Loong on Saturday vowed to review the million-dollar salaries of
cabinet ministers after voters expressed their anger over the issue in
the May 7 election.
Lee said he had appointed a committee to review ministers' salaries
shortly after he and his new team from the ruling People's Action
Party (PAP) were sworn in for a new five-year term.
Although the PAP was returned to power at the polls, it lost six seats
to a revitalised opposition and saw its share of the popular vote fall
to an all-time low.
One of the main gripes during the campaign was the high level of
ministers' salaries, along with the large intake of foreign workers
and increasingly expensive housing and living costs.
The government, dominated by the PAP for more than five decades, has
pegged ministerial salaries to the remuneration levels for top
private-sector earners in order to attract talent to public service
and prevent corruption.
Cabinet ministers in 2009 earned between Sg$1.57 million and Sg $3.04
million ($1.30 to $2.45 million) each a year, according to the Straits
Singapore President S.R. Nathan swore in the new government, which was
without independence leader Lee Kuan Yew for the first time in 52
years after he retired from his influential advisory post in his son's
In his speech, Prime Minister Lee immediately assured Singaporeans the
new government would listen more and respond better to their problems,
and that no policy, including ministerial salaries, will be spared
from the review.
"We will take a totally fresh look at our problems and policies, and
rethink what is necessary and best for Singapore's future," he said.
Premier Lee, 59, made sweeping changes to the cabinet after the
elections, which analysts said reflected voter resentment against the
government despite Singapore being one of Asia's wealthiest nations.
Analysts have described the swearing in of the current crop of cabinet
ministers as the start of a new era in Singapore's history, without
the the elder Lee's commanding presence.