Exposing the Myths in the PAP’s Education Changes: Wages Still Don’t Grow

At the National Day Rally last week, Lee Hsien Loong said, “Do not go on a paper chase for qualifications or degrees, especially if they are not relevant because pathways and opportunities to upgrade and to get better qualifications will remain open throughout your career.

But do you know this is not the first time Lee Hsien Loong said this? In May last year, The Straits Times quoted him as having said, “polytechnic students have many good options after graduating and need not just aim for a university degree.”

In fact, Lee Hsien Loong was not the only PAP minister to have said this.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan echoed by saying that, “If they cannot find jobs, what is the point? You own a degree, but so what? That you can’t eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless.

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing then also said, “It’s not the degree or the diploma… that is most important… What matters most is the training of the mind and the ability to grasp an issue, ask the correct questions, dissect the problem and find the solutions.

Like many Singaporeans I had heard from, “which government in their right mind will tell their citizens that it is not important to get a degree?”

ASPIRE Committee Recommends Polytechnic and ITE Students to “Deepen Skills”

So, a few days ago, the PAP government released the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE) report. The report made the following 10 recommendations:

  1. Strengthen education and career guidance (ECG) efforts in schools, polytechnics and ITE.
  2. Enhance internships at the polytechnics and ITE.
  3. Increase Nitec to Higher Nitec progression opportunities so ITE students can deepen their skills.
  4. Establish polytechnic and ITE leads for each key industry sector to strengthen linkages with industry and help enhance programme offerings.
  5. Expand online learning opportunities to make it easier for individuals to learn anywhere and anytime.
  6. Provide more development and support programmes for polytechnic and ITE students to help every enrolled student succeed.
  7. Launch new programmes that integrate work and study, such as place-and-train programmes, to provide an additional skills-upgrading option for polytechnic and ITE graduates.
  8. Increase post-diploma Continuing Education and Training (CET) opportunities at our polytechnics to refresh and deepen the skills of polytechnic graduates.
  9. Support vocation-based deployments during National Service (NS) to help polytechnic and ITE graduates maintain their skills.
  10. Develop sector-specific skills frameworks and career progression pathways in collaboration with industry to support progression based on industry-relevant skills.

The ASPIRE committee made 10 recommendations but they can be summed up in a few words – the committee wants polytechnic and ITE students to “deepen their skills”.

But do you notice something that is glaringly missing in the report?

So, after upgrading the skills, will starting wages increase?

Polytechnic and ITE Graduates Still Earn Low Starting Wages

Last year, I wrote about the starting pay of Singaporeans at the different educational levels. According the The Straits Times, “a diploma holder’s average starting salary is $2,000, while that of a degree holder is $3,000“. An ITE student would earn about $1,300. And for someone with a secondary school education of below, the starting pay would be $800 last year or $1,000 (or so) this year.

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This means that there is a wage gap of $2,000 between the starting pay of someone with a degree and someone who has a secondary school education and below.

And when you compare this with other developed countries, Singapore actually has the largest and most unequal wage gap among the developed countries.

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Chart: OECD Indicators Education at a Glance 2013

Now, the above is only for starting salaries.

But according to the Ministry of Manpower, if you look at the wages of polytechnic and ITE graduates (earning around $2,000 and $1,300 respectively), you can see that their wages would remain stagnant or even drop over the course of their work life.

However, for someone with a degree, he/she is likely to see significant increases in their salaries across the course of their work life.

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Chart: Report on Wages in Singapore, 2011

Thus this means that over time, someone with a degree might see his/her salary rise to an average of $5,000 or so. However, for the other educational levels, the salary would remain stagnant.

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And because of the wider disparity, this means that over time, the wage gap in Singapore would rise dramatically. And when compared with other developed countries, not only is the wage gap the widest, it would also be several times more unequal than the next country with the widest wage disparity.

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Chart: OECD Indicators Education at a Glance 2013

Now, note that even though the wage gap is the widest in Singapore, it does not mean that degree holders are paid the highest salaries in Singapore, as compared to other developed countries.

In fact, when you compare Singapore with the other highest-income countries, Singaporeans actually earn the lowest wages.

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Chart: International Labour Organisation Data collection on wages and income

So, what this means is that degree holders in Singapore are also being shortchanged by the PAP government. So, if degree holders are already being shortchanged, this means that diploma and ITE graduates are even worse off!

Thus even though the ASPIRE committee has made recommendations to “deepen the skills” of polytechnic and ITE graduates, the fact that there was no discussion on wage issues is very problematic.

Now, there is some token news which headlined that, “Outstanding non-graduate teachers could get graduate pay” and “Better career prospects for non-graduates in public service“, but this only refers to any wage increases down the road, such as when “Non-graduate teachers … have demonstrated outstanding performance or have deep experience”, where only then they will be treated as being on par with a degree graduate.

But this is very different from actually increasing the starting salaries of polytechnic and ITE graduates and as long as there is no effort to do this, this would mean that polytechnic and ITE graduates will have to wait several, if not many years, before they are able to see any catch-ups in their salaries. And if they don’t, their salaries will become stagnant or even fall as shown above.

Now, as I have written, at the current CPF interest rates of an average of 3%, a Singaporean would need to earn at least about $2,000 to be able to still buy a flat and retire later on.

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And this is only if wages increase by 4% every year. But as you can see above, wages for someone who earns $2,000 is likely to stagnate or drop. This means that if a person wants to earn enough to buy a flat and retire, he/she might even need at least $2,500 or $3,000!

Today, there are 30% of Singaporeans who earn less than $2,000 and 50% of Singaporeans who earn less than $3,000.

Indeed, no wonder Associate Professor Tilak Abeysinghe had calculated that the bottom 30% of households have to spent 105% to 151% of their income, because they simply cannot earn enough to survive.

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Similarly, Professor Mukul Asher had also estimated between 27% and 35% of Singaporeans would be living in poverty.

Singapore Poverty Rate Asher 2007

This would mean that Singapore would have the highest poverty rate among the developed countries and one of the highest poverty rate among the Asian countries.

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In fact, because of the widest wage disparity, Singapore also has the highest income inequality among the developed countries.

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And as I had written before, he PAP government has actually been pushing down the income inequality statistics over each reported period (from 2008 to 2010 to 2013), to create the perception that income inequality is not as high as it actually is in Singapore.

Gini Coefficient 2008 vs 2010 vs 2013

Now, if income inequality is a real problem in Singapore, instead of pretending that income inequality is not a problem by fudging the statistics, shouldn’t there be affirmative action to increase wages at the bottom so as to narrow the wage gap in Singapore?

Shouldn’t the government increase the starting salaries of polytechnic and ITE graduates? So again, why is this missing in the ASPIRE report?

In fact, what is even more disconcerting is that not only is the wage gap the widest in Singapore and not only do Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among the highest-income countries, the rich in Singapore actually earns the highest salaries among the developed countries and one of the highest in the world!

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Chart: ECA Global Perspectives National Salary Comparison 2012

When you look at this in perspective, then something doesn’t seem quite right.

  1. Why are polytechnic and ITE graduates paid the lowest wages when the richest in Singapore pays themselves the highest salaries among the developed countries?
  2. Why does the PAP government create the largest wage gap in Singapore, among the developed countries?

In fact, from 1995, the income share that goes to the richest 10% in Singapore has risen from 30% to 42% in 2011.

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And the richest 10% only started to keep getting richer and richer a year after PAP announced that they would peg the salaries of their own ministers to the rich in 1994.

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Thereafter, the richest 10% got richer and richer, and the PAP politicians with it.

Not only that, you can see that every time the income inequality rises in one year, the share of income that goes to the rich will rise in the following year – if so, is the high income inequality in Singapore created by the PAP?

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Is the PAP interested in ensuring that wages are kept low for non-degree graduates, so that only their cronies can get ahead?

Perhaps it would become clearer when we know that Singapore is actually ranked 5th on The Economist’s crony capitalism index, where it is the 5th easiest for someone to get rich in Singapore if they are affiliated to the PAP.

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Now, the very idea of education is to also improve social mobility. But because Singapore has the income inequality among the developed countries, we thus have one of the lowest social mobilities among the developed countries.

Inequality vs Social Mobility

So, it is quite clear that as long as the government does not want to actually improve the lot of polytechnic and ITE graduates by actually increasing their wages, no matter what changes the PAP wants to hoodwink Singaporeans with, the end result is that for polytechnic and ITE students, they will continue to be marginalised by the PAP’s policies and it would be difficult for them to move up the social and economic ladder.

In fact, back to the question – which government would encourage its citizens not to get a degree?

As I have written, when you compare Singapore with the other countries, the number of students who enter public universities in Singapore is comparatively lower than other developed countries.

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Chart: Report of the Committee on University Education Pathways Beyond 2015 (CUEP)

Now, when you look at the Finnish education system for example, for students who choose to study diplomas or vocational institutions (similar to ITE), they can continue to proceed to study polytechnic degrees and even polytechnic master’s degrees.

Education system in Finland

So, instead of telling you that some people do not like to study academically and thus should not go to a university, the Finnish government actually does it differently and sets up universities that cater to vocational needs, so that all its citizens have an equal opportunity to pursue a degree education, in spite of their academic inclinations.

But when we look back at Singapore and realise how Singaporeans have to pay the second most expensive university tuition fees in the world, this again becomes highly problematic. Where is the equality? Where the poorest families can hardly afford to survive, how can they afford to send their children to university? Is university education being kept to the confines of a self-serving elite who wants to keep a degree education a pedigree for their kind?

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Not only that, the PAP government would rather give more than 50% of international students scholarships, but would only give 6% of local students (including PRs) scholarships.

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With the at least $354 million that the PAP gives to international students to study, and the $451 million surplus that the universities accumulate, this would have very easily allowed all Singaporeans to study in the public universities for free. So, why did the PAP government not want to do so?

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Why would the PAP government pay overseas students to get a degree in Singapore but tell Singaporeans that it is not necessary to get a degree?

On top of that, in the agreement that the PAP government has signed with the Indian government, it allows the free-flow of workers from India into Singapore, without any protection for Singaporean workers. It also allows their spouses to freely come to Singapore to work. Does the PAP government also sign such an agreement with other countries to allow workers to come in freely to work as well?

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Chart: Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) Between The Republic Of India And The Republic Of Singapore

If so, does this explain why the unemployment among degree holders have been going up, because of competition from foreign degrees?

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Chart: World Development Indicators

Does this thus explain why the PAP government suddenly wants to encourage Singaporeans to think that it is not necessary to get a degree?

You can see that the number of migrants coming into Singapore started spiking up over the last decade.

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And when the number of migrants coming into Singapore increased, so did the number of Singaporeans who earn less than $1,000.

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In fact, it becomes clearer when you look at the proportion of Singaporeans who earn less than $1,000 – it started spiking up in 2004, when the floodgates were opened.

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It is thus clear that because of the PAP government’s lax labour policies and unequal wage policies, this has caused a wage depression for the lowest-wage workers.

Has the PAP’s lax labour policies also contributed to the overflow of degree holders into Singapore, which compete with Singaporeans for jobs, and thus the PAP’s sudden about turn to encourage Singaporeans to believe that degrees are not important?

Thus when you look at it as a whole, exactly why does the PAP government suddenly want to encourage Singaporeans to believe that degrees are not important? Doesn’t this fly in the face of logic for a country which wants to advance into the knowledge economy?

Also, even if the government claims that some students might not be academically inclined and should thus go the polytechnic or ITE route, can the government not create polytechnic universities, as the examples of other countries have shown, so that Singaporeans can also receive a university education and get higher pay as well?

In addition, in spite of the government’s changes to the education system, they still have not made affirmative plans to increase the starting salaries of polytechnic and ITE graduates. If the government believes that they do not need a degree and yet it is clear that without a degree, a worker would be stuck with low pay, then shouldn’t the government also increase their starting salaries to account for this?

Otherwise, why stop Singaporeans from getting a university education, when they would otherwise not be able to earn enough to survive in Singapore?

The PAP government’s sudden announcement, with no head or tail, shows a lack of strategic vision as to how they want to shape the education system in Singapore. Why dissuade the pursuit of a university education if we want to advance into a knowledge economy? Why continue to pay low salaries to our polytechnic and ITE graduates, if we do not want them to pursue a university education?

What exactly is on the minds of the PAP government? What exactly are their real intentions behind dissuading Singaporeans from getting a university education? It simply doesn’t make sense. Or is this a knee-jerk response to bad policy planning (as has been shown above with the influx of migrants which depressed wages and increased unemployment, and the agreement with India and the lack of labour protection)?

Or is there an elite agenda to all these?

If so, we can be reminded by what the Vice-Principal of Jurong West Secondary School Pushparani Nadarajah had said that, “How many of our leaders and top officers who say that every school is a good school put their children in ordinary schools near their home? (Only) until they actually do so are parents going to buy (it).

Indeed, the PAP government might want Singaporeans to believe that Singaporeans do not need a university education, but how many of them would think that it is OK for their children not to go to universities?

If not, it would be very hypocritical for the PAP government to claim otherwise.

#ReturnOurCPF 4 Protest on 27 September 2014

On 27 September 2014, join us at the Hong Lim Park at 4pm at the #ReturnOurCPF 4 protest. Why has the PAP government depressed the wages of Singaporeans, while raising the cost of living in Singapore? How does the PAP government expect Singaporeans to survive, when they refuse to implement a minimum wage to protect Singaporeans?

Join us at the next protest as we speak up against the low wages and high cost of living in Singapore.

You can join the Facebook event page here.

Also, my first court case will be held on 18 September 2014, at 10.00am. It will be a full-day hearing.

#ReturnOurCPF 4 Poster 2 text

Return Our CPF 4 Poster 1b

15张幻灯片:行动党是如何操纵我们的公积金简要说明!

The Story of What PAP Really Did to Our CPF in 15 Slides

这里用15张幻灯片的形式告诉您行动党如何操纵我们的公积金的。您可以到我的网站阅读网有关这个课题的文章的全文英文版本可以在这里找到

Read what the PAP really did to our CPF in 15 slides. You can read the full article with the references here. You can read the English version here.

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住房价格和物价指数:

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1977年到2007年公积金普通户头利率:

CPF Ordinary Account Interest Rates from 1977 to 2007

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公积金最低存款额与通货膨涨率的变革(%):

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公积金最低存款额的指数:

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国际移民人数统计:

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新加坡最富裕的10%阶层的收入%:

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(1995年/货币单位;新元)新加坡实际的GDP指数和医药开销 — 行动党通过健保储蓄的手法,把他们应该支付给新加坡人民的医药费用从40%降到30%,区域由人民自己承担。(1984年):

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常年平均补习费(货币单位:美元):

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盈余/不敷的总开支百分比:

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新加坡政府说淡马锡控股没有用新加坡人的公积金去进行投资

Temasek Holdings Did Invest CPF

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GIC Board of Directors

THE GREAT SINGAPORE LOCKDOWN@chinese

THE GREAT SINGAPORE LOCKDOWN

[Video] My Speech at #ReturnOurCPF 3 Protest on 23 August 2014: Time to Let the PAP Go

I gave a speech at the third #ReturnOurCPF protest yesterday. You can watch the video of my speech below.

You can also read the speech here.

This is a close-up video taken by Matters Of Our Heart:

This is a wider shot taken by cadmiumpureland, with the singing of the national anthem and the pledge at the end:

Here is a video of the introduction by Hui Hui and I to the protest taken by CM Chen:

Return Our CPF 3 Poster Roy Ngerng text

Return Our CPF 3 Poster Roy Ngerng 2 text

Return Our CPF 3 Poster Roy Ngerng 3 text

Return Our CPF 3 Poster Roy Ngerng 4 text

My Speech at #ReturnOurCPF 3 Protest on 23 August 2014: Time to Let the PAP Go

50 years of Singapore.

But will our country have another 50 years.

When Singapore was Temasek in the 14th century, it came to prominence and then disappeared in a hundred years.

Will Singapore go the same fate that our island has, to rise to its peak in the 20th century and disappear before the 21st century is out?

Will Singaporeans Stand and Fight?

What makes a country? A country is not made by its government.

A country is made by its people. And the quality of its people.

How strong Singapore can be does not depend on the government. It depends on what Singaporeans can give, what we stand for and who we are.

But who are we?

Singaporeans are a hardworking people and we are proud of it.

We are kiasu, we speak Singlish and we are proud of it.

It is good to be proud.

But sometimes, has being proud also makes us too proud to admit the truth? Too proud to admit that things need to change? Too proud to admit that we are scared? That we fear what will happen when things change?

Do Singaporeans have what it takes for Singapore to make it? For not just another 50 years, but the next 100, 200 or 500. Do Singaporeans have the grit, the willpower, the courage and the fierceness to do so?

Will Singaporeans fight? For ourselves, for our families and for our country?

Or are we too scared to lose what we have?

And even when we know that if we do not fight, that we will lose even more, will we remain scared and choose not to fight.

Must we wait for the land to be gone, and what we have to be gone, before we decide to do something?

But when things finally break apart and not just the trains break down, but Singapore breaks down, then who can we blame?

The government? PAP?

Or should we blame ourselves for not having risen up, to fight? To fight for our lives, for our freedom, for the truth. For justice, for morality. For ourselves. For our people.

I thank the few thousands of you who are here today and the many who had joined us. You took that step. You are here today, to stand up, to fight. For yourselves. For your families. For your future.

But there are tens and thousands more of Singaporeans who are not here today. Who might be watching the video of this protest in the comfort of your homes. Praying and hoping that things will change.

But things will not change when we do not stand up. When we not speak up. When we are always hoping that someone else can do it. And hope that a hero will help us fight and change things.

There are No Heroes Who Stands Alone

But heroes come and heroes go. They put a face to the fight. But they can only fight for as long as there are fighters among us. They can only fight when there is an army that is willing to charge and take back what is ours, so that we can get our lives back on track.

But when the hero stands alone, when the fight is over, he dies. Everything goes back to normal. Life goes on. We get angrier. Another hero comes. He dies. We get even angrier. And heroes will keep coming and going. Until your country collapses and the heroes could never have done anything, because they were never strong enough. Not by themselves.

He was only one person who took on the fight. Some might call him stupid. Some might say he is naive. Some might say he knows better, and why would he want to play with fire.

But he has a dream. He has a hope. He wants a better future for the people. He wants happiness, justice and compassion. He wants people to be treated right.

I stand here, like many of you here, because I believe that we can change things. I believe that we can make things happen, when we stand up, when we fight and we fight to put things right.

But will things change? This is something I ask myself all the time.

Will things change?

When everything is gone and done, I lose everything but at least I stood for one thing. At least we stood for something.

At least we did what we could.

PAP Took Our CPF as Cheap Money to Use and Got Hooked On It

The CPF is only one issue. But it is a big issue.

For many Singaporeans, they do not care about the CPF system, what happened to it, what PAP did to it.

All we want is to have our money back. All we want is to ask the government to Return Our CPF.

Maybe that is the folly of the title of our protest – #ReturnOurCPF. Maybe that is our mistake. For we created a protest to demand for our CPF to be returned. But it is not just that. It should not be just that.

Many Singaporeans do not care what PAP has done and will continue to do to our CPF. All we want is to have our CPF, so that we can retire.

So that we can continue to go shopping, to go on our holidays, and maybe some, to set up businesses.

But the CPF is more than that.

