Multi-billion dollar corruption in India and a whopping 36% cut in the salary for Singapore's prime minister have once again raised the question: How much should politicians be paid?
We've tallied up a list of Asia Pacific's highest paid politicians based on figures from a number of publicly available sources, including The Economist.
Some of Asia's fastest growing and largest economies, such as India and China, have the lowest salaries for their leaders.
India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for example takes in just USD 36,200 per year, according to AFP.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of Indonesia
Annual Salary: USD 124,000
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the leader behind Indonesia’s newfound status as Asia’s “economic golden child,” pulls in USD 124,000 a year.
This sum amounts to over 25 times the country’s GDP per capita, according to The Economist. The leader is working on narrowing the wealth gap in the country by raising the salary of civil servants by 10%.
The former army general is credited with initiating a crackdown on corruption.
Lee Myung-bak, president of South Korea
Annual Salary: USD 162,000
Keeping tensions under control on the Korea peninsula is no easy task.
Lee Myung-bak’s annual salary is set to rise to USD 162,000 this year, according to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, from USD 156,000 in 2011, putting him in seventh place among Asia’s top paid politicians.
However, Lee clearly isn’t in the job for the money. Shortly after he was elected president, the former CEO of Hyundai Construction & Engineering pledged to donate his full salary to the underprivileged during his five-year term.
He was said to be the richest presidential candidate in South Korea's last election, with personal wealth exceeding 35.3 billion won or USD 31 million.
Ma Ying-jeou, president of Taiwan
Annual Salary: USD 184,000
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou rakes in a salary of USD 184,000 per year.
The Hong Kong-born, US-educated lawyer has played an instrumental role in improving relations with China.
Ma has raised the country's permit quota for Chinese tourists, eased restrictions on Taiwanese investment in China and approved measures to open Taiwan's equity markets to mainland investors.
John Key, prime minister of New Zealand
Annual Salary: USD 310,000
Fifth on the list is Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand.
He takes home an annual salary of around USD 310,000, according to The Wall Street Journal . Impressive for some, but probably not for Key.
Prior to politics, the Kiwi PM amassed a personal fortune of around USD 40 million, working as a foreign exchange trader with Merrill Lynch, where he earned as much as USD 2.25 million per year.
He is now New Zealand’s wealthiest member of Parliament and one of the region’s wealthiest leaders.
Click here to see the rest of Asia-Pacific’s highest-paid politicians from CNBC.com.
First Published: IST