20141011 How the PAP rewarded theselves with 19-month bonuses in 2008

The PAP exhorts citizens to be self reliant but when it comes to money, PAP has been relying on tonnes of tax dollars for their remuneration. This is legal because Parliament comprises 90% PAP MPs.

Although political salaries have been reduced since 2011, it is still obscene by any standard considering they were ramped up in previous years.

The current formula continues to peg political salaries to top earners with a reduced weightage on GDP ie 100% to 25%. This is wrong for obvious reasons:

1 – Politicians and top civil servants will be focused on ramping up GDP figures for self interest.
2 – Unsound policies will be implemented – we have experienced the ill effects of an insane immigration policy with policies favouring foreigners over locals and contributing to the skyrocketing cost of living.

In the private sector, CEOs and employees pay the ultimate price of being removed by their shareholders or retrenched when the company fails to perform. But when the PAP repeatedly fails, ‘shareholders’ have ZERO say because the ‘board of directors’, who are all from the PAP, override ‘shareholders’.

The GDP cannot go up forever and our GDP has been artificially inflated through the increase in land/property prices by increasing the population. Shouldn’t there be a negative GDP bonus when the GDP falls?

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On hindsight, it appears the PAP had already decided to increase the population, knowing full well that GDP would shoot up. That was the reason for having a GDP bonus of up to 8 months for GDP growth of between 2 to 10% (pt 76). On top of this, there was a ‘performance bonus’ of up to 14 months, ‘AVC’ of up to 1.5 months, 1-month ‘Special Allowance’ month and 2-month ‘Public Service Leadership Allowance’ making it a maximum total bonus of 26.5 months.

The PAP and civil service were only interested in milking more tax dollars using PAP’s salary formula by ramping up GDP figures.

Double standard

Instead of eliminating the ‘GDP Bonus’ in the 2011 ministerial pay review, the PAP replaces it with a ‘National Bonus’ which still includes the GDP performance reduced to 25%.

The maximum bonus excluding the SVP adds up to 13.5 months. At $120,000 and $59,760 per month for the PM and ministers respectively, why are they entitled up to a 13.5 month bonus? Are they expected to performed poorly despite a high fixed pay and receive outsized bonuses because they perform better than expectations of poor performance?

Since the PAP has always blamed external factors when the economy tanks, isn’t it only logical that when the economy performs exceptionally well, it is also due to external factors?
Why is the maximum public sector bonus more than triple the average bonus in the private sector?
Since EVERYONE (including all menial workers) has a part in helping the economy grow, why are rank and file employees paid close to nothing excluding the ‘13th month’ pay?

The PAP has therefore been the biggest culprit contributing to the widening income gap.

PAP’s greed cannot be more evident in 2008.

1 Excluding the ‘13th month’ pay, the President received a total bonus of 19 months. ($3,870,000 divide by $119,520 = 32.4) Only the financial sector offers such high bonuses because of the high risks involved. Will our current president receive such a high bonus for shaking hands in an insincere manner, similar to the previous one who did not know how many times our reserves were used?

2 As for PM Lee, his total salary amounted to 32.4 times of his monthly salary. (3,760,000 divide by 115,920 = 32.43) The responsibilities of a president pales in significance to those of a PM but both received the same bonus! What were PM Lee’s achievements to deserve a 19-month bonus?

3 Ministers and Senior Perm Secs (Grade MR4) received 32.46 times their monthly salary. ($1,940,000 divide by $59,760) Why are ministers and permanent secretaries paid a 19-month bonus when they:
– had forgotten to increase the number of hospital beds despite the population having increased by almost 1 million?
– underbuilt public housing and caused property prices to spiral out of control?
– failed to address the issue of overcrowding and negligible maintenance in our MRT system?

Why did our system reward failures of such a magnitude? Isn’t it a coincidence all received a 19-month bonus?

Good times or bad, high pay the norm

DJIA

After the government announced the salary adjustment in December 2007, ministers’ salary continued to be in the millions until 2011 despite an unprecedented global financial crisis. Politicians were receiving record bonuses as if there was no crisis at all.

We know this from Perm Sec Tan Yong Soon’s $46,000 5-week cooking classes in France. And why not when he still had another 18 month bonus left. (Perm Sec 1-month bonus = $59,760)

Salaries were unchanged until the 2011 watershed election when citizens sent a clear message to the PAP that ‘enough is enough’.

Table showing salary adjustments only in 2011.

In 2010, assuming the base salary was unchanged, the PM had still received a bonus of 13.5 months while businesses were folding and millions of jobs were lost worldwide. ($3,072,200 divide by $115,920) Again, ministers were also receiving about 13.5 month bonus when citizens had been facing extremely challenging employment conditions.

This has been accurately described as unconscionable.

Conclusion

PAP needs to scrape the bottom of the barrel to attract potential candidates because it has allowed greed to run amok. High remuneration attracts politicians and civil servants (policymakers and key management) who will only implement policies which generate short term benefits for themselves, such as, increasing the population through immigration and increasing the number of foreign workers to generate economic ‘growth’.

That ministers and permanent secretaries somehow ‘forgot’ and required feedback to increase housing, healthcare facilities, etc is confirmation of a system that is rotten to the core. Instead of addressing the issue of accountability, almost all the failures have remained in positions of influence and continue to be rewarded.

As the government, the PAP is the biggest culprit contributing to the widening income gap.

For decades, the PAP has been promoting greed and only citizens can make the PAP come to its senses. If not removed, greed will ultimately cause the downfall of Singapore.

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