Govt debunks ‘falsehoods’ about ministerial salaries that have appeared online recently

SINGAPORE: The Government has moved to debunk what it described as “falsehoods” about ministerial salaries that have been circulating recently.

The Factually website, which is managed by the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Communications and Information, said several websites and social media pages have “jumped on the issue” of ministerial salaries in recent weeks.

Singapore Parliament in session. File photo: TODAY

The website said one falsehood that has appeared online is that the Government is not upfront about how ministerial salaries are calculated.

Debunking this, the website said the pay components are set out in a White Paper, which was tabled in Parliament in 2012. The website also included a link to the White Paper.

The Factually website said an MR4 (entry-level) minister’s annual salary is S$1.1 million, including bonuses. It added: “If the minister doesn’t do well – and if the economy doesn’t do well – he may get well below S$1.1 million.”

Another falsehood, the website said, is that the Prime Minister is being paid S$2.2 million a year as a base salary, excluding bonuses, and that his total salary is S$4.5 million.

The Factually website said this, again, is false. It said: “The Prime Minister’s norm salary is set at two times that of an MR4 Minister. His S$2.2 million annual salary includes bonuses. The Prime Minister does not receive a Performance Bonus as there is no one to assess his performance annually. He does receive the National Bonus.”

Ministry salary gfx(Graphic: Factually)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in a written parliamentary reply, had shared on Sep 10 the performance bonus of Singapore’s political office-holders from 2013 to 2017.

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Mr Lee was responding to the Workers’ Party’s Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera who had asked what has been the average, highest and lowest total number of bonus months paid to an individual minister in each of the past five years.

Mr Lee said that the actual performance bonus range from 2013 to 2017 was three to six months, while the actual average performance bonus was between 4.1 and 4.4 months for the same period. 

According to the Factually website, a minister’s annual salary comprises five components: Monthly pay, 13th month bonus, performance bonus, annual variable component and National Bonus.