para 58, it points to a foot note –
 The current benchmarks are calculated based on Principal Earned Income (PEI) of the top 8 earners from 6 professions i.e. incomes from only the individual’s principal profession / trade and not incomes from other employment. The revised benchmarks will be based on the Total Employment and Trade income (TEI) of the top 1,000 earners from all professions, i.e. incomes from all employment and trade of the individual, and will no longer include a 50% discount on stock options. The switch is appropriate as the new benchmark no longer focuses on specific professions but on the all-round earning capability of a much larger pool of individuals. Like PEI, TEI also includes monthly salaries, bonuses, commissions, stock options and partnership income but excludes unearned and passive forms of income, such as dividends, rent and interest.
Earlier posting on salaries review
(Yes, Yes I know, I misspelt Gerard’ Ee’s name. Blame TOC, I copied the name from there.)