Singapore. After a prolonged period of popular
dissatisfaction with the soaring salaries of top
politicians, the government at the beginning of the year
decided to sharply reduce ministerial salaries, and in the
president's case, the salary was reduced by 51%. After the
radical reduction, however, the average ministerial salary
was over US $ 800,000 per year, making Singaporean
politicians some of the highest paid in the world. According
Minister Lee Hsien Loong received an annual salary of more
than US $ 1.7 million after the cuts, which was the highest
salary in the government.
A decision was also made to abolish the high pensions of
ministers and the president. Instead, a bonus system would
be introduced, where the size of the bonus would depend on
the country's economic development, the general wage
situation among Singaporeans and the proportion of
unemployed in the country. Members of parliament would also
receive reduced compensation.
The opposition Labor Party won a parliamentary election
in May, where the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has all
but two mandates. The election election was about a mandate
that the opposition already held earlier. Nevertheless, the
election was symbolically important in the light of PAP's
relatively poor results in the 2011 parliamentary elections.
The first wild strike in Singapore in over a quarter of a
century occurred in December when over 170 Chinese
guest-working drivers embarked on an illegal campaign
demanding higher wages and better working conditions. One of
the strikers was sentenced to a shorter prison sentence
while 30 were expelled. Another five Chinese were prosecuted
and awaiting trial.
The Singaporean economy continued to perform well and be
stable with large foreign exchange reserves and relatively
low inflation. While the downturn in the global economy has
had a negative impact on export revenues periodically, with
temporary weaknesses in growth, the big picture was a strong
and balanced service economy.