Thursday, April 05, 2007


From ST:

April 5, 2007
Max. pension: $176,500; Service tenure: 18 years

I REFER to the letters, 'Do ministers enjoy big pension after two terms?' (ST, March 31) by Miss Jolene Ong and 'Pay at 2/3 benchmark but remove pension' (ST, April 4) by Mr Chang Wei Meng.

Miss Ong asked if it was true that a minister was entitled to a lifetime pension of two thirds of his last-drawn salary and suggested that if this were so, ministers would be paid a 'handsome $792,000 per annum till the day they die'.

Mr Chang suggested the pension 'would work out to be about $10 million' and felt that the pension scheme 'seems to be an anachronism' when pay is measured against that in the private sector.

The Government has moved away from the pension scheme for the majority of civil servants since 1986. However, the pension scheme has been retained for the Administrative Service and the Intelligence Service where there is a strong reliance on the depth of expertise and length of experience for continuity of national policies.

For the same reason, the pension scheme has been retained for office holders, namely, Speaker, ministers, ministers of state, mayors, parliamentary secretaries and political secretaries, given their role in and impact on national policies, provided they serve long enough to qualify for a pension.

Both writers have grossly exaggerated the amounts. Ministers qualify for a pension if they serve a minimum of eight years, but the amount of pension varies with the length of service.

The maximum pension for a minister drawing a total annual salary of $1.2 million is $176,500 per annum (not $792,000), and to get that maximum pension the minister has to serve for 18 years. Pensions have been frozen since 1994, so that all salary revisions since then (and this one) will have no effect on pensions.

Ong Toon Hui (Ms)
Leadership Development
Public Service Division
Prime Minister's Office


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