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Prime minister of Singapore tops the list of highest-paid leaders

Prime minister of Singapore tops the list of highest-paid leaders

Posted October. 01, 2021 07:30,   

Updated October. 01, 2021 07:30


The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported Thursday that Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore who has served the nation since 2004, gets paid more than any other leader of the world. His annual salary at 1.6 million U.S. dollars (about 1.9 billion won) is four times higher than that of U.S. President Joe Biden, who was ranked third with 400,000 dollars, and 12 times higher than Russian President Vladimir Putin’s.

Singapore has pegged the salary level of high-ranking officials with the payroll of the high-earning private sector since the years of Lee Kuan Yew (1923 – 2015), the incumbent’s father and former prime minister of Singapore, and the country has imposed a tight scrutiny to prevent corruption among high-ranking officials. Singapore is considered to have one of the least corrupt governments in the world.

Ranked in the second was Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, with 672,000 dollars of annual salary. But according to the SCMP report, Lam is stuck with piles of cash at home as she has been denied essential banking services due to U.S. sanctions. Since Beijing enacted the National Security Law last year to impose a maximum life sentence to dissidents, Washington is slapping a set of sanctions on not only the leadership of Hong Kong but banks doing business with it.

About the assumption that U.S. President Biden would be the highest-paid leader as president of the world’s largest superpower, the SCMP said it is “the post-presidential projects that help them really rake in the cash” for U.S. presidents. In fact, American presidents often make a huge sum of money after retirement through memoirs and lecture campaigns.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were among the leaders who get more than 300,000 dollars of annual salary. When asked by an elementary student about how much money he makes per month, French President Emmanuel Macron said he gets 13,500 euros before tax (162,000 euros per year).

Jong-Yeob JO jjj@donga.com