While President Hu Jintao may be the captain of the world’s second largest economy, he pays himself a very modest salary of approximately US$10,633 per annum. That’s a tiny fraction of the US$184,000 that Ma Ying-Jeou, the President of Taiwan, and the US$530,000 that Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, take home each year.
Both Tsang and Ma, while leading economies much smaller than mainland China’s, are among the Asia-Pacific region’s eight best paid politicians — Ma is #6 on the list, while Tsang clocks in at #2.
The best paid politician in the Asia-Pacific region, and indeed, in the entire world, is Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. He takes home a basic annual wage of US$2.2 million — that’s more than the other seven politicians on the below list combined, and over five times the annual wage of Barack Obama.
The Singapore government maintains that it has to pay top dollar to compete with the private sector for the best and brightest minds, and to keep corruption at bay. Singapore politicians have also sometimes pointed out that while they are the best paid in the region, they are also the poorest in terms of asset ownership. The result: the top 30 most well paid politicians in the world today are ALL from Singapore.
Below the ranking of Asia Pacific’s eight best paid politicians, compiled by AsiaOne. See also this infographic by The Economist which ranks countries by the ratio of the head of state’s pay to the GDP per capita. President Hu would have been ranked last in this chart if not for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India who takes home a measly US$4,106 per year.
1. Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore) USD2,200,000
2. Donald Tsang (HK) USD530,000
3. Julia Gillard (Australia) USD345,000
4. John Key (NZ) USD290,000
5. Naoto Kan (Japan) USD273,000
6. Ma Ying-Jeou (Taiwan) USD184,000
7. Lee Myung-bak (South Korea) USD137,000
8. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Indonesia) USD124,000