In 1968, PAP took our CPF as money of their own for social and economic development. They took our CPF to build the port, the airport, roads and other infrastructure.

But most importantly, they took our CPF to build HDB flats.

At that time, Singapore did not have enough money. So the government took our CPF. Maybe it was OK. It helped Singapore to build things up, so that at least we could start somewhere, to start developing and earning the money back.

So that our country could get richer and our people could also get richer.

Since 1964, PAP wanted Singaporeans to “own” homes. If you own your “home”, they believed that you would fight for your country, that you would want to protect your “home”, and you would not do anything to change things.

They were right. How smart they are. How many Singaporeans would protest today? Too scared to lose our homes? Too scared to lose our jobs?

And so, we get to keep our jobs, well most of us anyway. And the PAP gets to keep their jobs.

In 1968, PAP allowed us to use CPF to “buy” their homes. They then increased the CPF contribution rate from 10% to 13%, and then kept increasing it all the way to 50% in 1984.

PAP needed more and more money to use, because they can then build more flats, and earn more money to use.

In 1985, when the recession came, Professor Lim Chong Yah, who headed the CPF Study Group, told the PAP to stop using our CPF for HDB.

Because PAP trapped so much of our CPF inside, there was nothing we could do with our CPF except to buy HDB flats. This created artificial demand and drove prices up.

By the time the recession came, PAP built too many flats that that it also caused the recession to happen in 1985.

Our CPF is such cheap money for the PAP. They took so much of our CPF money and they got addicted to it.

Professor Lim Chong Yah warned the PAP. But did the PAP listen to him?

They did not. By 1994, HDB flat prices started spiralling upwards once again.

In 1997, another recession happened.

This time, Mah Bow Tan said that the PAP built too many flats again and there were more than 30,000 flats that they could not sell.

Today, Singapore Has Become Richer but Singaporeans Have Become Poorer

In 1984, the PAP wanted Singaporeans to “own” our homes because it was the 25th year that Singapore would be independent. And because PAP was going to hold elections.

They wanted Singaporeans to feel good.

Today, Singapore is into the 50th year of independence. Once again, PAP wants Singaporeans to feel good. Once again, PAP will hold elections soon.

Time and again, the PAP gives us a carrot and we take it like a hungry rabbit in a cage.

But why? Because they made us hungry. They pay us low wages, they give us low returns on our CPF and they pay so little for healthcare. And many Singaporeans choose to die instead of go to a hospital.

But the PAP lets themselves get richer and richer. Today, they earn the highest salaries in the world and GIC and Temasek Holdings are also one of the richest sovereign wealth funds in the world.

We have so many millionaires and billionaires in Singapore but we also have so many Singaporean who cannot earn enough to survive!

Are we really a First World Country? Are have we gone back to being a Third World Country?

In the 1950s, poverty rate in Singapore was 20%. Today, it might be even 30%. Singapore has grown richer. But our people have grown poorer. How did this even happen?

After nearly 50 years, is this what the PAP wants Singaporeans to be proud of? That we have to struggle everyday and be so scared that we do not have enough to use?

But the ministers can go on a $8 heart bypass surgery on their million dollar salaries?

PAP Makes Singaporeans Pay for Expensive Flats, Then Sell the Leases Back to Them

In the 1980s, PAP started increasing the prices of flats. They said if you want a good location, a high floor, a good view, you have to pay more for it. Then they said they will start including land costs in the flat prices.

But in 1966, PAP created the Land Acquisition Act so that they can buy our land very cheaply. And then build the flats very cheaply. The land costs next to nothing for them.

Then why do they want us to pay more for the flats? Why do they want us to pay for the land?

Today, land costs take up 60% of flat prices. Singaporeans are paying between $100,000 to $300,000 to the PAP for free money for them to use.

Meanwhile, what happens to our CPF? We cannot save enough, because we spend our life savings to give to the PAP free money.

Then they created the Lease Buyback Scheme.

After making Singaporeans pay so much to so-called “own” our homes, they then tell us maybe our “homes” are not so important afterall.

What is the PAP thinking?

Do they even understand what “homes” mean? Would Lee Hsien Loong sell his own house, so that he can get money just so he could retire?

From 2008, land costs rose by 18.2%. Resale flat prices increased by 9.1%. But our incomes only increased by 5.3%.

If land is so cheap for the government, why is the PAP making Singaporeans pay so much to them for something which is so cheap for them?

Why do they want to earn so much from us, when we are not even able to save enough in our CPF?

Today, we know that after 99 years, the flats we buy will have no value.

In fact, after 60 years, the value will start going down.

Then why does the PAP want to make Singaporeans pay so much for flats which will become worthless?

In another 5 to 10 years, the flats in the old towns will start losing their value. Then what will happen to our CPF? Will we also start losing our CPF?

PAP Gives Singaporeans Lesser CPF Returns but Makes Flats More Expensive

From 1974 to 1986, Singaporeans were earning 6.5% on our CPF. In 1986, PAP said they will peg the CPF interest rates to market rates, so that they can give us better returns.

But from 1986, the CPF interest rates never got better. It kept doing down and down. It kept getting worse. Today, Singaporeans earn only 2.5% on our CPF Ordinary Account.

This is as little as the 2.5% that the British gave when they set up the CPF in 1955.

PAP said if the CPF interest rates drop, HDB flat prices will drop too.

But the interest rates kept dropping, but the flat prices kept going higher.

Why did the PAP make us earn lesser and lesser inside our CPF, but make us pay more and more into their HDB?

And today, how come Singaporeans cannot retire?

Because the PAP took our money, gave us little back and sit on it like they own our money. Then they get richer and richer and Singaporeans become poorer and poorer!

The PAP takes our CPF and give too little back.

Then make us pay too much for the HDB flats!

But who gets to earn? The PAP.

They are very smart. Since 1968, when the PAP could get their hands on our CPF, money got into their heads. It was very easy money, cheap money.

And they could use our CPF to drive prices up for the HDB flats. Then earn from the flats too.

Since 1968, the PAP has been earning from our CPF and HDB.

CPF and Singaporeans are Very Cheap for the PAP

Today, Singaporeans only have two major assets. We think have two major assets – CPF and HDB.

But these two are cash-cows for PAP.

You think the CPF is your retirement fund. You think HDB is your home.

The PAP doesn’t think that way. Your CPF is their money. Your HDB is their money too.

We have no asset. We have no homes. At the end of the 99-year lease, your HDB has no value. The land goes back to PAP. All the money that you had paid will go down the drain.

Meanwhile, the PAP still remains very rich.

This is why I say the CPF is more than that. The CPF is not your money. PAP never looked at it that way.

Your CPF is their money. Very easy, very cheap.

Where else can you get anything so easy and cheap? Does the PAP think Singapore is like Geylang? Does the PAP treat Singaporeans like Geylang?

Why do you think they keep telling you that 2.5% is safe and secure? If they give you a higher interest rate, how can GIC and Temasek Holdings earn for themselves?

If the PAP thinks 2.5% is so good, why don’t we let GIC and Temasek Holdings earn 2.5%? We can let our CPF earn 6% to 16% – what GIC and Temasek is earning now. Let us take on the risks for ourselves. We don’t need the PAP to pretend to take care of us. We can take care of ourselves!

The PAP wants Singaporeans to be self-reliant. Then we show them how self-reliant we can be.

The PAP wants Singaporeans to be self-reliant. Then let’s see how self-reliant the PAP can be! Without our CPF, will GIC and Temasek Holdings be so rich? Without Singaporeans, will the PAP still be so rich?

The PAP wants everything cheap. Cheaper, Better, Faster.

The PAP is so cheapskate. They make Singaporeans cheap. But will the PAP make themselves so cheap. Why do they pretend to be so high-class?

We are paying PAP for a service but we get so little in return. The PAP is supposed to serve us, but instead they make us pay them to serve them.

We are asking for a government to do its job. It’s very simple. Do their job and take care of Singaporeans. Then the PAP says, pay us millions and we will do the job. And so, we paid them millions. But is the job done?

They want Singaporeans to be Cheaper, Better, Faster.

But the PAP becomes More Expensive, Even Worse and Slower! Are we getting value for money? If the value of PAP is going down, we should pay them cheaper! If they don’t know how to be cheaper, then we will get someone else cheaper!

Singaporeans, we are cheaper than Geylang. But has the PAP ever made themselves cheap for us?

If they think they are too good for Singaporeans, then we are too good for them too. We can find a better government which will at least serve us with respect and make us feel good. We do not need a government which only knows how to make themselves feel good.

PAP Controls Singaporeans with Our CPF

For the past 50 years, PAP has taken your CPF to make money for themselves, and has tied it to every part of the Singapore economy, to HDB, to GIC, to Temasek and all the government-linked companies owned by them.

PAP has used our CPF to prop up their own system.

Without your CPF, PAP is nothing. Without your money, PAP is nothing.

And that is why they are so scared. All that the PAP has created for themselves, they could do it, because of your CPF. They can get rich because of your CPF, and your HDB.

Without your CPF, the PAP will have to listen to you. But when you do not have your CPF, you have to listen to the PAP.

That is why I say the CPF is more than that. It is not just about wanting your CPF money back, then everything will be OK, you can go back to doing your own thing and pretend nothing ever happened.

As long as the PAP can control your CPF, as long as they can use your CPF to fund HDB, as long as they can take your CPF to give to GIC and Temasek Holdings, you can dream about taking your CPF back because the PAP will need it to control you.

Because the PAP will need to earn your CPF from you.

As long as the system that the PAP has created to trap all the wealth in Singapore for themselves is still in place, you can forget about your rights. The PAP can control you.

Why Does the PAP Increase the CPF Minimum Sum to $161,000 when Most Singaporeans Cannot Meet It?

On the National Day Rally last week, Lee Hsien Loong said that the CPF Minimum Sum is “not too much”. So, he increased is to $161,000 next year.

Already, 90% of Singaporeans cannot meet the CPF Minimum Sum, then why did Lee Hsien Loong increase the CPF Minimum Sum again?

If 90% of Singaporeans do not even have enough cash to meet the CPF Minimum Sum, doesn’t it mean the CPF Minimum Sum is too much?

What kind of prime minister is this to tell 90% of Singaporeans that even though you cannot meet your CPF Minimum Sum, it is “not too much”?

In any other country, the citizens would have thrown the government out by now!

Why do you think PAP threatens you that if you want to renounce your citizenship, they will make it difficult for you to become Singaporean again? They threaten you so that you won’t dare to take your CPF out!

In any other country, the citizens would have chased their government out! Which country would treat its citizens with so little respect?

If the PAP knows that most Singaporeans do not even have enough inside our CPF to meet the CPF Minimum Sum, what has the PAP done to make sure our CPF can meet the CPF Minimum Sum? Has the PAP grown our wages? Has the PAP increase the CPF interest rates?

Why do they still think $1,000 is enough for Singaporeans to survive on? Why do they still give us only 2.5% on our CPF when they can earn 16% in their Temasek Holdings?

Does the PAP even care about Singaporeans or have they always cared about their own money?

Why Should We Let the Government Threaten Us with Our Homes and Jobs?

If the PAP wants to make money, then get out of government. Go set up their own business. Don’t turn Singapore into your company and make Singaporeans work for you.

We are Singaporeans. We have our rights. Remember that! We are the rightful owners of this country. If the PAP wants to steal our country to make money for themselves, then we will fight them back and kick them out!

But why do Singaporeans still keep quiet?

Are we scared? Or we don’t care?

Are we too scared to lose our jobs? Our homes?

But why should the government holds our jobs ransom? Why should we allow the government to own 60% of the economy so that they can use our jobs to threaten us?

Are they the government or are they a company?

Should the government be the main business player in the whole country?

No, they do not decide what Singapore should be and can be. We are Singaporeans. It is us who will decide.

It is us, Singaporeans, who will decide what Singapore should be!

PAP wants to use our “homes” to control us. Today, they make us too scared to lose the “homes” so we will not speak up, for fear of losing our “homes”.

But why should we let the government threaten us? Why should Singaporeans allow the government to hold us ransom?

It is the PAP who should be scared!

Without our CPF, the PAP would be nothing. Without Singaporeans, PAP would have no country to run.

PAP is Addicted to Our CPF to Use It to Control Singaporeans

A country is not made up of the government. A country is made of its people. And the quality of its people.

So, what will we do! And for those of you sitting at homes reading this or watching this video, what will you do?

This is not just about the CPF. The CPF is more than that.

It is about power and control.

We have let PAP be in government for far too long. Is 50 years too long for the PAP to be in government?

When you let a CEO run a company for 50 years and pay the CEO too much money, will the company still be around today?

Or will the company start failing? It is not a coincidence that our trains are starting to fail. This is just the start.

But are Singaporeans ready to admit that our country is starting to break down? Or would we choose to pretend, because we fear? Because we fear change? And getting our hands dirty?

PAP has been using our CPF as their own money for nearly 50 years now. This is cheap money for them. They could take it to build HDB, make you use your CPF to pay for HDB flats and earn profits.

This is your cheap money they are using. They make you cheap.

You give anyone this kind of money, it will also get into their heads.

Today, PAP is addicted to our CPF. Like gamblers and addicts, they keep wanting to have more.

PAP Takes Our CPF to Give GIC to Use But Pretends It Doesn’t

Singaporeans have been telling PAP to give us higher wages and higher CPF interest rates so that we can earn more on our CPF.

But have our wages increased? Have the CPF interest rates increased above 2.5%?

If they increase your wages and the CPF interest rates, they will have lesser to earn. Why would they?

Today, the poorest 30% Singaporeans cannot earn enough to use, and have to spend 105% to 151% of their incomes.

For the middle-income, two-thirds have only enough to buy what they need but not anything else.

PAP makes us use our CPF to pay for Medisave and MediShield but they earn profit from Medisave and MediShield.

PAP takes our CPF to give to GIC to use, but they did not want to let us know.

In 2001, Lee Kuan Yew denied that GIC uses our CPF.

In 2006, Lee Kuan Yew again denied that GIC uses our CPF.

When Low Thia Kiang asked Ng Eng Hen if GIC uses our CPF, Ng Eng Hen said no.

It is only in May this year that the PAP finally admits for the first time that they take our CPF to use in the GIC. Then why deny this for more than the past 10 years?

But the PAP has been taking our CPF to use since 1968!

Today, PAP says the government does not interfere in the GIC and the GIC also says the government does not interfere in their operations.

But when you look at the GIC Board of Directors, Lee Hsien Loong, Tharman, Teo Chee Hean, Lim Hng Kiang, Heng Swee Kiat, and ex-Transport Minister Raymond Lim are on the board. Lee Kuan Yew is the Senior Advisor.

If PAP does not interfere in GIC, then pigs can fly.

GIC Board of Directors

The PAP Will Never Change When They Control Everything

But back to the question, what will Singaporeans do?

We get angry at the PAP. We scold the PAP. And then we hope the PAP can change.

But how can a leopard change its spots?

The problem is the PAP. We know that. But yet, we hope that one day, PAP will suddenly have a change of heart, that suddenly they will want to take care of Singaporeans?

You are asking a PAP which owns 60% of the economy, which have earned from your CPF and HDB and are very comfortable with that, where Singapore is ranked by The Economist as 5th on the crony capitalism index, where cronies have been able to get rich precisely because of their connections with the PAP and will continue to work for the PAP to protect the system that helps them get rich.

And you hope that the PAP will have a change of heart?

If you control everything in Singapore, your interest is not in taking care of the people, and sharing what you have earned with them. Your interest is to keep earning all this money for yourselves to protect your power and money.

No matter how much Singaporeans beg the PAP, they will never change. You can see that for yourselves at the National Day Rally last week.

Did anything about the CPF change? Can we get higher interest rates on our CPF now?

And as if it is not enough to tear down the old National Library building, the government wants to tear down the Chinese and Japanese Gardens. And wants us to sell our “homes” back to them under the Lease Buyback Scheme.

Where is their heart?

Do they still have a heart for Singapore?

Will Singaporeans Start Taking Responsibility for Ourselves to Put Things Right?

But as humans, humans are selfish, humans are greedy. When you let anyone have too much power and too much money, this will get into their heads as well.

So, we should not fault the PAP too much. They are only being human. They are only being like us.

If we are just as selfish, can we blame them for being selfish? If we are just as ignorant, can we blame them for being ignorant?

If we have not given the PAP so much power, will they have access to so much power and let the power get into their heads?

If so, are Singaporeans not to be blamed as well for letting go of our own power, to let the PAP be able to control us?

At the end of the day, if Singaporeans are not partners in crime with the PAP, if we have not send the PAP into government elections after elections, we would not have been able to let them become addicted.

If the PAP is now addicted to our CPF, Singaporeans, it is us who caused it. We are the ones who gave them a one-way ticket to let them make use of our CPF to earn money for themselves for the past 50 years.

We are the ones we should blame. If we want to scold someone, it is us whom we should scold. If we want to complain, it is ourselves we should complain about.

Why did we allow ourselves to hope that the PAP can change for the better, even when we can see for our eyes that they won’t?

We do we allow ourselves to be so scared that we won’t dare to do anything different but keep voting the PAP in?

If our lives get worse, we have only ourselves to blame. Not the PAP. The PAP can only do what they can because we keep letting them.

We behave like the angry victim who curse and scold at the person who poured hot water on us, only to give them more buckets of hot water to throw on us.

But will we take responsibility for ourselves? Will we decide to start owning ourselves, and our rights? They make us cheap. Doesn’t matter. We know our worth. We know how good we are. Will we take responsibility for ourselves, fight for ourselves and give ourselves another chance to put things right?

Will we start taking responsibility for ourselves?

The PAP’s Agenda is To Make Money, But This Will Cost Singapore’s Future

Now, we know the system is broken. It is not just the CPF. Wages are too low – Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among the highest-income countries even though we are now the most expensive place to live in, in the world. Our purchasing power has been decreasing and we have lesser and lesser to use. By increasing the CPF contribution rates, the PAP makes our purchasing power go down further and because PAP makes it more expensive to hire Singaporeans, so employers do not want to increase wages. PAP increases rents which increases prices. They spend so little on maintaining the MRT that it keeps breaking down.

But behind it all, the PAP’s agenda is very clear. It is to make money. Pay low wages to earn high profits. Pay low health spending to earn high profits. Make rents high to pay for profits. Pay less for train maintenance to earn high profits.

Spend less, earn more and have lower quality. Is this how you want Singapore to go down the drain?

It is clear the PAP’s way of working will no longer work for Singapore. Local businesses are not able to grow. We cannot grow our own brands to compete in the world. Singaporeans have to keep being workers but cannot become entrepreneurs to help give Singapore a new lease of life.

When we say the PAP has run out of ideas, it is not because they have no new ideas. They do, but when you know their agenda is to make money, then you will see that they do have new ideas – the ERP, COE. But these new ideas are just not what is needed to improve the lives of Singaporeans.

Is The Role of The Government to Take Care of Singaporeans?

But what is the role of a government? Have we ever thought about that? Is the role of a government to protect the people?

Is the role of the government to ensure that Singaporeans can afford healthcare, so that we do not have to choose to die instead of going to the hospital? And so that we have to wait for hours in the emergency because we do not have enough money to be upgraded to a higher class ward?

