Singaporeans, Are You Being Taken Care Of By Your Government?

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).

Slide1

Chart 1: 17% of Singaporeans who were earning less than $1,000 (CPF Board Annual Report 2011)

A quarter earned less than $1,500 (Chart 2).

Slide2

Chart 2: A quarter of Singaporeans earned less than $1,500 (CPF Board Annual Report 2011)

There were almost 40% of Singaporeans who earned less than $2,000 (Chart 3).

Slide3

Chart 3: 40% of Singaporeans earned less than $2,000 (CPF Board Annual Report 2011)

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).

Slide4

Chart 4: 64% of Singaporeans earned less than $3,500 (CPF Board Annual Report 2011)

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).

Slide5

Chart 5: 56% of all Singaporeans have less than $150,000 in their CPF Accounts (CPF Board Annual Report 2012)

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)?

Slide6

Chart 6: 68% of Singaporeans aged above 60 years old have less than $150,000 in the CPF Account (CPF Board Annual Report 2012)

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).

Slide7

Chart 7: 74% of older Singaporeans work because they need money (State of the Elderly in Singapore 2008/2009)

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).

photo 1 (9)

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).

photo 2 (11)

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).

photo 3 (5)

Chart 10: Singaporeans have the least adequate retirement fund among developed countries (Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index 2012)

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).

photo 4 (3)

Chart 11: Singaporeans have the smallest retirement funds (Pensions at a Glance Asia/Pacific 2011)

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).

photo 5 (2)

Chart 12: Singapore has the highest GDP per capita in the world (The World Wealth Report 2012)

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).

photo 1 (10)

Chart 13: GIC and Temasek Holdings are ranked 8th and 10th largest sovereign wealth funds in the world (SWF Institute Sovereign Wealth Fund Rankings)

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).

photo 2 (12)

Chart 14: Singapore has lowest public spending (Singapore Perspectives 2012 Inequality and the Need for a New Social Compact)

Singapore also spend the lowest proportion of our GDP on healthcare (Chart 15).

photo 3 (6)

Chart 15: Singapore has lowest healthcare expenditure, as % of GDP (Singapore Perspectives 2012 Inequality and the Need for a New Social Compact)

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.

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48 comments

  1. enuff_of_unconstuctive_crap

    I can’t believe how some people are so free as to bother to gather statistics without knowing what they are meant to tell and hence how to properly interpret them. The CPF lies a little with statistics just like every entity who wants to look better. This author lies much more by evoking the power of emotions rather than logic. Anyone learned in statistics know how much it can be used to lie and propagate one’s agenda. But this page is not meant for such people, it’s meant for those who have grievances in the first place so as to harness their emotions to overpower their sense of logic, especially if they are not well schooled in the art of lying with statistics. Bad karma for doing this dude!

  2. enuff_of_enuff_of_unconstructive_crap

    Hey Roy, I like what you have brought up and bringing attention to raising costs which matters to everyone in Singapore. However, I would love to see an additional piece of information to balance your last point which seemed a bit flimsy. You have brought up that Singapore government has spent the lowest among the countries but for the case of UK, their healthcare system isn’t exactly the best and they are spending not efficiently enough, as compared to Singapore. That being said, I think it would be hard to find how efficient healthcare expenditure in each country is, unless you initiate a research yourself. Thanks for coming up with the article.

    As for enuff_of_unconstructive_crap, I don’t think you represent your nickname very well. Instead of putting someone down, shouldn’t you give constructive comments on how he can further improve on his future posts. Besides, you’re discounting the fact that he has pulled out varied sources, other than CPF. You have represented your nickname to the fullest meaning.

  3. enuff_of_enuff_of_unconstructive_crap

    *As for enuff_of_unconstructive_crap, I don’t think you represent your nickname very well. Instead of putting someone down, shouldn’t you give constructive comments on how he can further improve on his future posts. Besides, you’re discounting the fact that he has pulled out varied sources, other than CPF.

