Monthly Archives: June 2011

Thank you for your ideas and suggestions

We invited Singaporeans to send their feedback to the Committee through emails and a PO Box. The ideas and suggestions have been flowing in since we launched the blog on Tuesday 7, June 2011.

Altogether, we received some 500 emails and letters from members of the public as well as Members of Parliament by the end of 20 June 2011, the deadline for submissions.

We received feedback and suggestions on salaries for the President, Prime Minister, political appointment holders and Members of Parliament.

Even as we sort out the suggestions and seek to understand them, we want to say that we are impressed that some of the proposals are rather detailed with involved explanations on why this and why that.

We also have feedback on pensions, and whether to have “clean wage” ie just salaries or to have benefits.

While some contributors gave their views, there are others who also offered proposals, articulating the pros and cons of various approaches. Some even offered formulae for calculation.

It is not possible to list all the suggestions, but we have noted the range of views, from recommending drastic cuts to salaries to those who cautioned against going overboard.

We will get down to analysing all inputs in detail as well as work with HR advice. We want to repeat that all the ideas and suggestions are valued and the Committee will consider every one of them for their suitability and appropriateness.

Just to reiterate, the Committee will review the basis and level of salaries for the President, Prime Minister, political appointment holders and Members of Parliament to help ensure honest and competent government.

The Government has said that it will base the new salaries on the Committee’s recommendations, and that the new salaries for political appointment holders will take effect from 21 May 2011, i.e. the date when the new Government took office.

Although the salary for the President will in-principle commence from the new term of the President, the President has informed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that he will adopt the new salary from 21 May 2011.

Lastly, we want to thank all contributors for sharing their ideas and suggestions. We are very grateful that contributors have been very constructive in their comments. This has helped tremendously for us to start looking through the ideas.

GERARD EE

We want to hear from you

The Committee has been asked to review the basis and level of salaries of political office holders. The responsibility is heavy, to say the least. But we will try our level best to discharge our duty as comprehensively and fairly as we can, based on facts without forgetting the strong emotions involved.

Each of us has been poring over the sea of suggestions, whether received personally or forwarded by others. We have also sought to understand the history and background on the whole matter, examining the facts and reasons for various proposals considered over the decades.

An understanding of the history is important so we are aware of the fundamentals. But we intend to start on a clean slate and consider all angles in search of answers to two questions: what fair compensation would accord due recognition for the contributions of our political office holders? And then, what discount would signify the value and ethos of political service?

To determine how much to pay for the job, we will look at it from the HR perspective, in terms of appropriate salary for the individual grade, job size, scale and impact of the work. We will look at the entire package, including bonuses, pensions and benefits, and work with the benefit of HR expert advice to ensure that there is rigour in the analysis.

The second question is more subjective. But we will try to find an answer even though there is no silver bullet.

To get us started on our task, we have attempted to summarise the suggestions offered so far:

  • Have a performance-based system, looking at a set of key performance indicators, national and individual
  •  Have a fixed component and variable component based on performance of the individual
  •  Compare with salaries of leaders of developed nations
  •  Look at indicators such as median salaries, Gini coefficient, GDP growth as a basis
  •  Use private sector best practices but factor in the calling for public service
  •  Peg salaries at a level that will attract the best talents to serve
  •  Peg salary to the job size
  •  Pay more only after the person has proven himself
  •  Keep the formula simple and easy to understand
  •  A combination or permutation of the above

These ideas have been gleaned from mainstream and online media, emails and letters. The Committee will consider every one of them for their suitability and appropriateness. As we will not have the resources to keep track of every idea, we would really appreciate it if you could help us by sending in your additional suggestions by 20 June 2011.

Please send to Mr Gerard Ee at 
Email: reviewcommittee2011@gmail.com or 
PO BOX 539, Singapore 910504

We have also written to all Members of Parliament to likewise seek their views and inputs.

While the Prime Minister has not given us a timeline to deliver on our recommendations, we do want to get down to work as soon as possible, hence the deadline for sharing your ideas.

You have our assurance that we will consider all inputs. We would appreciate it if contributors not flame, even though we fully understand the need to vent.

Lastly, as all the committee members are volunteers, we are grateful that we have a small secretariat of civil servants supporting us as resource persons with background, history and fact finding, as well as logistical and administrative work. This will help us get down to our work faster.

We thank everyone for helping us make the best of this assignment.

GERARD EE