Is the role of the government to encourage Singaporeans to be educated and to open enough spaces in the universities for Singaporeans to do so, instead of telling Singaporeans not to pursue a degree? Is the role of the government to provide affordable education, instead of to keep increasing childcare and university tuition fees?

Is the role of the government to spend more money to maintain the MRT tracks, so that our MRT trains can travel faster and smoother, and not spend more money decorating new buses and inviting performers to perform while we wait during train delays?

Let Us Help the PAP to Go to Create a New Singapore

Now, we have to thank the PAP of the earlier generations for taking care of Singapore and bringing Singapore to where it is today. They had the heart for Singapore. We might not agree with everything that they do, but they were at least committed towards building Singapore to where it is today.

Maybe it was become times were hard then, so the PAP worked hard to help Singapore succeed. But the PAP today, many grew up with silver spoons in their mouths, too used to the comfort that they do not know hardship. They do not know how it is like to work on $1,000 every month, or even to be unemployed and living on very little savings. The PAP today cannot understand that.

The PAP today no longer knows what it means to take care of its citizens or what it means to be government. But we should not blame them. They have lost touch.

If so, let us help them. Let us help them leave government respectably, and let us put in place a government which will have the heart and the minds to listen to Singaporeans, to take care of us and to protect us – a government which will ensure that Singaporeans will not be left out from the healthcare system, where every child truly deserves an equal opportunity to education. And where we will be able to earn enough to live respectably in Singapore.

Let us do this for ourselves.

Let us create a new beginning.

Let us put the past behind, celebrate what the old PAP had done, thank them and be grateful to them.

But let us help the new PAP leave gracefully, so that they can start a new beginning somewhere else, and so that Singaporeans can start a new beginning as well.

What we want is a country where our people will be taken care of, where our people can grow old and be treated well after years of working so hard for the country.

What we want is a country where our people are kind to one another, where I will stop and help you because it is the decent to do.

Where work hours are not so long where we have enough time for ourselves, enough time for one another, our families, our children and our friends.

What we want is a place to live in, where we will be respected, happy, and fulfilled, not because we have so much money or are able to buy the next branded thing, but because our lives are good enough, that we can live our lives free, happy and with dignity.

Now, that is all we want. And that is Singaporeans ask for.

We Are Our Heroes, Let Us Be the Change We Want To See

But my friends, if we want to see this happen, we cannot sit and wait for someone else to stand up and do it for us.

We cannot hope that a hero will rise and save us. Your hero is the enemy of the PAP. And the PAP will go out at all costs to terminate your hero.

There is no hero. There are only heroes. And each of these heroes lie within us, within our strength.

All of us are capable of change.

Perhaps we do not know our power and our abilities because we are not able to see beyond ourselves yet. But it is time for us to see beyond our own wants. It is not just about CPF. It is not just about wanting our CPF back.

It is about knowing how the PAP takes our CPF to earn money for themselves, how they can use it to control the economy and our “homes” and how they can use our CPF to control our lives. It is about knowing how the PAP has used their system to make money for themselves, while letting the rest of Singaporeans earn low wages and low retirement funds, so that we will have to keep working to produce money for them.

Once you understand this, you understand that you cannot wait and hope that the PAP will change. Help them go out, and help yourselves, because that is the very least you can do for yourselves and your families.

The government is not the be all and the end all.

The government is only human. The government is just like us. And it is us.

Let us put in a government which has the heart and which will listen. Let us put in a government which will do things to improve the lives of the people. Let us give ourselves a chance.

We do not want to wait until it is too late, when things really start falling apart before we do something about it. Things can look very good today, but we know of many other places which have unravelled overnight. And if we truly care for our homes and our lives, then we will do what we need to, to protect our country and our homes.

Stop waiting. You are the hero you have been waiting for. You are the change you have always wanted. Be the change you want to see.

There are many good people with good ideas and solutions of what needs to be done in Singapore. Professor Lim Chong Yah warned the PAP to not use our CPF excessively. PAP did not listen. Many others have also warned the PAP in the 1990s and 2000s.

Associate Professor Hui Went Tat also criticised that the CPF changes announced by Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally did not go far enough.

Many Singaporeans and patriots spoke up because we want to protect Singapore. But the PAP never changed its spots.

Let the Heroes among Ourselves Rise and Let Us Start Believing In a New Hope

It is time, my friends. It is time we look beyond our lives and ourselves and do this for our country. Singapore might never have fought a war since 1965. But we face in front of ourselves a battle for the future of our country.

We can no longer sit and wait, while we see our country unravel in front of our very own eyes and just hope that things will change.

Stop hoping. Start believing. Start taking action.

And let’s start doing something.

Let’s put our fears aside. Let’s put our heads together. Let’s work in unity. Let’s be united.

For if we want our country to succeed and for ourselves to have a future, then it is really up to us to believe that our country is important enough for us to fight for it.

Then it is up to us to believe that we are strong enough to fight for our country and our fellow men.

Heroes are not made by one or two. But the heroes of a nation are the brave men and women who decide to stop what is not right, and decide that for the greater good, we will emerge and we will regain our confidence, our belief and work to make it happen, to give ourselves that chance.

We have one chance. Now, are we going to take it?

Are we going to help ourselves?

Can we be the heroes that our country needs?

When the time comes, I hope that we would have thought through things enough, and no matter how many carrots we are given, we will no longer be that rabbit stuck in the cage, but we will be the Singaporean who will break out of the cage, to find our own carrots, to take responsibility for ourselves, to own our lives, to live our own lives, and to fight, to do what is right for ourselves, our country, our people, and our future.

The PAP of the past has done good, but they are no longer what Singapore needs. The time has come for a new dawn and a new beginning.

The PAP needs us to survive. They need our CPF. But we cannot let their addiction go on.

We need to let the PAP go, so that Singaporeans will have a chance. So that and Singapore will have a chance.

Let us help the PAP go, and let us help ourselves.

If Singapore is to remain our home, we have to give it a new lease of life.

Let us join hands and do this.

Let us give our country a new hope.

Let us give ourselves this one chance.

For ourselves, let’s do this.

Return Our CPF 3 Poster You Are the Heroes

Return Our CPF 3 The People's Protest

How Much Does the Government Thinks Is Enough for Singaporeans to Retire On? $600? $1,200? $1,500? $2,000? Or More?

I am very confused now. So how much does the government think is enough for Singaporeans to retire on?

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said last month that the government “wanted the (CPF) Minimum Sum to be able to meet the expenditure needs of a lower-middle income retiree couple.

He said that, “The current Minimum Sum for someone turning 55 from July 2014 is $155,000, after adjustment for inflation. This sum will provide about $1,200 per month, for life, through CPF LIFE. “

Again, he said that, “This is estimated to be what a lower-middle income retiree household requires to meet their basic daily needs.”

So, does the government think $1,200 is enough for retirement?

However, at the National Day Rally last Sunday, Lee Hsien Loong had asked the audience how much they would need to retire on.

20140817_204036

When he asked the audience to raise their hands, I thought there were more people who said they needed $3,000 to retire on.

But doesn’t matter, Lee Hsien Loong thought that more people said they needed $2,000.

Then, he went ahead to present his prepared slides using the $2,000 figure.

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So, does this mean the government thinks Singaporeans actually need $2,000 to have enough for retirement?

Lee Hsien Loong then further demonstrated how the CPF Minimum Sum and the Lease Buyback Scheme works.

For the CPF Minimum Sum, he said that a person could pledge his/her property to meet half of the CPF Minimum Sum of $77,500. If so, a person would only be able to withdraw $600 monthly.

20140817_204322

Associate Professor Hui Went Tat pointed out that if a person could only withdraw $600, this would mean that a person would “not hav(e) enough retirement savings“. Indeed, I had estimated that 73.5% of Singaporeans do not even have $77,500 inside our CPF in cash, which means that nearly three-quarters of Singaporeans would get less than $600.

Three-Quarters of Singaporeans Have Less Than $77,500 in Our CPF

Lee Hsien Loong then said that the Lease Buyback Scheme could give the person another $900, which as Prof Hui also pointed out, would give “a total of $1,500 a month which will be below current subsistence living level“.

20140817_204822

So then, does this mean the government thinks $1,500 is enough?

I am getting very, very confused here. How much exactly does the government think is enough for Singaporeans to retire on?

Why did Lee Hsien Loong talk about how $2,000 would be “enough” but went on to illustrate how a person would be able to get $1,500? What about the other $500?

According to Prof Hui, he said, “The $2,000 retirement income projected for Mr Tan, if paid out today, would therefore put him in this group of households with an income considered to be enough for basic or subsistence living… And with inflation, the real value of the $2,000 Mr Tan is due to get in 10 years’ time would be even more paltry.”

If so, even though the government had indicated that $1,200 is enough for a lower middle household, but it looks like according to Prof Hui’s calculations, this would not even be enough! A person would need at least $2,000. And after accounting for inflation, $2,000 in 10 years’ time would not even be enough!

The Press Secretary of the Minister for Manpower Ms Chong responded to Prof Hui by saying that, “The worked example of the hypothetical Tan family was not meant to show that $2,000 per month will definitely be sufficient for retirement.”

She added that, “$2,000 was the majority view of the audience, but for each individual, the actual figure would come down to a matter of personal needs.”

So, does this mean the government acknowledges that even $2,000 might not be enough for retirement?

I am certain that there were as many people who raised their hands at $3,000, if not more people, so I am not sure if her conclusion is reflective.

Also, was it not Lee Hsien Loong who had prepared his presentation based on the $2,000 figure? If so, would it not be that the government which thinks that $2,000 is enough?

So, what exactly does the government think is enough? $600? $1,200? $1,500? $2,000?  More than $2,000?

There are so many different figures that the government is using! Does the government even know how much Singaporeans need to retire on? Or does the government even care? Is this all just a mathematical exercise to them? It looks like it.

How Much Does the Government Thinks Singaporeans Need to Have to Retire

It is even more worrisome when Ms Chong said, “The fact that most eligible home owners have not taken up the Lease Buyback Scheme may well be a positive sign that most seniors do in fact have other support, and are adequately provided for in retirement.”

Which statistics did Ms Chong based this assumption on?

I had calculated that 73.5% of Singaporeans do not even have $77,500 inside our CPF, which means three-quarters of us would only be able to withdraw less than $600 every month, which as Ms Chong pointed out, is “much less than the $2,000 per month he would need.”

If so, the government would know that the majority of Singaporeans simply do not have enough inside our CPF for retirement at all!

Then, why this frivolous statement?

The PAP Government is Still Not Do Anything to Grow Singaporeans’ CPF Retirement Savings

Based on the above, then why is the government not helping Singaporeans to grow our CPF to ensure that all Singaporeans are able to withdraw at least $2,000 every month from our CPF?

  • First, why did the government claim $1,200 is enough when it was shown at the National Day Rally that $1,200 might not be enough and a person might instead actually need $2,000?
  • Second, the government claims that $2,000 is enough today, but when it is clear that $2,000 will not be enough in 10 years’ time, what are the government’s plans to resolve this? Do they even have any?
  • Third, the government sets a CPF Minimum Sum, to give a $1,200 payout. But when they know that the majority of Singaporeans cannot even withdraw $600, then what is the government doing to help Singaporeans grow our CPF? Do they even have any?

As Prof Hui mentioned, “priority should be changes to ensure that savings are sufficient for retirement. Attention has to be put on the savings accumulation stage, not just the withdrawal stage.”

Indeed, to do so, Leong Sze Hian and I had calculated that the government needs to implement a minimum wage of at least $1,500 and increase the CPF interest rates to 6% to grow Singaporeans’ CPF. And this can be easily done since our CPF is invested in the GIC which is earning an estimated 6%.

Slide14

Ms Chong also said, “CPF and home ownership work hand-in-hand to provide for Singaporeans in retirement. The Government helps citizens to own their homes, and pay for them using their retirement savings in the CPF, so that the home can be a nest egg for them to draw upon in old age.”

But I am very perplexed.

Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wah has admitted that, “we control the (public housing) construction programme; secondly, we set the price (for the HDB flats),” Also, today, “Land now makes up about three-fifths of development cost on average, up from two-fifths in 2008.”

Also, Gerald Giam had questioned the Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wah, where it was revealed that, “Like all leasehold properties, HDB flats will revert to HDB, the landowner, upon expiry of their leases. HDB will in turn surrender the land to the State.”

If so, if the government fixes the prices of HDB flats and Singaporeans do not own the flat nor the land, why does the government sets such high prices for the flats, makes Singaporeans pay for the land we do not own and forces Singaporeans to use too much of our CPF to pay for the flat leases?

When Singaporeans are not able to retire because we have to use too much of our CPF to buy over-inflated flat leases, should it not be the responsibility of the government to set the prices of these flats at a more affordable level, instead of charge high prices now and then ask us sell back the lease later on (and make us feel insecure as to whether we would still have a home to live in when we grow older)?

If the government has enough money to buy back the leases, then are they not already charging too high prices for the flats and earning profit?

If the government chooses to fix the prices of flats at such an exorbitant level and wipe out a large chunk of our CPF, then is the government “helping” Singaporeans, or is the government extorting from Singaporeans?

In the same sentence, Ms Chong said that the flats are our “homes”, then suddenly the flats are also a “nest egg”.

Maybe it is time the PAP government stand up with some moral integrity and responsibility and decide once and for all – does it want to continue to make money off Singaporeans from our CPF and HDB, or is the government keen at all to help Singaporeans really own our homes and be able to retire?

And if the PAP is not interested in protecting Singaporeans, then maybe it is time Singaporeans recognise this, do the right thing to protect ourselves, and vote in a new government which will at least listen to Singaporeans and protect us.

Come down to the #ReturnOurCPF protest tomorrow at 4pm at Hong Lim Park. You can join the Facebook event page here.

Return Our CPF burning rose poster

Return Our CPF sun poster

Return Our CPF burning sun poster

Return Our CPF 3 Poster Part 2

Return Our CPF 3 Poster Part 2 chinese

行动党是如何操纵我们的公积金资金?为什么他们不让新加坡人民知道公积金的历史真相?《第一部分》

What PAP Has Done to Your CPF and Doesn’t Want Singaporeans to Know (The Real History)

这篇文章是比我在昨天撰写的《公积金的真实历史》(the real history of the CPF)要短一些。请您阅读。当您读完这篇文章后,您就知道,除了您的退休金以外,行动党把我们的公积金当成万能的工具!您就会明白,为什么行动党现在已经无法把我们的公积金从新加坡的经济中脱身?那是因为我们的公积金已经锁紧在经济领域!

This is the much shorter version of the real history of the CPF which I had written yesterday. Please read this. When you finish reading this, you will know how PAP is treating your CPF for everything else, other than for your retirement, and how they have locked-in our CPF into the economy that it is now very difficult for them to pull back.

我是以最简洁和易懂的方式来撰写这篇文章的。我在这篇文章里附上了许多图表加以说明,这样将能够让读者的思路更加顺畅。请您花费一些时间把这篇文章阅读完。这样,您将会对我们的公积金有了深一层的了解后,您将会为保护自己的公积金做出正确的决定。

I have written this article in a way that makes it very quick and easy to read through. I have put in many graphics to make it faster to flow through. Please take a few minutes to go through this article. Knowing how your CPF works in the big picture will allow you to make the right decisions to protect your own lives. 

这篇文章将会为您提供一个完整的事实,让您知道行动党是如何动用我们的公积金的同时又不让我们知道他们动用我们的公积金的全过程。

This is a 2-part article. Please also read part 2 as it will complete the full picture for you on how PAP uses your CPF and does not want to let you know how they do it. 

*****

公积金制度是在1955年设立的。

The CPF was set up in 1955.

建屋发展局是在1960年成立的。在1964年之前,建屋发展局的‘原来目标是….建造住房出租的’。然而,在1964年行动党政府更改了这个目标变成了‘在1964年把建造好的住房卖给租户。’

The Housing Development Board was set up in 1960. Prior to 1964, the HDB’s “original objective … was to build flats for rental“. However, in 1964, the PAP government changed their objective to “selling flats to tenants in 1964“.

然而,新加坡人民并没有购买这些住房,因此,行动党就让公积金‘自由化’,并同时推行了‘居者有其屋计划’,让公积金会员可以利用公积金购买建屋发展局建造的住房。

However, Singaporeans were not buying the flats so PAP “liberalised” the CPF and created the Home Ownership Scheme to let CPF be used to buy flats.

政府也同时利用我们的公积金进行另一种用途,这是新加坡人民所不知道的事。从1968年开始,公积金被立法成为‘政府的资金来源的一个渠道’。当时,新加坡政府的财政收入并没有累计盈余,因此,政府向公积金局借贷‘来进行发展用途…..(直到)政府的财政已经累计了盈余’。

The government also used our CPF for another purpose which most Singaporeans do not know about. From 1968, CPF was legislated to become “a source of funds for the government“. Singapore hasn’t accumulated surpluses yet too, so the government borrowed Singaporeans’ CPF “for development expenditure … (until) it built up budgetary surplus.

当时动用公积金进行发展计划的最大使用者是就是建屋发展局,‘公积金的资金(事实上就是)借贷给建屋发展局去建造住房。’(见流程图)

As the main user of the development funds was the HDB, “CPF funds were (thus essentially) lent to the Housing Development Board so that it could build flats.”

Screenshot (86)

在1955年开始设立公积金制度时,新加坡人民只需缴交10%的公积金(雇员和雇主各分担5%)。

At the start in 1955, Singaporeans only needed to contribute 10% (5% employee and 5% employer) into the CPF.

可是,到了1968年,因为行动党政府要贯彻他们的‘居者有其屋’计划,他们调高了公积金缴交到13%。

However, in 1968, because PAP wanted “to support the(ir) national home ownership drive“, they increased the CPF contribution rates to 13%.

接下来,从1984年开始直到1986,他们就不断的调高公积金缴交率到50%。

And so they kept increasing it to do so until 50% in 1984, until 1986.

Slide3

Edward Ng先生说,‘这样高的储蓄率证明了是要把公积金变成比退休金计划更加大的意图’。事实上,行动党已经把公积金的资金的用途扩大给了建屋发展局了。

Edward Ng said that, “Such a high savings rate is evidence of the intent to make CPF more than a pension scheme for retirement.” Indeed, PAP extended the CPF to give HDB to use.

但是,为什么行动党政府要人民‘拥有自己的房子’?李光耀说了,‘要建立以各人人拥有自己的房子的社会。我….确信,假设每个家庭都要有自己的房子,这个社会将会更加稳定……我已经看过在资本主义国家的人民经常在最后是倾向投反对政府的票。所以我们决定住户必须成为屋主,否则,我们的社会将不会稳定。’

But why did the PAP wanted Singaporeans to “own homes”? Lee Kuan Yew had said, “I wanted a home-owning society. I … was convinced that if every family owned its home, the country would be more stable … I had seen how voters in capital cities always tended to vote against the government of the day and was determined that our householders should become homeowners, otherwise we would not have political stability.”

但是,向我们的公积金贷款建造政府组屋已经发展到失控了。早在1980年初期,行动党已经建造过剩的组屋了。在1980年制定的第五个五年建造计划的目标是建造8万5千个单位到10万个单位。然而,他们却大量的建造了18万9千个单位。接近预订计划的两倍。

But the borrowing of our CPF to build HDB got out of hand. During the early 1980s, PAP started to over-build. Under the Fifth Five-Year Building Programme, the target set in 1980 was to build 85,000 to 100,000 flats. However, a massive 189,000 flats were built, or nearly twice as much.