  4. The Pariah

    CPF Board’s statistic for Age 55 cohort’s CPF Minimum Sum is based on “active CPF Members” = Age 55 Singaporeans/PRs with at least one employment-related CPF contribution in last 4 months. As Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) drops sharply to around 70% in age band 55-59, the percentage would be much lower if based on “total CPF members”. That truth would reveal the stark widespread retirement insecurity and the social implications of public policies and budgetary burden going forward.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi to all readers,

      The statistics that I’ve collated and presented are how I’ve understood the situation in Singapore. And what I’ve heard as well.

      I will leave it to readers to look at the statistics and come to their own informed judgments.

      Anyone in Singapore should be able to access information and come to their own understanding of it, regardless of what they had studied, etc – because we have a stake in this country and it is our right to make a decision for our own lives.

      I’m putting the information out here. You don’t have to buy into it. But you need to read the information, find out more for yourself and decide for yourself what’s best for you, for your life and for when you retire.

      It’s ok if people disagree – I don’t agree with personal attacks, but they do sometimes happen, be it whether we get emotional because we are affected by what we read or when we have to protect any party we might be aligned with.

      But for the general reader, I hope that the information here can be a starting point, or an add-on to what you already know, to spur all of us to make the right decisions for our own lives.

      Thank you.

      Roy

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  6. xavier

    Hey people, it is a MUST to share this article. I am not saying that whatever written here is 100% accurate. But without people like Roy making the effort to write and draw attention to such issue, there are many things swept under the carpet under our nose. We need to make articles like this go viral. Why? Because without pressure from the public, the government will continue to hide statistics, mislead us with dubious data or mess up all data into useless lumps like mixing Singaporean with PRs, etc. We need to FORCE the PAP government to come and clarify. Show us YOUR F–KING DATA if you want to disprove what is written here. YES, SHARE, please. Thanks. When in doubt, challenge. Be a responsible citizen. Help you; help us.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Xavier,

      Thanks for this.

      And yes, it’s not whether I’m right, or wrong. Or whether I know everything. I can’t. But I try my best to present how I understand what things are like.

      But we can all work at connecting the dots and to understand what’s really going on around us and in Singapore, so that we will protect ourselves and one another – eventually, this is what it’s about.

      This is why we need the information – the freedom to access and receive information. This is why we need a wide variety. So that we can be informed, be engaged and look out for one another.

      Roy

  7. Winking Doll

    Hi Roy,

    Appreciate your posts and pulling out various statistics to support your point.

    > 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?

    I do not know for sure but I suspect the answer to your question above is in the statements you’ve made just prior to the questions. [Capitalization by me for emphasis.]

    > 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).

    I wonder if the MOM took only “full-time employed residents” but CPF Board counted all Singaporeans, so they are using different base number (i.e. denominator). That is, most likely CPF Board figure includes the part-timers and casual/freelance workers (i.e. workers who work on-demand).

    Which brings to mind. I wonder how MOM or CPF Board handle the following categories of persons in their statistics:
    1. Self-employed persons
    2. Unemployed persons
    3. Persons residing/working overseas (thus not contributing to CPF) but are Singapore citizens or still hold valid Singapore PR visa

    Anyway, I agree with you and some commenters above that the problem is there is not enough open data in Singapore. The PAP-led Singapore government had steadfastly refused to answer calls to allow for an “Access to Information” Act like the ones available in other developed first-world country. E.g. Canada “Access to Information” Act url below.
    http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/a-1/

    Cheers, WD.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi Winking Doll,

      Thank you for this – you should be right. I suppose it would boil down to the number of hours worked – to differentiate between full time workers and part time workers, and then the median wage as put down by the Ministry of Manpower.

      Still, it is worrying that the CPF Board has removed their set of data as cross comparison would be difficult in future. Which begs the question again – why did they?

      And yes – we need access to information so that we can also propose policy recommendations, as we would be able to analyse the information and statistics as well.

