Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Pay Of Top GLC Executives: Adjusting Upward Or Downward

This is an interesting question. When the masters receive less, the servants under them should get less accordingly.  However, if the pay of the masters is based on a certain calculation of their servants’ pay, then the more the servants get the more the masters will be getting – this is another uniquely Singapore!  

This top to bottom approach will help ministers to get more if their servants in government linked companies (GLCs) are getting more. While if it is bottom to top approach, the base is so big, it is difficult to move the average of the bottom to increase the pay of the ministers. So, the easier way out is to use the top to bottom approach and the government can use the GLCs to achieve this goal.  

We are watching after the pay cuts for political positions, will there be any pay adjustment for top executives in the GLCs in Singapore? Will there be an upward trend so that to push up the average of the top 1000 earners in Singapore or will there be a downward trend as the political masters are getting less so that they have to be compensated less accordingly?

Top GLC executives are top earners

Many of the top listed companies are owned by Singapore government through mainly Temasek Holdings, for example, listed companies like Singtel, DBS, SIA, Keppel, Sembawang, CapitaLand etc. We all know that these top executives are drawing millions dollars salaries and bonuses. Even SMRT, the troubled train operator, its CEO are having a pay cheque higher than a junior minister.

We don’t know how many of the top 1000 earners in Singapore are top GLC executives.  But it is not a small number and they can contribute to move the average compensation of the top 1000 earners in Singapore. An increase in their pay will help to increase the average of the top 1000 earners; this will ultimately increase the pay of the ministers.    

Through Temasek and GLCs, it is possible to move up or down the average pay of the top earners in Singapore. Of course, in the name of market forces, it can remain unchanged but it will create a wider gap between GLC top executives and their political masters. Like one PAP MP had commented last year, it may belittle the ministers, as ministers who draw less pay will not have the courage to look up at these top executives.  Ministers cannot hold themselves high due to a bigger pay gap.  Perhaps, this MP can have a follow-up on this issue.

We are spending too much on the issue of political pay and we will not get the correct answer until general election comes. 

Singapore is greater than PAP

This is a PAP problem - getting calibre candidates to join them, but it will have to be decided by the voters of Singapore. And we must always realise that Singapore is greater than the PAP – It must always be the case, especially in future. Otherwise, we will not have a breakthrough, new peak and new direction.  Do we want to continue to remain at the ‘super first world pay for ministers and third world wages for the workers’?

For selfish or survival reasons, the PAP will try all the ways to remain in power. However, they are running out of innovative strategies, wills and spirit to fight on, just like the debate on political pay. 

It will not end here.  Perhaps, it is just the beginning like the sad cases of the chiefs of SCDF and CNB in the start of the dragon year.           

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