这样的‘随着1985年——1987年的经济萧条,这种朝向国家的经济和房地产崩溃“过热”的贡献’造成了‘房地产市场供应的过剩’。

This “contributed towards ‘over-heating’ of the economy and the property slump and recession which followed in 1985-87” as there was an “over-supply in the property market“.

李光耀后来承认,‘在1982年到1984年之间,我们建造了超过我们所需的两倍的组屋。这是我们犯上的最大错误。’

Lee Kuan Yew later admitted that, “We made one of our more grievous mistakes in 1982-84 by more than doubling the number of flats we had previously built.”

问题上:为什么行动党会过量的建造组屋?这是因为‘1984年是选举年,也是庆祝新加坡建国25周年的成就’。同时,行动党要新加坡人民在庆祝建国纪念的日子‘拥有自己的房子’。

But why did PAP over-build? This is because “1984 (was) an election year as well as a year for celebrating 25 years of achievement as an independent nation” and PAP wanted to get more Singaporeans to “own” their flats in time for their anniversary.

在1986年,一个研讨公积金的小组建议:‘当局应该控制追求的政策。否则将让越来越多的公积金吸引到(会员)的产业提升和购买更多的产业。在这样的情况下,将会给更加多的家庭产生压力,并将可能损害他们在除了产业价格的膨胀外的老年生活的所需的经济能力。’

In 1986, the CPF Study Group recommended “that the authorities refrain from pursuing policies that would induce individuals to siphon more and more of their savings from their CPF to continuously upgrade their properties and to purchase additional properties, at the expense of other more pressing family needs and to the possible detriment of their ability to finance a decent old-age livelihood, besides contributing to inflating property prices.

这是因为公积金在制造‘人为的需要’的产业——为了行动党要达到‘百分之百的人也有自己的产业的目标’。因此,‘利用公积金购买房子就摧毁了消费的方式了。….(和)为了要实现居者有其屋的政治目标,就提高了公积金的缴交率。这样一来,假设经济上真正出现了问题,在公积金的户头里有越来越多的资金也可以达到这个政治目的,’

This is because the CPF was creating an “artificial demand” for housing, as PAP wanted to achieve their “goal of 100 percent home ownership“. Thus “The use of CPF savings for the purchase of housing distorts consumption patterns … (and) The fulfilment of the political objective of home ownership by increasing CPF contribution rates so that more funds would be available for this purpose is, if true, economically inefficient.

他们说,‘既然(公积金制度的设立)主要(也是原来的)目的是要为老年人的未来储蓄,那么,公积金的缴交率就要设定包括达到这个目标的混合利率,也必须保持这个利率水平。’

They also said, “Since its main (and original) objective is to provide for savings for old age, the combined rate of contribution should be set at a level consistent with this objective, and it should be maintained at that level.

无论如何,行动党是走向‘相反’的方向和‘推动了提升计划政策(又一次)和允许公积金 资金用于这个目的。’

However, PAP went in the “opposite” direction and “promoted the upgrading policy (again) and allowed the user of CPF funds for this purpose.”

就这样,行动党也就没有停止他们这种使用公积金进行超越需求建造组屋的愿望。‘在1977年,亚洲金融危机时’,国家发展部长马宝山承认,‘建屋发展局超建的3万1千的组屋单位空置着’。这段时间是‘浪费了纳税人的钱’。

So, PAP did not stop its wanton desires to use our CPF to over-build flats and “when the Asian Financial Crisis hit in 1997,” National Development Mah Bow Tan admitted that, “HDB ended up with 31,000 unsold flats“, this time while “wast(ing) … taxpayers money”.

因此,在1960年到1980年中,行动党迫使新加坡人缴交更多的公积金。在1982年,当时的劳工兼通讯部长说了:‘公积金的缴交率在未来将可能会调高到50%’。在这50%的缴交率里,40% 将是属于购房子用途,其他的6%是由用于保健储蓄,剩余的是 作为退休和其他急用款。’

Thus from the 1960s to mid-1980s, the PAP kept making Singaporeans pay more into the CPF. In 1982, the then-Minister for Labour and Communications had said that “the CPF contribution rate is likely to increase to 50% in the future. Of this 50%, 40% will be for housing and other uses, 6% for Medisave and the remainder for old age and contingencies.

这就是说,行动党已经将计划让老百姓利用我们80%的公积金去购买他们的组屋。

Which means PAP had planned to make us use 80% of our CPF to buy their flats.

因此,‘国际专家提议,10%——15%的缴交率应该足于为35% ——40%作为替代率,再加上生存者的保险受益’。您认为,50% 的公积金缴交率(或者今天的37%)是否太高了。

However, “The international experience suggests that a contribution rate of 10 to 15 percent should be sufficient for providing a replacement rate of between 35 and 40 percent plus survivors insurance benefits,” thus is 50% (or the 37% today) too much?

行动党也就这样可以‘推动了……(他们的目的)居者有其屋以引导公积金出现的资金朝向(购买)房地产的方向。’

The PAP was thus able to “‘create’… (their intention of) homeownership was by directing savings in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) towards housing.

实质上,‘公积金已经成为房地产抵押市场的支柱。’

Essentially, “the CPF has (become) a substitute for the mortgage market.

但是,特别是在今天许多老年人无法退休的情况下,您认为,您的公积金的用途是使用在这方面吗? 行动党是否偿还从新加坡人的公积金户头动用去投资并赚取了的利润呢?

But is this what you think your CPF should be used for, especially since today many older Singaporeans cannot retire? Did PAP return what they took from Singaporeans and earned?

Central Provident Fund in Singapore CPF-HDB Circular Flow of Funds

很快的, 由于我们的公积金为建屋发展局提供了源源不断的资金,建屋发展局已经成为‘最大的房地产发展商和最大的房地产贷款抵押商…..在2000年,政府的房地产贷款额是6千零10亿万元。这个数额远远超过了私人房地产贷款额(私人房地产贷款额是3千8百60万亿元)’和在2003年占国民生产总值(GDP)的总比例是71%》….这是在亚洲国家当中最高的百分比。’

Very soon, on the supply of our CPF, HDB became “the largest housing developer (and) also the largest mortgage provider… government mortgage loans totalled 60.1 billion Singapore dollars (SGD) in the year 2000, which was much higher than the total housing loans of the private sector (SGD 38.6 billion)” and the “2003 ratio of outstanding housing loans to GDP (was) 71 percent, (which was) … the highest in Asia”.

‘直至2012年3月31日止,总共有1百38万名公积金会员从公积金户头里提取了1万零1百90亿万元作为购买公共住房用途。’

As at March 31 2012, 1.38 million members had withdrawn net amount of $ 101.9 billion for public housing scheme.

建屋发展局已经成为‘通过公积金局行政管理(成为)提供公共住房和房产抵押贷款市场的垄断者’

HDB became “a monopoly supplier of public housing and its mortgage provider, administered through the CPF“.

当时,这也同时是在1960年的土地征用法令,‘缺乏普通或者宪法权利的土地拥有者’下,允许行动党能够这么做’。——‘国家所拥有的土地从1940年的44% 增加到1985年的76%’

But it is also because of “the absence of common or constitutional right to land ownership” under the Land Acquisition Act 1966 that allowed PAP to do this – “land under state ownership increased from 44% in 1960 to 76% by 1985.

最初,‘建屋发展局可以为自己建造的组屋定出比市场还低的价格是因为当时的政府组屋是在国家自己的土地上建造的。这些土地是通过低于市价的情况下强制性的向私人土地征用过来的。’

Initially, “The HDB was able to price its units below market prices mainly because HDB flats are built on state owned land, much of which had been compulsorily acquired from private landowners at below market prices.

Goodman, Kwon and White 说,‘假设有一个对财产有极大兴趣的强大的地主阶级的存在,那么。住屋政策将不可能这么顺利的执行下去。’

Goodman, Kwon and White said that, “If there had been a strong landlord class with a vested interest in land, the housing policy could never have been carried through as easily as it was.”

无论如何,行动党通过建屋发展局和房地产公司淡马锡控股已经成为最大的房地产业主。我们可以看到事情已经朝哪个方向发展。

However, today, the PAP government, via HDB and the real estate companies owned by Temasek Holdings, is the largest real estate owners and we can see where things have headed.

为此,行动党在‘居者有其屋政策下’,制造了‘人为的高需求’。同时,‘放宽了建屋发展局和公积金局条例,让人们可以购买公共住房和私人住宅,这是他们制造出来的一个邪恶的联盟……这样一来,建屋发展局和一小撮私人房地产发展商就成了供应这个住宅房地产商市场的实际上的垄断联盟了。

Thus PAP created “higher artificial demand” with their “homeownership policy“. Also, “The relaxation of housing rules by both the HDB and CPF made public and private housing more substitutable, (which created an) unholy alliance … as the whole residential market becomes a de facto cartel with HDB and a handful of private developers on the supply side.

更加严重的是,‘作为国家最大的地主和推动土地买卖,他们的国家土地银行通过投标制度加剧了这个市场的局势恶化’——他们由此造成了屋价更加迅猛的上涨。同时‘额外的储蓄又诱导了新加坡住房市场对大型组屋的需求’,这就进一步把组屋价格向上推高。

Worse still, “The situation is aggravated by the state as the largest land owner and exercises land sales from its land bank on a tender system”, causing flat prices to rise even faster. Also, “the extra savings due to the CPF system had induced a demand for bigger flats in Singapore” also drove prices even further upwards.

这就意味着,假设新加坡人要‘集体移民…(这将会)引发漩涡式的风潮售卖他们的房地产。

This means that if Singaporeans are to “migrate en masse, … (this will) trigger downward spirals as more would sell their properties.

无论如何,新加坡的住房价格的梯级似的攀升是不合理的!正如不久前国家发展部长许文远所承认的,‘我们控了住房施工计划和为(政府组屋)制定了售价’。

However, the escalation of housing prices does not make sense as the Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wah had recently admitted that, “we control the (public housing) construction programme; secondly, we set the price (for the HDB flats),”

假设许文远说的是真实的,那么,行动党是否可以防止(政府组屋)的价格暴涨?或者,为什么行动党要政府价格梯级似的向上攀升?

If so, can PAP not prevent prices from exploding? Or, why does PAP want housing prices to escalate upwards?

Khaw Boon Wah Firstly, we control the construction programmes. Secondly, we set the price

‘在1977年Phang and Wong进行了调研显示,建屋发展局和公积金局为住房提供有效性贷款政策是冲击屋价的最主要因素。这些政策包括了在1981年扩大公积金储蓄使用于购买私人房地产,和在1993年放宽了允许建屋发展局组屋在转售市场的抵押贷款,以及在1994年引进了公积金补助购买转售市场的建屋发展局组屋的政策。’

A study by Phang and Wong (1997) shows that policies on the availability of HDB and CPF finance for housing had the most significant impacts on housing prices. These policies include extending the use of CPF savings for private housing in 1981, liberalizing the terms of HDB mortgage loans for resale flats in 1993, and the introduction of CPF grants for purchasing HDB resale flats in 1994.

正是如此,行动党已经有意识到制定政策把住房价格推高。他们通过操纵我们的公积金让新加坡人民使用更多的公积金去购买他们制造出来的政府组屋需求。现在您可以知道为什么他们要每个新加坡人都要拥有自己的住屋的原因了吗?这可能是一个真正因素,但是,真正的因素是金融因素。

As such, PAP has intentionally created policies to drive prices upwards. And they have done so by manipulating our CPF to get Singaporeans to use more CPF to soak up the HDB demand they created. Now, do you see why they needed every Singaporean to believe in owning their own homes? It might be political, but the real reason is financial.

事实上,我们可以追溯行动党是人如何通过制定政策来提高屋价的。

Indeed, we can track how PAP’s policies did increase housing prices.

Slide1

同时,在1980年,行动党开始制造政府组屋的价格上涨的方式是通过‘提高….价格是基于住房的屋型、地点、层楼、周围景观和其他令人羡慕的因素’,这样就促使新加坡人使用更多的公积金去购买政府组屋。

Also, in the 1980s, PAP started to make flats more expensive by “increas(ing) … prices based on housing type, location, floor level, view, and other aesthetic factors,” making Singaporeans use more of our CPF to pay more for the flats.

过去,政府组屋的售价是比市场还要低。但是,行动党就开始‘土地价格….最后售价….尽管真正的计算公式(成本)尚未披露’等将物价推高。今天,‘土地价格的平均发展成本是从2008年的25%上升到35%.’。

Previously, flats were built and sold cheaply below market rates but PAP started including “Land cost … in the final selling prices … though the true formula is not revealed,” which drove flat prices upwards as well. Today, “Land now makes up about three-fifths of development cost on average, up from two-fifths in 2008.”

Slide3

行动党让政府组屋的价格飞跃的上涨。‘在1981年到1988年之间,四房型组屋的价格平均每年上涨了2.5%。但是,在1988年和1992年期间,政府组屋的价格戏剧性的每年上涨了12%’。

PAP made flat prices grew so quickly that “between 1981 and 1988, four-room flat prices rose by an average of only 2.5% per year, but between 1988 and 1992, prices increased dramatically by an average of 12% every year!”

Slide5

今天情况更加恶劣。从2008年到2013年,‘与转手市场的9.1%转售价个相比,土地成本已经上升到每年平均混合利率的18.2%。平均家庭的收入的混合年利率只增加了5.3%。’

Things are even worse today, from 2008 to 2013, “land costs have grown at an average compound rate of 18.2 per cent a year, compared with 9.1 per cent for HDB resale prices” but “incomes (only) rose at a compound annual rate of 5.3 per cent for the average household“.

Slide6

Phang Sock-Yong教授说,‘1981年的放松政策和1993年放松政策建屋发展局和公积金局条例,允许转售市场的政府组屋使用公积金购买的政策造成了对屋价极大的冲击。这也为炒卖房地产泡沫以及后来的泡沫爆破提供了导因’。这是和1997年和2000年以及今天所发生的潜在威胁是一样。

Professor Phang Sock-Yong said that, “The 1981 liberalization as well as the 1993 liberalization of HDB and CPF regulations for HDB resale flat housing loans had significant impacts on housing prices, contributing to the development of speculative bubbles that subsequently burst.” The same happened in 1997, 2008 and threatens to happen again today.”

同时,‘新加坡人强制性的储蓄和住屋政策是在家庭消费和投资形式上一个极其本质性的冲击的。’无数的公积金和建屋发展局的限制和条例控制着储蓄者和消费者的决定权力。

Also, “Singapore’s mandatory savings and housing policies have very substantial impacts on household’s consumption and investment patterns. Savers’ and consumers’ rights in decision making are constrained by numerous CPF and HDB restrictions and regulations.”

好了。为什么行动党对1986 有关公积金研讨小组提出的不要过度扩大公积金的住房政策忠告采取忽视的态度?现在就是证据了!——因为他们可以从公积金和建屋发展局的(售屋)活动获利,这也是他们所要达到的目的。

So, why did PAP ignore the warning from the CPF Study Group in 1986 not to over-extend the CPF for housing? It is evident now – there is a lot of money for them to make from Singaporeans’ CPF and HDB, and they wanted it.

因为,‘公积金局开始控制了个别人的日益增加的经济财富’。林崇椰教授因此说,在研讨小组的报告里所说的‘他们的创业精神和进取心的感觉被阉割了。’

Because the “CPF started to withhold from individuals an increasingly large portion of their own financial wealth“, Professor Lim Chong-Yah thus said in the CPF Study Group’s report that this “emasculate their sense of economic initiative and enterprise”.

香港经济研究中心的Richard Wong博士说,‘这一系列的宽松措施已经和公积金强制性储蓄计划背道而驰了。’

Dr. Richard Wong, Director of the Hong Kong Centre for Economic Research, said that, “This sequence of liberalization measures contradicted the original aims of the CPF as a compulsory savings scheme.

林崇椰教授也同时说,‘这笔巨额的资金已经被政府所“劫持”为决策了:事实上,这是可以接受的,假设未来的政府可以保证和现在的政府一样是正直和能干,但是,这样的保证什么时候才到来呢?’

Professor Lim Chong Yah also said, “[T]he large sums of money vested with the fund are in effect held `hostage’ to governmental decision-making: ipso facto, this would be acceptable if there is a guarantee that future governments would be as honourable and as capable as the present one, but can such a guarantee ever be forthcoming?”

今天我们要问同样的问题。我们是否有一个‘正直和能干的政府’?

Today, the same question can be asked. Do we have a government that is “honourable and as capable”.

香港经济研究中心的Richard Wong博士总结的说,‘公积金制度已经可能导致一个大多数人更加平等的社会,除了统治者和被统治者之间的差距。但是,同时,它已经达到通过强制性每一个人40%的(公积金)储蓄获得2%的回报。’

Wong concluded “that the Singapore CPF has probably resulted in a society where most people are more equal, except for the gap between the rulers and the ruled. But this has been achieved by forcing everyone to earn a 2 percent real rate of return on some 40 percent of their savings.”

Phang Sock-Yong教授猜测说,‘新加坡的房屋策略是一个内在驱动的政策和集中控制主要决定于储蓄率、储蓄资金的分配、土地的使用、房屋建造和制定住房价格价格等等都是由政府决定的。在世界上的其他国家,这是一个新古典的经济噩梦。’

Phang also surmised that, “Singapore’s housing strategy is inherently policy driven and centrally controlled, with major decisions on savings rate, savings allocation, land use, housing production, and housing prices being largely determined by the government. It is, in other words, a neo-classical economist’s nightmare.

现在,因为公积金的缴交率已经从1955年的10%调高到1984年的50%。这是‘可控制的总需求量’。

Now, because the CPF contribution rates were increased from 10% in 1955 to 50% in 1984, this “restrain(ed) aggregate demand”.

因此,‘这个(调高)公积金缴交率(导致)…个人实际拿回家的薪金减少了,进而就造成了在消费方面也相对减少…..(和)公积金制度已经创造了一个改变需求(和今后的资源)从零售行业转向建筑行业。所以,与其他经济相同等级的发展,公积金制度在新加坡意味着在新加坡零售行业是很小的。这也可以理解为什么香港零售行业比新加坡发展的较好。’

Thus “The (increasing) CPF contribution (resulted in) … lower take home pay and hence less expenditure on consumption … (and) the CPF system has created a shift of demand (and hence resources) from the retailing sector to the construction sector. Therefore, compared with other economies of similar level of development, the CPF system would mean a less developed retailing sector in Singapore. This also helps to explain why the retail sector in Hong Kong is more developed than that of Singapore.

实际上,个人消费在新加坡是已经在下降了。

Indeed, personal consumption in Singapore has been declining.

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因此,购买力的成长更加低落。

So has purchasing power grown much slower.

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新加坡也是发达国家中购买力最低的国家,也比马来西亚的购买力水平更低,与印度不相上下。

Singaporeans also have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries, and which is lower than even Malaysia and on par with India.

