Salary is Irrelevant

No, having a small salary is not something you can use to justify your corrupt behavior. And no, not taking your salary from your office doe not make you morally superior to others. Yes, you can have bigger salary than me, not taking it for the period you worked, announce it to the media and that won't make me respect you more.

By my definition, salary is is simply a mean of employer compensating employee effort and time. It is not a measurement or moral standard, it is just a tool. Nothing is magical about it.

Past few years, a lot of media in Indonesia bombastically report the salary of ministers and high rank officers. Too low, not taking the salary, may cause corruption, and many other idiotic patriotic notions.

There is nothing magical or surprising when, say Dahlan Iskan not taking his salary as minister or Jero Wacik paid lower than Karen Agustiyawan, or Fuad Rahmany salary capped in about 40 million IDR a month. Just no.

The truth is, big part of these people income comes from other sources, such as being a commisioner in several government owned bussiness estabilishment (yes, they are being paid for their name on board) or getting special dividends (final tax, very low rate compared to personal income tax). The best part? It is all legal in our law. Oh, I forgot to mention campaign donations. *wink

This fact is often ignored by media. I am not saying the reporters are dumb, no. Probably uninformed.

The problem does not end there.

For the lower rank officers, the fact that most of the high rank officers getting a big portion of their income from other income and not salary makes their pay raise hampered. Why? Well, if your boss salary is not getting a raise and your boss does not think they need a raise, how can you get one? :))

This then lead to another thing, brain drain. Paid much lower than the market rate, unsafe working conditions, offers from other employer with much bigger pay. Surely many capable people will gladly jump the ship.

Being patriotic does not pay the bills, unfortunately.