SINGAPORE: A scheme that increases the salary of political appointment holders, in order to make up for the difference between their last drawn pay and the salary of their political office, has only been applied once in more than three decades.
Responding to a filed question by Member of Parliament Ms He Ting Ru (WP-Sengkang) on Tuesday (Jul 6), Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said that the person was on the scheme for two years, but did not say who it was. He also did not specify the quantum of the make-up pay, which Ms He had asked.
There are currently no political appointment holders on the scheme.
Mr Teo said that “several” candidates had been brought into the government without using the make-up pay mechanism, with a number of them accepting a “substantial” income loss.
Introduced in 1989, the scheme helps to ease the financial disruption and cover existing commitments that potential candidates may have during their transition, said Mr Teo.
“Beyond a passion for public service, our team of political appointment holders need to have the right mix of backgrounds skills and organisational and leadership capabilities. In particular, we need some ministers, ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries with private sector experience,” he said.
“From the private sector, we want to be able to bring in not only people who are already well advanced in their careers and financially secure but also younger ones whose careers are just taking off and are approaching or in their peak earning years and who may have made financial commitments.”
These candidates may take a few years to establish themselves before they can be considered for more senior political appointments, he added.
Despite this, Mr Teo said there are individuals who are prepared to come in and accept that they will take a lower salary in their appointment in political office, even though they have had a two-year transition period to cover their commitments.
"VAGARIES OF POLITICS"
In a follow-up question, Ms He asked for the number of candidates or potential candidates who had declined the job because of the pay.
“When a person is being considered for candidacy and also potentially for political office, there are no guarantees ... and there are the political ups and downs,” Mr Teo said.
“Pay is not usually one of the things that they will tell you upfront, but it surely is one of the considerations for a person who’s got commitments and a young family and a promising career ahead of him."
“To come in, to take the vagaries of politics and to give that up is a big sacrifice, so we want to reduce that and help him in the transition,” Mr Teo added.