20140427-135507.jpg

‘政府通过强制性的公积金缴交率已经上升,’这已经导致‘过度储蓄和过度投资在私人房地产’,但是, 在其他领域的投资却不足,进而造成了缺乏本地企业家精神。新加坡人在开始进行商业投资时,面对行动党的制造的各种高昂的开销,诸如调高租金成本和行动党直接参与经济领域的竞争。

The government, through the mandatory CPF contribution rates which have escalated,” have resulted in the “over-saving and over-investment in residential properties” but under-investment in other areas, and created a dearth of local entrepreneurship, as PAP made it more expensive for Singaporeans to start businesses via rising rental costs as well, and because of PAP’s direct competition in the economy.

今天,新加坡是世界上支付社会安全保障(公积金)缴交率最高的国家。

Today,  Singaporeans have to pay the highest social security (CPF) contribution rate in the world.

Slide27

在1986年,按照推测,‘在回应公众的投诉公积金的利率比银行来的低和无法抵消防止通货膨胀的措施’,‘政府决定把公积金的利率与市场的利率相同。’

In 1986, supposedly “in response to public complaints that CPF interest rates were below bank rates and were also inadequate as a hedge against inflation“, “the government decided to peg CPF interest rates to market rates.

当时的劳工兼通讯部长对于公积金支付给会员的利息问题忧心的说,‘可能现在支付给会员的利息是否过低’。假设市场的利息下跌将会明显的出现‘建筑成本的降低和组屋的售价也同时下降’。‘政府(也同时)警告说假设公积金的利率与市场挂钩,当后来利率又上升时,那么,组屋购房者将会支付更多房贷款’。

The Minister for Labour and Communications cautioned that CPF interest rates “could well be lower than what CPF is now paying” if market rates fall, and this can apparently “result in lower construction cost and hence lower selling prices of flats.” “The government (also) warned that if CPF interest rates were tied to market rates, when the latter went up, HDB mortgages would have to pay more for their loans.

在1986年之前,公积金 的缴交率从1955年的2.5%到1974年的6.5%。公积金的6.5%的缴交率一直延续了12年,即到1986年。这样的公积金缴交率,新加坡人民是可以在自己的公积金户头里赚到钱的。

Prior to 1986, the CPF interest rates kept increasing from 2.5% in 1955 to 6.5% in 1974 and remained at 6.5% for the next 12 years until 1986. Singaporeans were able to earn in our CPF.

Slide4

但是,自从1986年开始,公积金的利率与市场挂钩后,公积金的利率从当时的(6.5%)就一路下滑,也没上升过。事实上,从1986年开始,公积金的利率就一直停滞在2.5%到1999年。这是公积金第一次开始支付给会员2.5%利率后就一直停止在这个水平上。

But from 1986, when CPF interest rates were pegged to market rates, the CPF interest rates only continued falling and never picked up from where it left off. In fact, it went all the way down to 2.5% in 1999, to the rate when CPF first started and stayed at that level.

CPF Ordinary Account Interest Rates from 1977 to 2007

行动党曾经说过,公积金的利率下跌,住房价格也将随着下跌。但是,事实是:住房价格不但没有下跌,反而是飞涨和戏剧性的上升。

PAP said that since interest rates fell, housing prices would fall as well. However, not only did flat prices never fell, they shot up and escalated dramatically.

Nominal House Price Indices and CPI cropped

公积金原本可以用来抵押贷款购房的政策也被终止了。

The CPF that has to be withdrawn for housing mortgage also shot up.

Annual CPF Withdrawals 1960 to 2013

公积金的利率也就此成为了政府的‘行政’控制和‘月季度估算和年季度混合支付了’。

The CPF interest rates thus became “administered by the government and “computed monthly and compounded and credited annually.

为此,Mukul Asher先生说,‘这是“不符合经济原理的”每年支付固定利率给予实际上是35年或更长的时间的储蓄计划(亦即是一个人一生的工作时间)’。他也说,‘公积金实际的利率从1987年到1998年的零增长。那还得感激通货膨胀的原因。这是违反了累计逻辑原理的。’

However, Mukul Asher stated that, “there is “no economic rationale” to pay a one-year fixed deposit rate on what is essentially a 35-year or more (the duration of one’s working life) savings plan”. He also said that “the CPF real rate of interest from 1987 to 1998 is zero, thanks to inflation. And this negative replacement rate defies the logic of accumulation.”

在1999年,行动党又改变了公积金利率与市场挂钩的政策了!

In 1999, PAP changed the interest peg again.

Social Insecurity in the New Millennium The Central Provident Fund in Singapore 1986 & 1999 Interest Rate Computation

从那个时候开始,新加坡人的公积金普通户头只获得2.5%的利息,或是从1968年以来获得的最低的利息。

And from then on, Singaporeans were only receiving 2.5% interest on our CPF Ordinary Account, or the lowest since 1968.

Slide2

梁志轩先生已经指出了,‘新加坡人民的公积金户头里的退休金所赚取的利率是世界上最低的。’

Leong Sze Hian has shown that Singaporeans are thus made to earn the lowest interest rates on our CPF retirement funds in the world.

Slide28

Asher and Nandy说道,‘无论如何,由政府的代理人和银行以集中控制国家储蓄,是被视为对他们有相当的优势的方式。’

Asher and Nandy said that, “The centralized control of national savings by the government agencies and banks, however, is of considerable advantage to those controlling them,” which explains the rising inequality in Singapore and the growing wealth among the richest, the PAP politicians among them.

基本上,行动党已经计划好利用公积金(和建屋发展局)去控制新加坡人民如何消费与使用的生活方式。

Basically, PAP has planned to use CPF (and HDB) to control the lives of Singaporeans, how we spend, what we use etc.

今天,‘公积金的储蓄总额已经从仅有的9百万元开始’,到了2014年3月份上升至260,000,000,000元,以及附加 169,000,000,000元的购房款与 26,000,000,000元的投资款。

Today, “The CPF savings have grown from a mere $9 million at the beginning” to about $260,000 million as of March 2014; with an additional $169,000 committed to housing and $26,000 to investment.

我已经计算了中等结存位数是5万5千元,那就是说,超过50% 的新加坡人的公积金户头里根本就没有5万5千元这个数额。

I had calculated that the median CPF balance is $55,000, which means that half of Singaporeans do not even have $55,000 inside our CPF.

Singaporeans Have Only $55,000 In Our CPF! 90% Cannot Even Meet The CPF Minimum Sum!

新加坡人民为何无法在公积金户头里储蓄到这个数额?那是因为‘新加坡的工资结构上极其不合理的’。‘70%的公积金储蓄必须提取出来支付购房’,‘由于公积金里存有大量隐蔽性的税收,造成了公积金实际的回报率是低的。与此同时,因为受限制的竞争而造成的高的交易成本。 ’

The reason why Singaporeans cannot save inside our CPF is because “the wage structure in Singapore is highly unequal,“, “70 percent of contributions (have to be) withdrawn (for housing)“, “the real rate of return is low due to implicit tax on CPF wealth… (and there are) high transaction costs due to restricted competition.

在1997年,‘(行动党)引进了最低存款计划….以便照顾公积金会员开始退休生活时能够应付基本生活开支’。为此,在1987年,行动党说,这个最低存款额(MS)是3万元。

In 1987, “The Minimum Sum Scheme was introduced … to help CPF members set aside sufficient savings to support a basic standard of living during retirement,” so the PAP said. The Minimum Sum (MS) was set at $30,000 in 1987.

在1995年,‘要求公积金会员必须预留最低额存款额是4万元。(这将是每年增加5千元,直到2003年达到8万元为止。)…’

In 1995, “members were required to set aside a MS of $40,000 …  (which would be increased) by $5,000 a year until it reached $80,000 in 2003.

在2004年,他们又在上调公积金最低存款额‘随着通货膨胀每年是4千元…到了2013年,最低存款额上12万元。’

In 2004, this was raised again “by $4,000 a year, and adjusted for inflation… It will reach $120,000 (today’s dollars) by 2013.

我已经问过政府,实际上到底有多少新加坡人的公积金的现金户头可以达到最低存款额的要求?以及公积金中等结存是多少?尽管如此,人力部长陈川仁拒绝回答这个问题。

I had asked the government about how many Singaporeans are actually able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum in only cash and what the CPF median balance is. However, the Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin refused to answer.

今天,90%的新加坡人是无法达到最低存款额的要求的。

Today, 90% of Singaporeans are unable to meet the CPF Minimum Sum.

Slide10

超过半数的新加坡人公积金户头里只有所要求的最低存款额的35%。

Half of Singaporeans have less than 35% of the CPF Minimum Sum inside our CPF.

Singaporeans Only Have 35% of the CPF Minimum Sum in Our CPF

73.5%的新加坡人的公积金户头是无法达到所要求的最低存款额的50%,即7万7千5百元的半数。

73.5% of Singaporeans do not even have half of the CPF Minimum Sum of $77,500.

Three-Quarters of Singaporeans Have Less Than $77,500 in Our CPF

即便是这样的情况,李显龙还宣布,到了2015年公积金最低存款额将增加到16万1千元。这简直是荒缪的!

Yet, Lee Hsien Loong still announced that the CPF Minimum Sum will increase to $161,000 next year (2015). This is preposterous.

尽管行动党知道,绝大多数新加坡人民的公积金户头里的储蓄是无法到最低存款额的要求的,但是, 为什么行动党还要不断的调高公积金最低存款额?

But why does PAP keep increasing the CPF Minimum Sum, even though they know that the majority of Singaporeans do not have enough at all inside our CPF to be able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum?

事实上,为什么李显龙还要把公积金最低存款调高到16万1元?他是否告诉新加坡人民在公积金户头里的实际存款额是多少吗?他是否有任何的计划帮忙新加坡人民达到公积金户头的最低存款额要求?

In fact, why did Lee Hsien Loong still increase the CPF Minimum Sun to $161,000. Did he show how much Singaporeans actually have inside the CPF and any plans to help Singaporeans reach the CPF Minimum Sum at all?

CPF Minimum Sum Grows Faster Than the CPF Itself@Facebook

为什么行动党要扣住我们的公积金不放?

Why does PAP want to lock our CPF up?

行动党就是使用公积金最低存款额的手段扣住新加坡人民的公积金:

The PAP thus used the CPF Minimum Sum scheme to lock-up Singaporeans’ CPF:

一、1995年:公积金最低存款额每年调高5千元直到2003年;

1.1995: CPF Minimum Sum raised by $5,000 every year until 2003

二、1995年:要求预留现金4千元作为到了2003 年可以达到公积金最低存款总额的50%;

2.1995: Required to set aside cash (of $4,000) to meet CPF Minimum Sum until 50% is reached in 2003

三、2003年:要求公积金最低存款额每年调高附加4千元直到2013年;

3.2003: CPF Minimum Sum raised by an additional $4,000 every year until 2013

四、2009年:取消从公积金户头里提取50% 存款的条例;

4.2009: 50% withdrawal rule phased out

五、2013年:在达到公积金最低存款额的要求下,会员才允许从公积金户头提取5千元。

5.2013: Excess CPF monies can only be withdrawn upon meeting the CPF and Medisave Minimum Sums, and $5,000

行动党说,最低存款额的‘调整是依据每年的通货膨胀率’。尽管如此,实际的通货膨胀率只上升了2%,但是,公积金最低存款额每年却调高率了6%!为什么行动党要通过不断调高公积金最低存款额以便把我们的公积金套死在公积金户头里?

PAP said that the CPF Minimum Sum is “adjusted yearly for inflation“. However, the CPF Minimum Sum has been growing by more than 6% every year even though inflation has only grown by 2% annually! Why does PAP want to increase the CPF Minimum Sum by so much to trap our CPF inside?

Slide36

在1995年和2008年是调高公积金最低存款额最快的年头。

There were also two sharp rises in the CPF Minimum Sum in 1995 and 2008.

在1995 年主要归因于他们更改了每年调高5千元的公积金最低存款额。

The sharp rise in 1995 can be attributed to the policy change to raise the CPF Minimum Sum by $5,000 every year.

但是,2008年调高公积金最低存款额的决定是极其神秘的。市场流传说,这是因为淡马锡控股在2008年3月份到2008年11月份亏损了580亿万元和GIC在2008年的财政年度亏损了590亿万元。直到今年5月份,新加坡人民没有有足够的证据我们的公积金是投资在GIC淡马锡控股。

However, the 2008 rise is mysterious. Some people have speculated that this is due to the $58 billion loss that Temasek Holdings had made from the end of March 2008 to November 2008 and the $59 billion loss the GIC made in Financial Year 2008. Prior to May this year, Singaporeans did not have clear evidence that the CPF was invested in GIC and Temasek Holdings.

Slide43

行动党狡辩说,‘资金的转移并不能够掩盖投资的亏损’和‘问题的实质是:整个投资期间,使用国家储备的投资是亏损还是获利,是以是否需要动用过去的国家储备金。’您对他们这样的狡辩感觉如何?

PAP claimed that, “transfer of funds cannot be used to hide investment losses” and that “The issue of whether the investment of the reserves results in gains or losses over time is therefore distinct from the question of whether there is a draw on Past Reserves.” Does this make any sense to you?

不管他们狡辩啥,在2008年的GIC和淡马锡控股的总亏损额是1170亿元。假设,您再看看,公积金在2008年的结存是1510亿元。那么,公积金局本身的投资亏损值合计是77.5%

However, the total losses than the GIC and Temasek Holdings made in 2008 was a total of $117 billion. And if you look at this as a percentage of the CPF balance of $151 billion in 2008, their losses made up 77.5% of the value of the CPF itself!

行动党除了要扣住我们在自己公积金户头里的钱不放外,他们还企图阻止我们从公积金户头里提取我们的钱。

Other than trying to lock our money inside the CPF, PAP also tried to prevent us from being able to withdraw our own money.

Linda Low说,‘在1984年政府尝试调高公积金提取年龄从55岁调高到60岁。人民的反应非常冷淡。因为人们认为政府已经不遵守承诺了。’因此,‘一个避免让这个问题尖锐化和缓和下来的做法就是实施最低存款额计划。’

Linda Low said that, “In 1984 the government tried to increase the CPF withdrawal age from fifty-five to sixty. The attempt was very poorly received, as people viewed the government as having broken a promise.” So, “One way of getting around this problem has been to institute a scheme minimum sum, which softens the impact.

Slide94

接着,在1999年退休年龄就从55岁提高到63岁,刚好就在1995年和1999年实施调高公积金最低存款额之间。今天,‘法定的最低退休年龄仍然是62岁,但是,他们现在要求雇主重新雇佣那些适合聘用的员工的年龄到65岁’。同时,行动党也计划‘把重新雇佣的年龄从62岁提高到67岁。‘

The retirement age was then raised from 55 to 62 in 1999, right in between the two increments to the CPF Minimum Sum in 1995 and 2003. Today, “the statutory minimum retirement age is still 62, but employers are now required to offer re-employment to eligible employees who turn 62, up to the age of 65“. Also, PAP plans to “extend the re-employment age from 65 to 67.

Paul Yip已经说了,延长退休年龄:‘或许是一个更好的政策选择….这是意味着延迟和减少(公积金会员)从公积金户头提出现金,同时,将会有越来越多的公积金进入公积金户头。’

Paul Yip had said that extending the retirement age is “An alternative and perhaps better policy option … which would imply less, and delay of, CPF withdrawal as well as more and continuing CPF contribution by the affected labour.”

这将会是减少新加坡人从自己的公积金户头里提取款项和扣住公积金存款。——问题是:谁将会去使用这些扣住在公积金户头里的款项?

This will reduce withdrawals and lock-in more of Singaporeans’ CPF – but for what and who to use?

林崇椰教授已经提出了问题:假设我们可以‘保证(未来的)政府和现在的政府一样是正直和能干的’!我们可以相信行动党政府会把我们的利益挂在心坎里吗?

Professor Lim Chong Yah had asked if we can “guarantee that … governments would be as honourable and as capable” Can we trust PAP to have our interests at heart?

无论如何,正如Yasue Pai指出的,‘在缺乏透明度的情况下,政府投资公积金的结存和对公积金(资金管理)缺乏完整的战略目标所产生的问题是:这个(公积金)制度是不是一个有利于公积金会员的制度。’

However, as Yasue Pai puts it, “The lack of transparency in the way the government invests CPF balances and the lack of an overall strategic objective of the CPF puts into question whether the system is really in the best interest of members.

Yasue Pai也解释说,放松‘移民政策也可能减少了公积金提取的时间。’他也同时解释说,鼓励‘现在提高生育率(是)…减缓了问题(通过往后增加公积金缴交率)’可以同时减少提取款项。但是,他说,‘这是不应该鼓励依靠这种政策….因为这样以拥有一个孩子所涉及到成本和考虑的问题,远远超过政府提出税务奖励的决策。因此,鼓励政策的影响可能是小虽然努力沿着这条线应该鼓励。’

Yip also explained that relaxing the “immigration policy for foreign workers might also reduce the net CPF withdrawal at that time.” He also explained that encouraging “higher birth rate now (to) … mitigate the problem (by increasing CPF contributions later on)” can also help to reduce withdrawals but he said that, “it is not advisable to just rely on this policy… because the decision of having a child involves costs and considerations that will be far much greater than any possible tax incentives provided by the government. As a result, the impact of encouragement policy is likely to be small although effort along this line should be encouraged.

正如我们 可以看到的,在近年来,行动党的半心半意的尝试增加新加坡人的生育率也同样的基于这样的思想指导。

As can be seen, the PAP’s half-hearted attempts in recent years to increase the fertility rate of Singaporeans has also been guided by such thinking.

Singapore TFR

事实上。行动党是跟随YIP的方法并放松了移民政策的。事实是,假设您追溯新加坡的移民人口的增长,您可以看到为什么新加坡的房地产交易在1980年和1990年之间这么巧合的蓬勃。

Indeed, the PAP also followed Yip’s approach and relaxed the immigration policy. In fact, if you trace the growth of Singapore’s migrant population, you can see how it also coincided in the early 1980s and 1990s with the periods of housing boom.

在2004年突然间停止。在李显龙担任总理期间,有两个主要政策的实施是您可以追溯到:设立商业的(外国人)投资的入境证和全球投资计划下个人净资产的永久居民。这也是造成了戏剧性的屋价向上攀升的结果。

There was also a sudden spike in 2004, which can also be traced to two key policies introduced under the premiership of Lee Hsien Loong – the EntrePass scheme to set up business and the Global Investor Programme to become permanent residents for high-net worth individuals. This has also resulted in the dramatic escalation of housing prices.

Slide3

那个‘全面增加输入非熟练和半熟练工人(同时也已经)压低了新加坡人的工资。’

The “increases (in) the overall supply of unskilled and semi-skilled labor (have also) depress(ed) the wages of Singaporeans.”

因此,从2001年到2011年(在公积金局的常年报告开始省略提供这个信息后)。那些每月赚取1千元的公积金会员不断的增加,甚至让人以为新加坡的财富越来越富裕。

Thus from 2001 to 2011 (before CPF started omitting this information from their annual reports), the number of CPF members who earned $1,000 kept increasing even though Singapore supposedly became more wealthy.

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从2004年开始,当最多移民的涌入的高潮时,也是新加坡人赚取少过1千元的比例上升的高峰期。新加坡人的工资被压低了。他们无法赚取到足够的薪金。

And from 2004 when the most recent spike in migrant inflow occurred, there was also a spike of the proportion of Singaporeans who were earning less than $1,000. The wages of Singaporeans were depressed and more and more Singaporeans cannot earn enough.

