The Times' List:
1. Lee Hsien Loong - SingaporeAnd here are Singapurakini's estimates :
Salary in dollars - $2.47 million
Salary in local currency - S$3.76 million
2. Donald Tsang Yum-Kuen - Hong Kong
Salary in dollars - $516,000
Salary in local currency - HK$4 million
3. Barack Obama - United States
Salary in dollars - $400,000
4. Brian Cowen - Ireland
Salary in dollars - $341,000
Salary in local currency - €257,000
5. Nicolas Sarkozy - France
Salary in dollars - $318,000
Salary in local currency - €240,000
6. Angela Merkel - Germany
Salary in dollars - $303,000
Salary in local currency - €228,000
7. Gordon Brown - UK
Salary in dollars - $279,000
Salary in local currency - £194,250
8. Stephen Harper - Canada
Salary in dollars - $246,000
Salary in local currency - C$311,000
9. Taro Aso - Japan
Salary in dollars - $243,000
Salary in local currency - Y24 million
10. Kevin Rudd - Australia
Salary in dollars - $229,000
Salary in local currency - A$330,000
No wonder young Singaporeans have a sense of entitlement. How can you not when your leaders believe they are worth the millions they pay themselves?
The TOP 30 highest paid politicians in the world are all from Singapore (all in Singapore dollars):
1. Elected President SR Nathan - S$3.9 million.
2. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - S$3.8 million.
3. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew - S$3.5 million.
4. Senior Minister Goh Chok Thong - S$3.5 million.
5. Senior Minister Prof Jayakumar - S$3.2 million.
6. DPM & Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng - S$2.9 million.
7. DPM & Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean - $2.9 million
8. Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo - S$2.8 million.
9. National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan - S$2.7 million.
10. PMO Miniser Lim Boon Heng - S$2.7 million.
11. Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang - S$2.7 million.
12. PMO Minister Lim Swee Say - S$2.6 million.
13. Environment Minister & Muslim Affairs Minister Dr Yaccob Ibrahim - S$2.6 million.
14. Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan - S$2.6 million.
15. Finance Minister S Tharman - S$2.6 million.
16. Education Minister & 2nd Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen - S$2.6 million.
17. Community Development Youth and Sports Minister - Dr Vivian Balakrishnan - S$2.5 million.
18. Transport Minister & 2nd Minister for Foreign Affairs Raymond Lim Siang Kiat - S$2.5 million.
19. Law Minister & 2nd Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam - S$2.4 million.
20. Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong - S$2.2 million.
21. PMO Minister Lim Hwee Hwa - S$2.2 million
22. Acting ICA Minister - Lui Tuck Yew - S$2.0 million.
23 to 30 = Senior Ministers of State and Ministers of State - each getting between S$1.8 million to S$1.5 million.
A Singaporean businessman and friend of mine complained that Singaporeans make less attractive employees, compared with Malaysian, Chinese or Indian workers. These foreign workers, he said, understand that they have to contribute more to the company in order to earn a higher salary. In contrast, Singaporeans want more and more pay, without actually doing more. A young Singaporean actually told my friend at a job appraisal: "What you pay a foreign worker is a lot for them, but it's not a lot for a Singaporean. So why should we work so hard?" He wasn't being facetious, just matter-of-fact.
I remember when I worked in Singapore, people would get annual pay increments, regardless of performance. This happened because the labour market was tight. Every year, every one in the company would get a pay rise. It became an expected practice, just like getting a 13th month bonus (for every 12 months you worked).
I've always thought that Singapore's curse is mediocrity. The nation is so small and with little unemployment (back then anyway), there is hardly any competition. You don't have to be very smart to get ahead in Singapore. I've met so many MDs, VPs, GMs and other people with big job titles who were absolutely mediocre. Of course, some of these people end up becoming MPs.