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

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