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即便是如此,李显龙还未都成本上涨、工资被压低和公积金的损耗做出道歉。他说,‘假设我可以再找到10个亿万富翁移民到新加坡并这里置业,我的基尼斯系数将会更加恶化。但是,我想,新加坡人的情况将会更好。因为,这些亿万富翁将会带来商业机会,开放门户和提供新的工作职位。我想,我们必须采取这样的态度去解决问题。’

Yet, Lee Hsien Loong remained unapologetic to the effects of rising cost, wage depression and CPF depletion. He had said, “In fact, if I can get another 10 billionaires to move to Singapore and set up their base here, my Gini coefficient will get worse but I think Singaporeans will be better off, because they will bring in business, bring in opportunities, open new doors and create new jobs, and I think that is the attitude with which we must approach this problem.

Slide107

今天新加坡是世界上超级巨富集中的国家。

Today, Singapore has the highest concentration of millionaires in the world.

Slide109

我们也是世界上第四大的超级巨富集中的国家。

We also have the 4th largest concentration of billionaires in the world.

Slide108

无论如何,新加坡也是发达国家里贫穷率最高的国家,即便是区域发展国家中,新加坡也是最高的。(您将在后面看到有关的说明。)

However, Singapore also have the highest poverty rate among the developed countries as well, and even higher than regional developing countries (as you will see later).

更主要的是,行动党热衷于引进工资低廉的外劳以支撑本地的经济。这可以不可以解释为,为什么过去几十年来新加坡人极其勉强回到工作场所的理由。

Importantly as well, in the PAP’s eagerness to import cheap labour to substitute the local economy, does this thus explain why it has become  more difficult over the years for Singaporeans who have been made redundant from work to gain re-entry back into employment?

Re-entry into employment

他们是否有解释为什么现在新加坡人要耗费这么长的时间去保证自己的新工作?

Does it also explain why it is taking a long time now for Singaporeans to secure a new job?

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同时,新加坡人是有能力累计自己的公积金储蓄。但是,这主要决定于我们是否有工作做。也就因此,这就成了一个问题:退休制度是依靠公积金,否则,新加坡人将不可能生存。这是行动党通过支付给新加坡人民的低薪金和制定了压低我们的薪金的政策,进而造成了新加坡人身上没有额外的现金过退休生活的结果。这种情况是极其严重的。

Also, whether Singaporeans are able to accumulate CPF depends on whether we are able to have a job. Thus it becomes problematic that the pension system in Singapore relies solely on the CPF and Singaporeans can otherwise not be able to save. This is worsened by how PAP pays Singaporeans such low wages and creates policies to depress our wages, such that Singaporeans do not have additional cash to save for retirement as well.

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或许现在您能理解为什么行动党必须不惜一切代价去阻止新加坡人从公积金户头里提取款项,这是他们为了利用公积金支撑他们的制度。

Perhaps now you can understand why PAP has to go out at all costs to prevent the withdrawals of the CPF to sustain their parasitic system.

与此同时,您现在也会明白,为什么新加坡政府拒绝双重国籍和提出一条不归路——那就是:一旦您放弃了新加坡的公民权,您将不可以再回到新加坡。同时,‘永久居民必须放弃永久居民的身份并离开新加坡才可以把公积金提取出来。西马来西亚来的的新加坡永久居民必须表明不再有意回到新加坡工作或居住。’这是一个极其隐蔽性的恐吓!这样一来,您必须在:自己要不要了离开新加坡或者让自己的公积金被扣在公积金局做出决定。

and so you will understand why the PAP government refuses to allow dual citizenship and makes it a path of no return if a Singaporean chooses to renounce his/her citizenship. And also how a permanent resident (PR) “cannot withdraw the CPF monies unless he or she gives up PR status and leaves Singapore and West Malaysia permanently, with no intention of returning for further employment or residence” which is a veiled threat to prompt second thoughts about leaving, and thus allowing the CPF to be entrapped inside for their own uses.

行动党的‘政策,特别是集中在减少投资资本收入的税务包袱和减少的雇主强制性的缴交公积金(的政策)也特别在导致工资下调的因素。’

The PAP’s “policies, particularly centring on a reduced tax burden on capital income and reduced mandatory contributions by employers to the CPF, have (also) been partially responsible for the declining share of wages.

事实上,‘新加坡的(不惜一切代价最求增长率)的战略…是依靠包括了确保工资部分的收入是低于资本部分,约为42%的国家储蓄;以来引进大量的高与低技能的外劳和提供更多注重于商业关怀的社会服务设施的供应品。’

In fact, “Singapore’s (growth-at-all-costs) strategy … rests on policies that include keeping the wage share of income below capital’s share at around 42 per cent of national income; relying extensively on foreign workers at both low- and high-skill levels; and giving greater weight to commercial concerns over the provision of social amenities.

今天,尽管新加坡已经成为世界上生活费最高昂的国家,但是,新加坡人是发达国家中赚取最低工资的国家。

Today, Singaporeans earn the lowest wage share among the developed countries, even though Singapore has become the most expensive place to live in, in the world.

Slide8

This “growth strategy of creating an environment for the MNCs and the state enterprises to earn high profits has contributed to significant inequalities in the wage structure and income distribution.

为此,这是一个值得怀疑的问题。去年,行动党狡辩说,收入不平衡现象已经稳定下来了。上个星期,他们说,收入不平衡已经降低了。

Thus it is problematic that PAP claimed last year that income inequality has stabilised and last week that income inequality has actually been reduced.

Slide33

但是,我在今年早些时候撰写的一篇文章里说,‘行动党政府事实上是在每个报告书里已经把收入不平衡数据降下去了。它的目的是要制造一个假象:在新加坡收入不平衡差距不是实际上那么高。’

But in an article I had written earlier this year, the PAP government has actually been pushing down the income inequality statistics over each reported period, to create the perception that income inequality is not as high as it actually is in Singapore!

Gini Coefficient 2008 vs 2010 vs 2013

在另一方面,从1995年到2011年,新加坡10%分享最富裕收入的人已经从30% 上升至42%。

On the other hand, the income share among the richest 10% in Singapore has grown from 30% in 1995 to 42% in 2011.

Slide1

正如您看到的,那个最富裕收入的10%也是依据基尼斯系数(或者收入不均指数)而改变的。这就是说,随着收入不均的增加,这个富裕部分——带来的问题是:收入不均是通过人为不均衡的给自己支付高昂的薪金。(同样的,他们怎么可以让自己在报告里唱衰自己?)

And as can be seen, the change in income share among the richest 10% also follows the Gini coefficient (or the measure of income inequality), which means that as the income inequality increases, so does the income share of the rich – which brings to question, is income inequality thus artificially pushed higher by paying inequitable salaries at the top to themselves (similarly to how it can also be artificially deflated in the reports?)

Slide6

这种戏剧性增加富裕者的收入也同时与行动党决定在1994年为自己的部长调高薪金的根源有关。

The dramatic increase in the share of income among the richest also coincided with whence PAP decided to increase their own salaries in 1994 by pegging the salaries of the ministers to

‘平均24个人这的三分之二是在六个专业领域里’赚取百万薪金和也是世界上赚取薪金的最高薪金国家。

two-thirds of the average of the top 24 people in 6 professions”, to earn million-dollar salaries and the highest in the world.

Slide21

今天,新加坡的最富裕者是世界上赚取最高薪金的国家。

Today, the richest in Singapore earn one of the highest salaries in the world.

Slide100

他们也是世界上缴税最低的。

They also pay one of the lowest taxes in the world.

Slide101

无论如何,新加坡人是世界上高收入国家中人民赚取工资最低的国家。

However, Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among the highest-income countries.

Slide103

新加坡中、低阶层的人民比最富裕的人必须支付高昂的税收和缴交公积金缴还多。

Low and middle income Singaporeans also have to pay higher tax and CPF contribution rates than the richest.

Slide102

总理现在是属于新加坡最富裕的0.1%。行动党的政治领袖是属于最富裕的5%。

The Prime Minister now belongs to the richest 0.1% in Singapore while the PAP politicians belong to the richest 5%.

Slide105

在过去50年里富裕与贫穷之间的差距已经继续扩大。这是献给您的新加坡建国50周年。

And the rich-poor gap has only kept widening over the past 50 years. This is SG50 for you.

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Asher也据此估计,新加坡的贫穷率将是非常高的——大约在27%到35%之间。

Asher thus estimated the poverty rate in Singapore to be very high – at between 27% to 35%.

Singapore Poverty Rate Asher 2007

这是与Lien Cent中心的社会创新和新加坡管理大学社会科学系估计达到26%是相一致的。

This is in line with the estimates of up to 26% by the Lien Centre for Social Innovation and SMU School of Social Sciences, and my previous estimate of 26% (which could have gone upwards to 28%). In fact, Singapore now has the highest poverty rate among the developed countries and even among regional developing countries.

Slide112

尽管行动党政府藐视这个事实并拒绝为贫穷线制定出定义。他们错误的狡辩说,这样划出贫穷线的定义将会造成一个‘悬殊效应。’

In spite of this, the PAP government has refused to define a poverty line, erroneously claiming that this would caused a “cliff effect“.

Slide135

更加严重的是,Tilak Abeysing突出的指出,‘新加坡的30%的家庭所花费开销是比他们的收入还多。’他们‘去年花费开销是收入的105%到151%。最主要是花费的开销是在上涨的房屋开支方面。

Worse still, Professor Tilak Abeysing he had highlighted that “Singapore’s bottom 30 per cent of households spend more than they earn” where they would “spent 105 per cent to 151 per cent of their income last year and the main cause of rising expenditure was housing.”

Slide64

无论如何,行动党是非常热衷于‘争论’这个课题。当然他们是愿意论这个课题的。假设您知道行动党是如何提高价格和让您从公积金户头里支付更多的钱购买住房,您将会感到愤怒和痛击他们的。

However, this was fervently “disputed” by PAP. Of course they would. If you knew how PAP is jacking up prices and making you pay more from your CPF into their flats, you would become ballistic and wallop them.

但是,今天您终于知道事实的真相了。

But today, you finally know the truth.

情况并不只是对30%贫穷的新加坡人。根据海峡时报的一项对中等收入的新加坡人进行的调查报告指出,超过三分之二的新加坡人除了生活必需品之外,他们根本就没有足够的钱去购买任何的东西。

Things are not just bad for the poorest 30% in Singapore. A survey by The Straits Times showed that even for the middle-income in Singapore, more than two-thirds of Singaporeans do not even have enough to buy for anything else, other than the basic necessities that they need.

Slide56

实质上。行动党已经计算的非常仔细了。他们需要支付我们多少薪金?他们从公积金哪里取回多少?需要给您留下多少刚刚足够您支付生活基本开支,这包括了他们自己的那一部分——电话通讯费、车资和公用事业(如水电费等)。

Essentially, PAP has calculated very incisively how much they need to pay you in wages, how much they can take it back from your CPF, and how much you are left with to just have enough to pay for the basic necessities which they own as well – telecommunications, transport, public utilities etc.

Slide61

对于30%最穷的新加坡人来说——行动党制造了一个永久接受的施舍物阶级。他们制造的这个施舍物阶级非常恐惧失去他们的施舍物,这样一来被迫成为依靠保护行动党的基本力量。

For the poorest 30%, it is even worse off for them – the PAP created a perpetual handout class, to create a class which would be too scared to lose their “handouts” and can be forced to rely exclusively to protect the PAP’s base.

Slide65

但是,这样的扩大了收入不均已经造成了广泛的社会影响了。

But this widening income inequality has major social implications.

由于新加坡在发达国家里是最高的收入不均率的国家,犯罪率也是成为新加坡最高的,仅次于非洲国家。

Because Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries, the prisoner rate has also become the highest in Singapore, after America.

Inequality vs Prisoners

因为高的收入不均率,新加坡同时也是发达国家中一个最低社会流动性的国家,——对于那‘精英分子’而言,他们是有能力保护他们的职位;对于低收入的新加坡人而言,要进一步升职是困难的。

Because of the high inequality, Singapore also has one of the lowest social mobility among the developed countries – the ‘elites’ are able to protect their positions and it is difficult for lower-income Singaporeans to move up the social ladder.

Inequality vs Social Mobility

由于新加坡是发达国家中是最高的收入不均率的国家,这也就是造就了新加坡在发达国家中自我提升的最高水平。在新加坡,人民都喜欢拿别人的条件来比较自己的条件,这就导致一个更加自我为中心和内向的人民。

Because Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries, this has also resulted in the highest level of self enhancement in Singapore among the developed countries, where people are likely to view themselves as being better than another person, which has led to a more self-centred and inward populace.

Inequality vs Self-Enhancement

新加坡是仅次于葡萄牙之后,是最高阶的收入不平均和信任最低的国家。

And the highest levels of income inequality in Singapore has also resulted in the lowest levels of trust in Singapore, after Portugal.

The Equality Trust Income Equality vs Trust

由于失去了最低的信任,新加坡人已经成为世界上第二个最不可能去帮助一个陌生人。

And because of the low levels of trust, Singaporeans have become the second least likely people in the world to help a stranger.

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毫无疑问的,行动党的不计成本保增长的战略是依靠操纵公积金的缴交率去操纵公积金缴交率去减少工资和进一步的降低工资——就是通过竞争与外劳的低薪工人。这是造成灾难性的后果的。再加上政府的政联企业刺激提高成本的压力已经造成了一个无法支撑的收入不均局面。这将加剧摧毁新加坡的社会架构。

Thus without a doubt, PAP’s growth-at-all-costs strategy which relies on the manipulation of CPF contribution rates to reduce wages and a further wage depression via competition with lowly-paid foreign workers is a recipe for disaster. This, coupled with the government’s upward cost pressures fuelled by their own Government-Linked Companies has created an unsustainable income inequality, which is threatening to tear up the social fabric of Singapore.

无论如何,行动党政府至今仍然还沉迷于喜悦的这个情况中,继续把自己的头埋进沙堆里。他们不是去制定最低工资制度和降低收入不均的政策,而是热衷于操纵收入不均的指数。

However, the PAP government remains blissfully ignorant to this plight and continues to bury their head in the sand, to manipulate income inequality figures, instead of actually enacting policies such as minimum wages, to reduce the income inequality.

目前新加坡面对这样一个采取拒绝直面问题态度的政府,对新加坡长期而言是一个灾难。

Such a government with an attitude of denial towards the problems that Singapore currently faces is disasterous for the longevity of Singapore.

在第二部分,我将为您说明行动党政府是如何利用我们的公积金赚钱的?行动党政府是如何动用我们的公积金投资在GIC和淡马锡控股股的?为什么行动党住房佛那个有了我们的公积金投资在GIC和淡马锡控股赚取了投资利润后没有鬼新加坡人民。

Join the #ReturnOurCPF Facebook event page here.

Return Our CPF burning rose poster

Return Our CPF sun poster

Return Our CPF burning sun poster

Return Our CPF 3 Poster Part 2 chinese

Return Our CPF 3 Poster Part 2

Are Singaporeans Guaranteeing the Returns and Funding the Losses of GIC and Temasek Holdings?

The Worker’s Party’s Gerald Giam had asked “DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam on 4 August 2014 in Parliament regarding the Government’s “net assets” and how the returns from the reserves managed by GIC make their way back to CPF members.

Are Singaporeans Guaranteeing the Returns on Our CPF by Ourselves?

Tharman had said, “The CPF Board invests CPF members’ savings in Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS), which are guaranteed by the Government,” and that, “GIC manages a major part of the Government’s funds, including those derived from long-term liabilities such as SSGS.

Tharman also said, “GIC has achieved good long-term returns to date. However, as investment markets are uncertain and volatile, GIC’s returns over shorter periods could be low or even negative. The Government is able to absorb these short-term market risks, because it has a strong balance sheet. It has a substantial buffer of net assets that enables it to meet the obligations on its liabilities, including its SSGS commitments.”

However, if the government’s “strong balance sheet” and “substantial buffer of net assets” also comes from Singaporeans’ CPF and HDB, then is it the government that is guaranteeing the returns on our CPF, or are Singaporeans actually guaranteeing the returns on the CPF by ourselves?

Then, are Singaporeans guaranteeing the returns on GIC as well?

If so, shouldn’t whatever returns earned by the GIC using our CPF be returned to Singaporeans?

Are Singaporeans Funding the Losses of GIC and Temasek Holdings

Gerald Giam asked Tharman, “specifically on the eight years in the past 20 years where GIC’s investment returns were below what the Government pays on SSGS, were these shortfalls funded from the Government’s net assets or from the GIC’s assets?”

Tharman replied: “And as for the eight years within the last 20 years, which was what I had stated in response to Mr Gerald Giam’s question at the previous Sitting – just to reiterate, that is eight years in the previous 20 years ending 2013 – that is when in fact the GIC’s returns on the total assets that it is managing fell below the SSGS rates. That by definition would have meant that net assets would have been lower than otherwise because the Government has fixed obligations on its liabilities, and because of the fluctuations in returns on its assets.”

However, did Tharman answer Gerald’s question and are the “shortfalls funded from the Government’s net assets or from the GIC’s assets”?

Earlier on, Tharman had also said, “GIC is managing Government assets. It is not GIC’s assets. GIC is a fund manager, so the assets are assets on the Government’s balance sheet, rather than on the GIC’s balance sheet.”

Thus if the GIC does not have any assets of its own, does it not mean that any shortfalls are funded by the government’s assets?

And since the government’s assets are also made up of our CPF and HDB value, does this not mean that Singaporeans are funding the losses of GIC from our CPF?

If so, when GIC and Temasek Holdings lost $117 billion in 2008 or 77% of the $151 billion value of our CPF at that time, did the government increase the CPF Minimum Sum to fund for their losses?

#ReturnOurCPF 3 Protest on This Saturday 23 August 2014 at Hong Lim Park

Come down to the #ReturnOurCPF protest this Saturday at 4pm at Hong Lim Park. You can join the Facebook event page here.

Return Our CPF burning rose poster

Return Our CPF sun poster

Return Our CPF burning sun poster

Return Our CPF 3 Poster Part 2

Return Our CPF 3 Poster Part 2 chinese

What PAP Has Done to Your CPF and Doesn’t Want Singaporeans to Know (The Real History)

This is the much shorter version of the real history of the CPF which I had written yesterday. Please read this. When you finish reading this, you will know how PAP is treating your CPF for everything else, other than for your retirement, and how they have locked-in our CPF into the economy that it is now very difficult for them to pull back.

I have written this article in a way that makes it very quick and easy to read through. I have put in many graphics to make it faster to flow through. Please take a few minutes to go through this article. Knowing how your CPF works in the big picture will allow you to make the right decisions to protect your own lives. 

This is a 2-page article. Please also read page 2 as it will complete the full picture for you on how PAP uses your CPF and does not want to let you know how they do it. 

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Pages: 1 2

The CPF was set up in 1955.

The Housing Development Board was set up in 1960. Prior to 1964, the HDB’s “original objective … was to build flats for rental“. However, in 1964, the PAP government changed their objective to “selling flats to tenants in 1964“.

However, Singaporeans were not buying the flats so PAP “liberalised” the CPF and created the Home Ownership Scheme to let CPF be used to buy flats.

The government also used our CPF for another purpose which most Singaporeans do not know about. From 1968, CPF was legislated to become “a source of funds for the government“. Singapore hasn’t accumulated surpluses yet too, so the government borrowed Singaporeans’ CPF “for development expenditure … (until) it built up budgetary surplus.

