Singapore’s well-paid politicians will receive one-month pay cuts while medical workers battling on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak will receive up to a month’s worth of financial bonuses.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced what is likely to be popular news after rounding up this year’s budget debate in parliament today.
“My colleagues and I will do our part to show solidarity with fellow Singaporeans who have been affected by the outbreak. All political office holders will take a 1-month cut in salary. All [Members of Parliament] will take a 1-month cut in allowance. President Halimah Yacob informed me that she will join in, to take a similar 1-month pay cut. Senior public service officers will take a half-month cut,” a Facebook post by Heng read.
The S$106 billion budget approved by parliament today is a massive increase of S$26 billion over last year and is expected to run a sizable deficit.
According to the Singapore government’s website, an entry-level minister earns S$1.1 million (US$790,000) annually inclusive of bonuses, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong earns double that, and the president earns S$1.5 million. Members of parliament, which hold other full-time jobs, are paid S$192,500 (US$130,000).
Heng added that one-off grants would be given to several clinics that have been dealing with the outbreak by assisting with investigations and providing subsidized treatments for those showing symptoms.
“We will award workers on the frontline up to one additional month of special bonus. We will also make a one-off COVID-19 grant to the Public Health Preparedness Clinics,” Heng said.
Two weeks ago, Heng announced during his budget speech that one-time cash payouts of S$100 to S$300 would go to all adult Singaporeans 21 and up due to economic uncertainty caused by the disease outbreak.
Other than Singapore, Hong Kong has also implemented stimulus spending measures.
Earlier this week, the city announced HK$10,000 (about US$1,300) cash handouts to every adult permanent resident as it reels from the combined economic shocks of a bruising trade war, months of protests, and the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
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