Multi-billion dollar corruption in India and a whopping 36 percent 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 $36,200 per year, according to AFP.
Click ahead to look at the top-earning politicians in Asia.
By Darren Connell & Ansuya Harjani
Updated 5 January 2011
Annual Salary: $124,000
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the leader behind Indonesia’s newfound status as Asia’s “economic golden child,” pulls in $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 percent.
The former army general is credited with initiating a crackdown on corruption.
Annual Salary: $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 $162,000 this year, according to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, from $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 $31 million.
Annual Salary: $184,000
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou rakes in a salary of $184,000 per year.
The Hong Kong-born, U.S.-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.
Annual Salary: $310,000
Fifth on the list is the Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand.
He takes home an annual salary of around $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 $40 million, working as a foreign exchange trader with Merrill Lynch, where he earned as much as $2.25 million per year.
He is now New Zealand’s wealthiest member of Parliament and one of the region’s wealthiest leaders.
Annual Salary: $316,000
Japan's Yoshihiko Noda makes an annual salary of $316,000, according to The Asahi Shimbun newspaper. If you add in the regional allowance of 18 percent, he makes around $384,000 per year.
The rising strength of the Japanese yen has helped boost his earnings in dollar terms.
To put the number into perspective though, it’s a mere fraction of the $10.7 million earned by the CEO of Nissan in 2010.
Still, with six Japanese prime ministers in five years, Noda may not be expecting to be on that salary for long.
Annual Salary: $495,000
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard just got a significant 31 percent pay hike, taking her salary to $495,000 per year.
The prime minister, however, may have reason to cry poor. Shadow ministers — senior members of the opposition who are in line to get ministries in the event of a change in government — are getting 64 percent raises, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
But with retirement perks including a fully staffed office, unlimited free first-class travel and a permanent driver for the rest of her life, the Gillard might not complain just now.
Annual Salary: $550,000
The salary of the chief executive of Hong Kong would probably be causing a few eyes to roll in Beijing.
Donald Tsang earns around $550,000 a year, according to Reuters. That’s roughly 30 times the size of the $18,000 salary earned by Chinese President Hu Jintao.
But the perks of the job haven’t come easily for Tsang. He’s been working in Hong Kong’s public sector since 1967. Some might say no amount of money would be enough to compensate for that.
Annual Salary: $1.65 Million
The prime minister of Singapore just took a salary cut of a whopping 36 percent, but he still makes a basic salary of $1.65 million (S$2.2 million).
That makes him far and away the highest paid politician anywhere in the world.
His salary is still four times the salary of President Barack Obama, who makes $400,000 a year.
But it’s not just the prime minister in Singapore earning big bucks. Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who just had his salary cut by 51 percent, will make $1.2 million a year, and new ministers will get salaries of $840,000 after the pay cut.