As the main user of the development funds was the HDB, “CPF funds were (thus essentially) lent to the Housing Development Board so that it could build flats.”

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At the start in 1955, Singaporeans only needed to contribute 10% (5% employee and 5% employer) into the CPF.

However, in 1968, because PAP wanted “to support the(ir) national home ownership drive“, they increased the CPF contribution rates to 13%.

And so they kept increasing it to do so until 50% in 1984, until 1986.

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Edward Ng said that, “Such a high savings rate is evidence of the intent to make CPF more than a pension scheme for retirement.” Indeed, PAP extended the CPF to give HDB to use.

But why did the PAP wanted Singaporeans to “own homes”? Lee Kuan Yew had said, “I wanted a home-owning society. I … was convinced that if every family owned its home, the country would be more stable … I had seen how voters in capital cities always tended to vote against the government of the day and was determined that our householders should become homeowners, otherwise we would not have political stability.”

But the borrowing of our CPF to build HDB got out of hand. During the early 1980s, PAP started to over-build. Under the Fifth Five-Year Building Programme, the target set in 1980 was to build 85,000 to 100,000 flats. However, a massive 189,000 flats were built, or nearly twice as much.

This “contributed towards ‘over-heating’ of the economy and the property slump and recession which followed in 1985-87” as there was an “over-supply in the property market“.

Lee Kuan Yew later admitted that, “We made one of our more grievous mistakes in 1982-84 by more than doubling the number of flats we had previously built.”

But why did PAP over-build? This is because “1984 (was) an election year as well as a year for celebrating 25 years of achievement as an independent nation” and PAP wanted to get more Singaporeans to “own” their flats in time for their anniversary.

In 1986, the CPF Study Group recommended “that the authorities refrain from pursuing policies that would induce individuals to siphon more and more of their savings from their CPF to continuously upgrade their properties and to purchase additional properties, at the expense of other more pressing family needs and to the possible detriment of their ability to finance a decent old-age livelihood, besides contributing to inflating property prices.

This is because the CPF was creating an “artificial demand” for housing, as PAP wanted to achieve their “goal of 100 percent home ownership“. Thus “The use of CPF savings for the purchase of housing distorts consumption patterns … (and) The fulfilment of the political objective of home ownership by increasing CPF contribution rates so that more funds would be available for this purpose is, if true, economically inefficient.

They also said, “Since its main (and original) objective is to provide for savings for old age, the combined rate of contribution should be set at a level consistent with this objective, and it should be maintained at that level.

However, PAP went in the “opposite” direction and “promoted the upgrading policy (again) and allowed the user of CPF funds for this purpose.”

So, PAP did not stop its wanton desires to use our CPF to over-build flats and “when the Asian Financial Crisis hit in 1997,” National Development Mah Bow Tan admitted that, “HDB ended up with 31,000 unsold flats“, this time while “wast(ing) … taxpayers money”.

Thus from the 1960s to mid-1980s, the PAP kept making Singaporeans pay more into the CPF. In 1982, the then-Minister for Labour and Communications had said that “the CPF contribution rate is likely to increase to 50% in the future. Of this 50%, 40% will be for housing and other uses, 6% for Medisave and the remainder for old age and contingencies.

Which means PAP had planned to make us use 80% of our CPF to buy their flats.

However, “The international experience suggests that a contribution rate of 10 to 15 percent should be sufficient for providing a replacement rate of between 35 and 40 percent plus survivors insurance benefits,” thus is 50% (or the 37% today) too much?

The PAP was thus able to “‘create’… (their intention of) homeownership was by directing savings in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) towards housing.

Essentially, “the CPF has (become) a substitute for the mortgage market.

But is this what you think your CPF should be used for, especially since today many older Singaporeans cannot retire? Did PAP return what they took from Singaporeans and earned?

Central Provident Fund in Singapore CPF-HDB Circular Flow of Funds

Very soon, on the supply of our CPF, HDB became “the largest housing developer (and) also the largest mortgage provider… government mortgage loans totalled 60.1 billion Singapore dollars (SGD) in the year 2000, which was much higher than the total housing loans of the private sector (SGD 38.6 billion)” and the “2003 ratio of outstanding housing loans to GDP (was) 71 percent, (which was) … the highest in Asia”.

As at March 31 2012, 1.38 million members had withdrawn net amount of $ 101.9 billion for public housing scheme.

HDB became “a monopoly supplier of public housing and its mortgage provider, administered through the CPF“.

But it is also because of “the absence of common or constitutional right to land ownership” under the Land Acquisition Act 1966 that allowed PAP to do this – “land under state ownership increased from 44% in 1960 to 76% by 1985.

Initially, “The HDB was able to price its units below market prices mainly because HDB flats are built on state owned land, much of which had been compulsorily acquired from private landowners at below market prices.

Goodman, Kwon and White said that, “If there had been a strong landlord class with a vested interest in land, the housing policy could never have been carried through as easily as it was.”

However, today, the PAP government, via HDB and the real estate companies owned by Temasek Holdings, is the largest real estate owners and we can see where things have headed.

Thus PAP created “higher artificial demand” with their “homeownership policy“. Also, “The relaxation of housing rules by both the HDB and CPF made public and private housing more substitutable, (which created an) unholy alliance … as the whole residential market becomes a de facto cartel with HDB and a handful of private developers on the supply side.

Worse still, “The situation is aggravated by the state as the largest land owner and exercises land sales from its land bank on a tender system”, causing flat prices to rise even faster. Also, “the extra savings due to the CPF system had induced a demand for bigger flats in Singapore” also drove prices even further upwards.

This means that if Singaporeans are to “migrate en masse, … (this will) trigger downward spirals as more would sell their properties.

However, the escalation of housing prices does not make sense as the Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wah had recently admitted that, “we control the (public housing) construction programme; secondly, we set the price (for the HDB flats),”

If so, can PAP not prevent prices from exploding? Or, why does PAP want housing prices to escalate upwards?

Khaw Boon Wah Firstly, we control the construction programmes. Secondly, we set the price

A study by Phang and Wong (1997) shows that policies on the availability of HDB and CPF finance for housing had the most significant impacts on housing prices. These policies include extending the use of CPF savings for private housing in 1981, liberalizing the terms of HDB mortgage loans for resale flats in 1993, and the introduction of CPF grants for purchasing HDB resale flats in 1994.

As such, PAP has intentionally created policies to drive prices upwards. And they have done so by manipulating our CPF to get Singaporeans to use more CPF to soak up the HDB demand they created. Now, do you see why they needed every Singaporean to believe in owning their own homes? It might be political, but the real reason is financial.

Indeed, we can track how PAP’s policies did increase housing prices.

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Also, in the 1980s, PAP started to make flats more expensive by “increas(ing) … prices based on housing type, location, floor level, view, and other aesthetic factors,” making Singaporeans use more of our CPF to pay more for the flats.

Previously, flats were built and sold cheaply below market rates but PAP started including “Land cost … in the final selling prices … though the true formula is not revealed,” which drove flat prices upwards as well. Today, “Land now makes up about three-fifths of development cost on average, up from two-fifths in 2008.”

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PAP made flat prices grew so quickly that “between 1981 and 1988, four-room flat prices rose by an average of only 2.5% per year, but between 1988 and 1992, prices increased dramatically by an average of 12% every year!”

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Things are even worse today, from 2008 to 2013, “land costs have grown at an average compound rate of 18.2 per cent a year, compared with 9.1 per cent for HDB resale prices” but “incomes (only) rose at a compound annual rate of 5.3 per cent for the average household“.

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Professor Phang Sock-Yong said that, “The 1981 liberalization as well as the 1993 liberalization of HDB and CPF regulations for HDB resale flat housing loans had significant impacts on housing prices, contributing to the development of speculative bubbles that subsequently burst.” The same happened in 1997, 2008 and threatens to happen again today.”

Also, “Singapore’s mandatory savings and housing policies have very substantial impacts on household’s consumption and investment patterns. Savers’ and consumers’ rights in decision making are constrained by numerous CPF and HDB restrictions and regulations.”

So, why did PAP ignore the warning from the CPF Study Group in 1986 not to over-extend the CPF for housing? It is evident now – there is a lot of money for them to make from Singaporeans’ CPF and HDB, and they wanted it.

Because the “CPF started to withhold from individuals an increasingly large portion of their own financial wealth“, Professor Lim Chong-Yah thus said in the CPF Study Group’s report that this “emasculate their sense of economic initiative and enterprise”.

Dr. Richard Wong, Director of the Hong Kong Centre for Economic Research, said that, “This sequence of liberalization measures contradicted the original aims of the CPF as a compulsory savings scheme.

Professor Lim Chong Yah also said, “[T]he large sums of money vested with the fund are in effect held `hostage’ to governmental decision-making: ipso facto, this would be acceptable if there is a guarantee that future governments would be as honourable and as capable as the present one, but can such a guarantee ever be forthcoming?”

Today, the same question can be asked. Do we have a government that is “honourable and as capable”.

Wong concluded “that the Singapore CPF has probably resulted in a society where most people are more equal, except for the gap between the rulers and the ruled. But this has been achieved by forcing everyone to earn a 2 percent real rate of return on some 40 percent of their savings.”

Phang also surmised that, “Singapore’s housing strategy is inherently policy driven and centrally controlled, with major decisions on savings rate, savings allocation, land use, housing production, and housing prices being largely determined by the government. It is, in other words, a neo-classical economist’s nightmare.

Now, because the CPF contribution rates were increased from 10% in 1955 to 50% in 1984, this “restrain(ed) aggregate demand”.

Thus “The (increasing) CPF contribution (resulted in) … lower take home pay and hence less expenditure on consumption … (and) the CPF system has created a shift of demand (and hence resources) from the retailing sector to the construction sector. Therefore, compared with other economies of similar level of development, the CPF system would mean a less developed retailing sector in Singapore. This also helps to explain why the retail sector in Hong Kong is more developed than that of Singapore.

Indeed, personal consumption in Singapore has been declining.

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So has purchasing power grown much slower.

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Singaporeans also have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries, and which is lower than even Malaysia and on par with India.

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The government, through the mandatory CPF contribution rates which have escalated,” have resulted in the “over-saving and over-investment in residential properties” but under-investment in other areas, and created a dearth of local entrepreneurship, as PAP made it more expensive for Singaporeans to start businesses via rising rental costs as well, and because of PAP’s direct competition in the economy.

Today,  Singaporeans have to pay the highest social security (CPF) contribution rate in the world.

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In 1986, supposedly “in response to public complaints that CPF interest rates were below bank rates and were also inadequate as a hedge against inflation“, “the government decided to peg CPF interest rates to market rates.

The Minister for Labour and Communications cautioned that CPF interest rates “could well be lower than what CPF is now paying” if market rates fall, and this can apparently “result in lower construction cost and hence lower selling prices of flats.” “The government (also) warned that if CPF interest rates were tied to market rates, when the latter went up, HDB mortgages would have to pay more for their loans.

Prior to 1986, the CPF interest rates kept increasing from 2.5% in 1955 to 6.5% in 1974 and remained at 6.5% for the next 12 years until 1986. Singaporeans were able to earn in our CPF.

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But from 1986, when CPF interest rates were pegged to market rates, the CPF interest rates only continued falling and never picked up from where it left off. In fact, it went all the way down to 2.5% in 1999, to the rate when CPF first started and stayed at that level.

CPF Ordinary Account Interest Rates from 1977 to 2007

PAP said that since interest rates fell, housing prices would fall as well. However, not only did flat prices never fell, they shot up and escalated dramatically.

Nominal House Price Indices and CPI cropped

The CPF that has to be withdrawn for housing mortgage also shot up.

Annual CPF Withdrawals 1960 to 2013

The CPF interest rates thus became “administered by the government and “computed monthly and compounded and credited annually.

However, Mukul Asher stated that, “there is “no economic rationale” to pay a one-year fixed deposit rate on what is essentially a 35-year or more (the duration of one’s working life) savings plan”. He also said that “the CPF real rate of interest from 1987 to 1998 is zero, thanks to inflation. And this negative replacement rate defies the logic of accumulation.”

In 1999, PAP changed the interest peg again.

Social Insecurity in the New Millennium The Central Provident Fund in Singapore 1986 & 1999 Interest Rate Computation

And from then on, Singaporeans were only receiving 2.5% interest on our CPF Ordinary Account, or the lowest since 1968.

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Leong Sze Hian has shown that Singaporeans are thus made to earn the lowest interest rates on our CPF retirement funds in the world.

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Asher and Nandy said that, “The centralized control of national savings by the government agencies and banks, however, is of considerable advantage to those controlling them,” which explains the rising inequality in Singapore and the growing wealth among the richest, the PAP politicians among them.

Basically, PAP has planned to use CPF (and HDB) to control the lives of Singaporeans, how we spend, what we use etc.

Today, “The CPF savings have grown from a mere $9 million at the beginning” to about $260,000 million as of March 2014; with an additional $169,000 committed to housing and $26,000 to investment.

I had calculated that the median CPF balance is $55,000, which means that half of Singaporeans do not even have $55,000 inside our CPF.

Singaporeans Have Only $55,000 In Our CPF! 90% Cannot Even Meet The CPF Minimum Sum!

The reason why Singaporeans cannot save inside our CPF is because “the wage structure in Singapore is highly unequal,“, “70 percent of contributions (have to be) withdrawn (for housing)“, “the real rate of return is low due to implicit tax on CPF wealth… (and there are) high transaction costs due to restricted competition.

In 1987, “The Minimum Sum Scheme was introduced … to help CPF members set aside sufficient savings to support a basic standard of living during retirement,” so the PAP said. The Minimum Sum (MS) was set at $30,000 in 1987.

In 1995, “members were required to set aside a MS of $40,000 …  (which would be increased) by $5,000 a year until it reached $80,000 in 2003.

In 2004, this was raised again “by $4,000 a year, and adjusted for inflation… It will reach $120,000 (today’s dollars) by 2013.

I I had asked the government about how many Singaporeans are actually able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum in only cash and what the CPF median balance is. However, the Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin refused to answer.

Today, 90% of Singaporeans are unable to meet the CPF Minimum Sum.

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Half of Singaporeans have less than 35% of the CPF Minimum Sum inside our CPF.

Singaporeans Only Have 35% of the CPF Minimum Sum in Our CPF

73.5% of Singaporeans do not even have half of the CPF Minimum Sum of $77,500.

Three-Quarters of Singaporeans Have Less Than $77,500 in Our CPF

Yet, Lee Hsien Loong still announced that the CPF Minimum Sum will increase to $161,000 next year (2015). This is preposterous.

But why does PAP keep increasing the CPF Minimum Sum, even though they know that the majority of Singaporeans do not have enough at all inside our CPF to be able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum?

In fact, why did Lee Hsien Loong still increase the CPF Minimum Sun to $155,000. Did he show how much Singaporeans actually have inside the CPF and any plans to help Singaporeans reach the CPF Minimum Sum at all?

CPF Minimum Sum Grows Faster Than the CPF Itself@Facebook

Why does PAP want to lock our CPF up?

The PAP thus used the CPF Minimum Sum scheme to lock-up Singaporeans’ CPF:

  1. 1995: CPF Minimum Sum raised by $5,000 every year until 2003
  2. 1995: Required to set aside cash (of $4,000) to meet CPF Minimum Sum until 50% is reached in 2003
  3. 2003: CPF Minimum Sum raised by an additional $4,000 every year until 2013
  4. 2009: 50% withdrawal rule phased out
  5. 2013: Excess CPF monies can only be withdrawn upon meeting the CPF and Medisave Minimum Sums, and $5,000

PAP said that the CPF Minimum Sum is “adjusted yearly for inflation“. However, the CPF Minimum Sum has been growing by more than 6% every year even though inflation has only grown by 2% annually! Why does PAP want to increase the CPF Minimum Sum by so much to trap our CPF inside?

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There were also two sharp rises in the CPF Minimum Sum in 1995 and 2008.

The sharp rise in 1995 can be attributed to the policy change to raise the CPF Minimum Sum by $5,000 every year.

However, the 2008 rise is mysterious. Some people have speculated that this is due to the $58 billion loss that Temasek Holdings had made from the end of March 2008 to November 2008 and the $59 billion loss the GIC made in Financial Year 2008. Prior to May this year, Singaporeans did not have clear evidence that the CPF was invested in GIC and Temasek Holdings.

Slide43

PAP claimed that, “transfer of funds cannot be used to hide investment losses” and that “The issue of whether the investment of the reserves results in gains or losses over time is therefore distinct from the question of whether there is a draw on Past Reserves.” Does this make any sense to you?

However, the total losses than the GIC and Temasek Holdings made in 2008 was a total of $117 billion. And if you look at this as a percentage of the CPF balance of $151 billion in 2008, their losses made up 77.5% of the value of the CPF itself!

Other than trying to lock our money inside the CPF, PAP also tried to prevent us from being able to withdraw our own money.

Linda Low said that, “In 1984 the government tried to increase the CPF withdrawal age from fifty-five to sixty. The attempt was very poorly received, as people viewed the government as having broken a promise.” So, “One way of getting around this problem has been to institute a scheme minimum sum, which softens the impact.

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The retirement age was then raised from 55 to 62 in 1999, right in between the two increments to the CPF Minimum Sum in 1995 and 2003. Today, “the statutory minimum retirement age is still 62, but employers are now required to offer re-employment to eligible employees who turn 62, up to the age of 65“. Also, PAP plans to “extend the re-employment age from 65 to 67.

Paul Yip had said that extending the retirement age is “An alternative and perhaps better policy option … which would imply less, and delay of, CPF withdrawal as well as more and continuing CPF contribution by the affected labour.”

This will reduce withdrawals and lock-in more of Singaporeans’ CPF – but for what and who to use?

Professor Lim Chong Yah had asked if we can “guarantee that … governments would be as honourable and as capable” Can we trust PAP to have our interests at heart?

However, as Yasue Pai puts it, “The lack of transparency in the way the government invests CPF balances and the lack of an overall strategic objective of the CPF puts into question whether the system is really in the best interest of members.

Yip also explained that relaxing the “immigration policy for foreign workers might also reduce the net CPF withdrawal at that time.” He also explained that encouraging “higher birth rate now (to) … mitigate the problem (by increasing CPF contributions later on)” can also help to reduce withdrawals but he said that, “it is not advisable to just rely on this policy… because the decision of having a child involves costs and considerations that will be far much greater than any possible tax incentives provided by the government. As a result, the impact of encouragement policy is likely to be small although effort along this line should be encouraged.

As can be seen, the PAP’s half-hearted attempts in recent years to increase the fertility rate of Singaporeans has also been guided by such thinking.

Singapore TFR

Indeed, the PAP also followed Yip’s approach and relaxed the immigration policy. In fact, if you trace the growth of Singapore’s migrant population, you can see how it also coincided in the early 1980s and 1990s with the periods of housing boom.

There was also a sudden spike in 2004, which can also be traced to two key policies introduced under the premiership of Lee Hsien Loong – the EntrePass scheme to set up business and the Global Investor Programme to become permanent residents for high-net worth individuals. This has also resulted in the dramatic escalation of housing prices.

Slide3

The “increases (in) the overall supply of unskilled and semi-skilled labor (have also) depress(ed) the wages of Singaporeans.”

