Here’s a quick recap. This article is very easy to read.
In 2011, according to the CPF Board’s annual report in 2011, there were 17% of Singaporeans who were earning less than $1,000 (Chart 1).
A quarter earned less than $1,500 (Chart 2).
There were almost 40% of Singaporeans who earned less than $2,000 (Chart 3).
Now, calculate your expenses – you know how much you spend and use. Is $2,000 enough for you, after accounting for all your expenses? Is $1,500 enough for you? Do you have enough to save? Is $1,000 even enough? But this is what many Singaporeans are surviving on. Is this enough for them? Can they save? Can they ever retire?
All this information was available in the CPF Board’s annual report in 2011. However, the CPF Board removed this information in the annual report in 2012.
Why did the CPF Board do this? What was their rationale? Is this information too ugly? Can this information not be seen?
Do you know that according to the Ministry of Manpower, the median gross monthly income from work of full-time employed residents is $3,480 (including employer CPF).
But according to the CPF Board, 64% of Singaporeans earned less than $3,500 (Chart 4).
So, why is it the Ministry of Manpower has a set of statistics that said that there are more than 50% of Singaporeans who earn above $3,480, while the CPF Board has another set that showed that only 36% of Singaporeans earn above $3,500?
Are Singaporeans actually a lot poorer than we are made to imagine?
According to the CPF Board’s annual report in 2012, about 56% of all Singaporeans have less than $150,000 in their CPF. According to the CPF Board, members would need to have at least $148,000 in their CPF before they are allowed to take their CPF monies out. This means that possibly about 55% of Singaporeans are yet able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum (Chart 5).
However, if you look at the Singaporeans who are about to retire or should be able to retire, among the Singaporeans above 60 years of age, 68% do not have $150,000 in their CPF. Does that mean more than 65% of older Singaporeans do not have enough in their CPF and are not able to take their CPF monies out (Chart 6)?
In the report, State of the Elderly in Singapore 2008/2009 conducted by then Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, it was found that in 2005, 74% of older Singaporeans had to work because they had needed the money (Chart 7).
So, how many older Singaporeans actually cannot retire because they need the money? 68%? 74%? Would you want to continue working when you are 70 or 80? Do you think our elderly in Singapore should have to?
The UBS Prices and Earnings 2011 had shown that Singapore had the lowest wages among the developed countries (see bottom of table) (Chart 8).
Chart 8: Singapore has lowest wages among developed countries (UBS Prices and Earnings 2011)
Singapore also had the lowest purchasing power (see bottom of table) (Chart 9).
Chart 9: Singapore has lowest purchasing power among developed countries (UBS Prices and Earnings 2011)
With the lowest wages and the lowest purchasing power, it is no wonder that the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index 2012 had shown that Singaporeans have the least adequate retirement fund among developed countries (column under blue-boxed heading) – we have the lowest index of 42.0, whereas countries like Australia and Switzerland are ranked higher than us, at 73.5 and 71.3 respectively. (Chart 10).
We also have the smallest retirement funds, not only compared to developed countries, but also to some developing countries, according to the Pensions at a Glance Asia/Pacific 2011 (Chart 11).
In short, Singaporeans won’t have enough money to retire.
However, Singapore is the richest country in the world by GDP per capita (Chart 12).
GIC and Temasek, which manages our reserves (where our CPF monies is borrowed from), is ranked as the 8th and 10th largest sovereign wealth funds in the world (Chart 13).
Clearly, Singapore has a lot of money. Clearly, Singapore can do a lot more for its people.
But Singapore has the lowest public spending, as compared to the developed countries (Chart 14).
Singapore also spend the lowest proportion of our GDP on healthcare (Chart 15).
So, all in, the people in Singapore earn the lowest wages. We do not have enough to save and retire. Meanwhile, prices continue to rise but the government continues to spend the lowest on its responsibility to the people, when it clearly can afford to do a lot more.
Clearly, Singapore has enough money to protect the poor and elderly in Singapore. But when does the government want to sting on this? Because the poor don’t deserve our help? Because the poor do not deserve respect and equal treatment? What is it?
What do you think? Do you feel protected living in Singapore? Do you think this government will take care of you? Why do you think the government is coming down hard on bloggers and online websites? Why do you think information and statistics keep disappearing from the government’s reports?
Left to the CPF Board, they have omitted a crucial information on our wage distribution. From 2012 onwards, we won’t be able to know how many poor there are exactly in Singapore.
Do you want to continue to know? It’s really up to you now. Do you give up or do you want to fight? Do you want to protect what’s yours. Then speak up. Then fight your own battle.