SINGAPORE: Parliament on Monday passed a bill to abolish the Parliamentary Pensions Act.
The move came after a review of ministerial salaries which recommended that the pension scheme be scrapped for office holders and Members of Parliament (MPs).
This is in line with the principle of having a transparent wage system, where there are no hidden perks.
Under the Parliamentary Pensions Act, political office holders who have served at least eight years are eligible for a pension.
The pension amount is dependent on the length of service of the office holder. The maximum annual pension is about 11 per cent of an office holder’s salary prior to retirement.
The idea behind it was to recognise the officer holders’ role in policymaking, and their experience.
The change will bring the remuneration of office holders and MPs in line with the Central Provident Fund savings scheme.
Office holders appointed on and after 21 May 2011, when the new government took office, will not receive any pension.
Those appointed before 21 May will have their pensions frozen and be eligible only for pensions accrued up to 20 May 2011.
The change affects all office holders, from parliamentary secretaries all the way to the prime minister.
MPs elected after 1 January 1995 are already no longer eligible for pension.
MPs who supported the bill said that being a politician cannot be seen as a job or a career promotion.
Holland—Bukit Timah GRC MP Christopher de Souza said: "I believe most, if not all, of us present at today’s debate would agree with me that political office is both a calling (and a passion).
"Those who want to serve must have that sense of duty and, beyond that, passion to the nation, as well as a desire to contribute to the public good of Singapore.
"For MPs, we are in this because we believe in the ethos of sacrifice that public service entails, to serve our residents, meeting with residents, listening to them, caring for them, offering encouragement in times of difficulty and mapping out real ways of progress for them and their children —— that is fulfilling, that is politics."
Separately, Parliament also passed the Civil List Pension Amendment Bill, which paves the way for the pension scheme to be scrapped for former presidents.
The Constitution has provided for a pension to be given to a former president, at a sum to be decided by Parliament.
However, this provision has never been exercised and no president has ever received a state pension.
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