Thus from 2001 to 2011 (before CPF started omitting this information from their annual reports), the number of CPF members who earned $1,000 kept increasing even though Singapore supposedly became more wealthy.

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And from 2004 when the most recent spike in migrant inflow occurred, there was also a spike of the proportion of Singaporeans who were earning less than $1,000. The wages of Singaporeans were depressed and more and more Singaporeans cannot earn enough.

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Yet, Lee Hsien Loong remained unapologetic to the effects of rising cost, wage depression and CPF depletion. He had said, “In fact, if I can get another 10 billionaires to move to Singapore and set up their base here, my Gini coefficient will get worse but I think Singaporeans will be better off, because they will bring in business, bring in opportunities, open new doors and create new jobs, and I think that is the attitude with which we must approach this problem.

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Today, Singapore has the highest concentration of millionaires in the world.

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We also have the 4th largest concentration of billionaires in the world.

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However, Singapore also have the highest poverty rate among the developed countries as well, and even higher than regional developing countries (as you will see later).

Importantly as well, in the PAP’s eagerness to import cheap labour to substitute the local economy, does this thus explain why it has become  more difficult over the years for Singaporeans who have been made redundant from work to gain re-entry back into employment?

Re-entry into employment

Does it also explain why it is taking a long time now for Singaporeans to secure a new job?

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Also, whether Singaporeans are able to accumulate CPF depends on whether we are able to have a job. Thus it becomes problematic that the pension system in Singapore relies solely on the CPF and Singaporeans can otherwise not be able to save. This is worsened by how PAP pays Singaporeans such low wages and creates policies to depress our wages, such that Singaporeans do not have additional cash to save for retirement as well.

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Perhaps now you can understand why PAP has to go out at all costs to prevent the withdrawals of the CPF to sustain their parasitic system, and so you will understand why the PAP government refuses to allow dual citizenship and makes it a path of no return if a Singaporean chooses to renounce his/her citizenship. And also how a permanent resident (PR) “cannot withdraw the CPF monies unless he or she gives up PR status and leaves Singapore and West Malaysia permanently, with no intention of returning for further employment or residence” which is a veiled threat to prompt second thoughts about leaving, and thus allowing the CPF to be entrapped inside for their own uses.

The PAP’s “policies, particularly centring on a reduced tax burden on capital income and reduced mandatory contributions by employers to the CPF, have (also) been partially responsible for the declining share of wages.

In fact, “Singapore’s (growth-at-all-costs) strategy … rests on policies that include keeping the wage share of income below capital’s share at around 42 per cent of national income; relying extensively on foreign workers at both low- and high-skill levels; and giving greater weight to commercial concerns over the provision of social amenities.

Today, Singaporeans earn the lowest wage share among the developed countries, even though Singapore has become the most expensive place to live in, in the world.

Slide8

This “growth strategy of creating an environment for the MNCs and the state enterprises to earn high profits has contributed to significant inequalities in the wage structure and income distribution.

Thus it is problematic that PAP claimed last year that income inequality has stabilised and last week that income inequality has actually been reduced.

Slide33

But in an article I had written earlier this year, the PAP government has actually been pushing down the income inequality statistics over each reported period, to create the perception that income inequality is not as high as it actually is in Singapore!

Gini Coefficient 2008 vs 2010 vs 2013

On the other hand, the income share among the richest 10% in Singapore has grown from 30% in 1995 to 42% in 2011.

Slide1

And as can be seen, the change in income share among the richest 10% also follows the Gini coefficient (or the measure of income inequality), which means that as the income inequality increases, so does the income share of the rich – which brings to question, is income inequality thus artificially pushed higher by paying inequitable salaries at the top to themselves (similarly to how it can also be artificially deflated in the reports?)

Slide6

The dramatic increase in the share of income among the richest also coincided with whence PAP decided to increase their own salaries in 1994 by pegging the salaries of the ministers to “two-thirds of the average of the top 24 people in 6 professions”, to earn million-dollar salaries and the highest in the world.

Slide21

Today, the richest in Singapore earn one of the highest salaries in the world.

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They also pay one of the lowest taxes in the world.

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However, Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among the highest-income countries.

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Low and middle income Singaporeans also have to pay higher tax and CPF contribution rates than the richest.

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The Prime Minister now belongs to the richest 0.1% in Singapore while the PAP politicians belong to the richest 5%.

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And the rich-poor gap has only kept widening over the past 50 years. This is SG50 for you.

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Asher thus estimated the poverty rate in Singapore to be very high – at between 27% to 35%.

Singapore Poverty Rate Asher 2007

This is in line with the estimates of up to 26% by the Lien Centre for Social Innovation and SMU School of Social Sciences, and my previous estimate of 26% (which could have gone upwards to 28%). In fact, Singapore now has the highest poverty rate among the developed countries and even among regional developing countries.

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In spite of this, the PAP government has refused to define a poverty line, erroneously claiming that this would caused a “cliff effect“.

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Worse still, Professor Tilak Abeysinghe had highlighted that “Singapore’s bottom 30 per cent of households spend more than they earn” where they would “spent 105 per cent to 151 per cent of their income last year and the main cause of rising expenditure was housing.”

Slide64

However, this was fervently “disputed” by PAP. Of course they would. If you knew how PAP is jacking up prices and making you pay more from your CPF into their flats, you would become ballistic and wallop them.

But today, you finally know the truth.

Things are not just bad for the poorest 30% in Singapore. A survey by The Straits Times showed that even for the middle-income in Singapore, more than two-thirds of Singaporeans do not even have enough to buy for anything else, other than the basic necessities that they need.

Slide56

Essentially, PAP has calculated very incisively how much they need to pay you in wages, how much they can take it back from your CPF, and how much you are left with to just have enough to pay for the basic necessities which they own as well – telecommunications, transport, public utilities etc.

Slide61

For the poorest 30%, it is even worse off for them – the PAP created a perpetual handout class, to create a class which would be too scared to lose their “handouts” and can be forced to rely exclusively to protect the PAP’s base.

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But this widening income inequality has major social implications.

Because Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries, the prisoner rate has also become the highest in Singapore, after America.

Inequality vs Prisoners

Because of the high inequality, Singapore also has one of the lowest social mobility among the developed countries – the ‘elites’ are able to protect their positions and it is difficult for lower-income Singaporeans to move up the social ladder.

Inequality vs Social Mobility

Because Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries, this has also resulted in the highest level of self enhancement in Singapore among the developed countries, where people are likely to view themselves as being better than another person, which has led to a more self-centred and inward populace.

Inequality vs Self-Enhancement

And the highest levels of income inequality in Singapore has also resulted in the lowest levels of trust in Singapore, after Portugal.

The Equality Trust Income Equality vs Trust

And because of the low levels of trust, Singaporeans have become the second least likely people in the world to help a stranger.

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Thus without a doubt, PAP’s growth-at-all-costs strategy which relies on the manipulation of CPF contribution rates to reduce wages and a further wage depression via competition with lowly-paid foreign workers is a recipe for disaster. This, coupled with the government’s upward cost pressures fuelled by their own Government-Linked Companies has created an unsustainable income inequality, which is threatening to tear up the social fabric of Singapore.

However, the PAP government remains blissfully ignorant to this plight and continues to bury their head in the sand, to manipulate income inequality figures, instead of actually enacting policies such as minimum wages, to reduce the income inequality.

Such a government with an attitude of denial towards the problems that Singapore currently faces is disasterous for the longevity of Singapore.

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The Real History of the CPF and the Singapore Economy

Have you always wanted to know what really happened to our CPF? What did the government change over the years and what did they not tell you?

Today, I have compiled the most comprehensive history of the CPF, and how it has been intertwined with the Singapore economy, to such a huge extent that you will see here, that a lot of the problems that we face in our lives today are actually linked back to how the government has tied the CPF into too many aspects of the Singapore economy. I have trawled through several books, academic papers and government websites to compile this for your one-stop convenience on the real history of our CPF, which the government has been lacking to educate on. Please do spend some time to read this.

Most importantly, you need to know how Singaporeans have been made to shoulder the burden of the current problems – because it is YOUR CPF that the government is using.

(Much of the credit also goes to Mukul Asher, Linda Low, Phang Sock-Yong, Lawrence B. Krause, Yasue Pai and many others who have been quoted in this article on their research and analysis.)

So here goes. It is a bit long and I have divided the article into eight pages. But this is a really important article. Please do take some time to read this, or bookmark it and come back to read the later pages. It is really important that you read this because you will know how your life is being affected by how far the government has over-stretched itself, to over-extend your CPF for their purposes.

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CPF was Started by the British in 1955

By now, you would know that the CPF was started in 1955 by the British. The British was actually studying various pension systems, but opted to adopt the CPF system because “the mood at that time was that colonies like Malaya and Singapore would not be colonies for much longer” and “the British government had simply been quite firm in making a political decision not to be financially burdened with the social security plans of the colonies“. Thus if the British government had adopted the “unanimous recommendations for an insurance-based social security scheme” which was actually proposed by several committees set up to study the implementation of a social security system in Singapore in the 1950s, Singaporeans would be seeing a more holistic social security protection system for us today, which would include unemployment insurance, for instance.

Of course, when the PAP took control of government later on, they were quite happy with the CPF system. But why? The PAP was able to manipulate the CPF for their own uses – primarily to generate income for themselves.

CPF was Used to Finance HDB’s Construction of Flats

The first change came in 1968. Our CPF was legislated to become “a source of funds for the government as will be witnessed in the CPF as the Housing Development Board (HDB)’s financing agent“.

Indeed, in 1968, “The CPF became an important institution for financing housing purchases from September 1968“. The PAP government passed “legislation (which allowed CPF) withdrawals from the fund to finance the purchase of housing sold by the HDB and subsequently sold by other public sector agencies as well.

Actually, prior to 1964, it was not the aim to get all Singaporeans to buy flats. In fact, the “original objective of the HDB … was to build flats for rental“. But then, the PAP government changed their objective to “selling flats to tenants in 1964“. And because asking people to buy flats did not take off, the PAP government thus “liberalised” the CPF and created the Home Ownership Scheme to let CPF be used “for the down payment and monthly instalments towards the purchase of public housing flats”.

But the CPF was also used to fund the HDB from broader level, which is lesser known to Singaporeans – “The CPF was the financing agent for the HDB at the macro national level and micro level of households, respectively and sequentially. First, at the macro economy level, the government borrows funds for development expenditure through the development fund before it built up budgetary surplus.” And “In the initial years, before the government built up budgetary surpluses, it borrowed funds from the CPF for its development expenditure budget – one important user being the HDB.” Thus “The CPF is clearly an important financial agent of the government whether from direct financing through loans as the CPF is mandated to invest its balances in specially issued government bonds or as indirect revenue generated through massive housing and ownership in all forms of real estate taxation and charges. A third micro financing modality is when CPF members drew down their savings to purchase housing.

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As such, “The HDB obtains two types of loans from the government budget, one as contribution to public housing, and the other for mortgage financing,” “interest of which is pegged to the prevailing CPF savings rate. The mortgage lending rate charged by the HDB to homeowners is 0.1 percentage point higher than the rate that it borrows from the government,” which is said to ensure “the sustainability of the financing arrangement.

In short, “CPF funds were lent to the Housing Development Board so that it could build flats“.

The government borrowed the CPF to finance the construction of HDB flats, then asked Singaporeans to use our CPF to “buy” the flats.

The PAP Government Increased CPF Contribution Rates to Finance the Construction of More Flats

Now, the CPF started off solely as a retirement fund and thus initially, the CPF contribution rates were low and only a small portion of our wages needed to be deducted. “At the time of its introduction in 1955, the CPF contribution rates were 5.0 percent for employer and 5.0 percent for the employee, for a total of 10.0 percent.” However, with the PAP government’s new plan to extend the CPF “to support the(ir) national home ownership drive“,  “in 1968, the government raised the CPF contributions by employers and employer from 5% to 6.5%” and “with just three increases starting in 1968, the contribution rate reached 10 percent by 1971, which was double the original rate. By 1974, the CPF contribution was 30 percent of a member’s salary.” The PAP government kept increasing the contribution rates until they “peaked at 25 percent of wages for both employers and employees from 1984 to 1986“.

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In fact, in just a short span of just 7 years, “annual CPF collections increased more than four-fold from $46.9 million to $223.6 million between 1965 and 1971.

But why did the CPF contribution rates kept increasing upwards, from 10% in 1955 to 50% in 1985? By 1985, Singaporeans had to pay half our wages into the CPF! Why did the PAP government want so much money? Edward Ng said that, “Such a high savings rate is evidence of the intent to make CPF more than a pension scheme for retirement,” as indeed can be seen in how the PAP government has extended the CPF to be used for HDB construction.

But how else?

The Over-Use of CPF for Housing Contributed to the 1985 Recession

Notably, in 1982-83, there was an “unprecedented” growth in total overall construction of residential buildings. In fact, “the increase in public-sector (HDB) residential building construction was itself unprecedented … The number of units of residential buildings under construction jumped to 94,000 in 1982 from 59,000 in 1981; a record 77,000 units of residential buildings were completed in 1984, more than double that in 1983 and in any year in the seventies.

However, because of “The acceleration in public housing (HDB) construction in 1982- 83, (this) was considered by Krause to have been excessive in that it contributed towards ‘over-heating’ of the economy and the property slump and recession which followed in 1985-87. The Property Market Consultative Committee also similarly concluded that “the rapid increase in public-sector construction contributed towards the over-supply in the property market“. Indeed, 189,000 HDB flats were constructed during the Fifth Five-Year Building Programme when the original target set in 1980 was for the construction of 85,000 to 100,000 flats“.

It was asked, “did the acceleration in public housing construction serve other than a growth objective – in view of the fact that 1984 was an election year and a year for celebrating twenty-five years of achievement?” To that, “Krause et.al. (also hypothesized) that the acceleration in public housing construction (indeed) served other than a growth objective – 1984 being an election year as well as a year for celebrating 25 years of achievement as an independent nation.

In fact, Lee Kuan Yew later on admitted in his memoirs, “We made one of our more grievous mistakes in 1982-84 by more than doubling the number of flats we had previously built.”

Yet why did Lee Kuan Yew so vehemently pursued the housing programme then? Goodman, Kwon and White explained that he “believed that if people owned their own homes, they would be more likely to ‘fight the country“.

Indeed, Lee Kuan Yew had said in ‘From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000:

My primary preoccupation was to give every citizen a stake in the country and its future. I wanted a home-owning society. I … was convinced that if every family owned its home, the country would be more stable … I had seen how voters in capital cities always tended to vote against the government of the day and was determined that our householders should become homeowners, otherwise we would not have political stability. My other important motive was to give all parents whose sons would have to do national service a stake in the Singapore their sons had to defend. If the soldier’s family did not own their home, he would soon conclude he would be fighting to protect the properties of the wealthy. I believed this sense of ownership was vital for our new society which had no deep roots in a common historical experience.

The government thus decided that home ownership was the way to make its citizens cast their lot with the new nation. With little surplus and private savings, the funds in the CPF accounts were identified as a source of valuable financing.

In other words, the HDB served as a social lock-in tool (for the citizens onto Singapore), whilst the CPF was used as the financial lock-in.

To surmise, “the boom in the construction sector burst in 1985 because it had been buoyed by artificial demand caused by the release of savings from the Central Provident Fund (CPF) for both public and private housing and public policies directed at a goal of 100 percent home ownership.

CPF Study Group in 1986 Asked the PAP Government to Stop Over-Extending the CPF for Housing but It Fell on Deaf Ears

In 1986, the CPF Study Group, recommended “that the authorities refrain from pursuing policies that would induce individuals to siphon more and more of their savings from their CPF to continuously upgrade their properties and to purchase additional properties, at the expense of other more pressing family needs and to the possible detriment of their ability to finance a decent old-age livelihood, besides contributing to inflating property prices.” They asked the government to restraint from the excessive use of the CPF to finance the construction of HDB flats.

However, the PAP government did not heed this early warning but instead did the “opposite” and “promoted the upgrading policy (again) and allowed the user of CPF funds for this purpose“.

The CPF Study Group had also recommended that “CPF members be allowed to opt out of making employee’s CPF contributions once a specified minimum balance had been accumulated, so as to give them greater freedom to use their money.

Indeed, it was said:

The rate of contribution to the CPF should not be used as a macro-economic instrument to control inflation as it has important repercussions on the allocation of consumption and savings contemporaneously as well as over time. Since its main (and original) objective is to provide for savings for old age, the combined rate of contribution should be set at a level consistent with this objective, and it should be maintained at that level. The use of CPF savings for the purchase of housing distorts consumption patterns, as pointed out by a comprehensive study of the CPF. The fulfilment of the political objective of home ownership by increasing CPF contribution rates so that more funds would be available for this purpose is, if true, economically inefficient.

So, you see, way back in 1986, warnings were already sounded against over-extending the CPF for purposes other than for retirement as this would be “economically inefficient”. However, these warnings fell on deaf ears. And the Study Group also highlighted the pitfalls of manipulating the CPF contribution rates for purposes other than for retirement.

Instead of drawing back on manipulating the CPF contribution rates, the PAP government went against the committee’s recommendations. They kept the employee’s CPF contribution at 25% in 1986 and 1987 while only reducing the employer’s CPF contribution rate – to 10%.

In fact, the same thing happened again after the 1997 recession.

Slide5

And because of such a lopsided policy, today Singapore is only 12, or one of the 7% out of the 166 territories with social security in the world, where employees would contribute more into social security than employers.

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What caused the PAP government to ignore such warnings (way back in 1986 or nearly 30 years ago) to stop their compulsion with the over-use of CPF funds to artificially inflate housing demand and prices is beyond common-logic comprehension. But perhaps when it is known that “the public sector and its GLCs may account for 60% of gross domestic product“, one might understand why the PAP government would favour policies that benefit employers more, at the expense of Singaporeans, in spite of the recommendations.

The PAP Government Over-Built Again and the Housing Bubble Burst in 1997

But the problem of over-construction wasn’t confined only to the early 1980s. Clearly, the PAP government never learnt its lesson.

As the PAP government became ballistic in its compulsiveness to profit from the housing market, it once again over-built HDB flats. And yet once again, when faced with the recession in 1997, the PAP government became at a loss.

Then-Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan admitted that, “when the Asian Financial Crisis hit in 1997, … HDB ended up with 31,000 unsold flats“. What’s more, it took the PAP government more than 10 years later to admit the truth in 2009.

Yet, Mah Bow Tan had the cheek to say that this resulted in a “waste of taxpayers money”, but as history has shown, who was the one who repeatedly made the same mistake, in spite of numerous warnings? And who was the one who continuously ignored these well-intended advice and went head-on with their addiction to (over-)construction?

When the PAP government over-constructed in the early 1980s and partly caused the recession in 1985, they were forewarned not to repeat the same mistake and not to over-indulge themselves with our CPF monies. But they did not heed the advice and allowed housing prices to spiral out-of-control again from 1994, over-built yet again and by 1997, over-extended themselves yet again, this time with “taxpayers money”.

Will the PAP government ever learn their lesson, or will the obsessive compulsive addiction to cheap money from our CPF to build flats for profit be too much temptation to resist?

Indeed, today we are seeing the built-up of yet another housing bubble and feeble attempts by the PAP government to stoppage a potential burst.

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