      Roy

  8. tom

    It’s good to have other sources of information like this than just those that the government feeds us. For a society to grow and make diverse and better decisions, we should be open and NOT sheltered by just agreeing to all that the government states. After all nobody or group is perfect. If you are perfect, you have just stop yourself from wanting to improve and learn and that is something a country like Singapore want to avoid.

  9. Chris

    This is a nice overview of data and you can draw your own conclusions from it. Singaporeans who read & follow independent media are already familiar with some of this data.
    Note that Singapore has the lowest public spending but spends almost 24% of it on defense…

  10. Silas

    Yeah, this little island state dont have the most ethical policies. We dont have a perfect govt either. But we have indeed come a long way, from a fishing village to the top forex centre and top 9 economies in the world. Actually, if not for the pioneers, we wouldnt have all that we already have and see today. We would still be another developing country. As for state spending on her people, yeah theres alot of developed first world countries out there who spends tonnes on their welfare systems which is why they are all having financial problems in the west, yes Singapore has room for improvement, other asian countries still spend more on their people, ohh well, we can just vote properly in 2016 lorh, pressure them to give us more. =D

    • Winking Doll

      Hello Silas,

      > if not for the pioneers, we wouldnt have all that we already have and see today. We would still be another developing country.

      Firstly, the pioneers are not just a few old folks who love to dress in all white. The pioneers include the elderly, some of whom currently have to pick cardboard boxes and used cans/bottles for a living. Roy has argued time and again that Singapore can afford to take better care of its elderly (especially the underprivileged few), not just the few elderly who are entitled to fat government pension (i.e. taxpayers’ money).

      Secondly, no one knows for sure which way history would head if events took a different turn. If you can prove otherwise, I would love to see your proof.

      > As for state spending on her people, yeah theres alot of developed first world countries out there who spends tonnes on their welfare systems which is why THEY ARE ALL HAVING FINANCIAL PROBLEMS IN THE WEST

      [Note: Capitalization above are mine, for emphasis] Thirdly, I am living in Canada. If I understand correctly, Canada is one of those “developed first world countries out there who spends tonnes on their welfare systems” and part of “the west” by your definition. Every country has its own issues — financial or otherwise. It is not news to me that the Canada has its own financial challenges, but I won’t call them problems for the Canadian financial system is NOT anywhere near collapse. That said, IMHO, its challenges are just like any normal country’s. Are you saying that Canada has financial problems, but Singapore does not? Are you stating that the cause of the financial problems in Canada is due to its spending on the welfare of its citizens/residents, and that Singapore does not have financial problems due to its lack of welfare spending? Where is your proof for:
      a) Canada has financial problems
      b) Canada’s financial problems are caused by its welfare spending
      c) Singapore does not have financial problems
      d) Singapore’s lack of financial problems is due to its lack of welfare spending

      One humble suggestion from me: Be careful when using words like “all”, “none”, “always”, “never”. These are easily refuted by just an instance of the opposite.

      > we can just vote properly in 2016 lorh, pressure them to give us more.

      I agree with you on the above. Meanwhile, enjoy your life in la-la-land.

      Cheers, WD.

      • Roy Ngerng

        Hello Winking Doll,

        Thank you for the clarifications!

        And I agree as well that every country has their unique challenges and as citizens of the country, we are able to work to resolve them.

        Thank you.

        Roy

    • Winking Doll

      p.s. A quick Google for Youtube videos will provide plenty of proof that Singapore was not a “fishing village” in the 1950’s. While “From fishing village to top financial centre” make a nice romantic tagline for National Day celebrations, the tagline is far removed from reality.

      Old Singapore 1951. Cathay/Oriental theatres

      Chinatown Singapore 1955

      Old Singapore’s outskirts in 1951

      • wingbliss

        Is there a like button for Winking Doll’s post? Note this quote is also verified in one of the Display Panel of Wan Qing Yuan Singapore.
        Book: “The Economic Growth of Singapore: Trade and Development in the Twentieth Century By W. G. Huff”
        Quote: By World War 1 Singapore was the 7th busiest port in the world in terms of shipping tonnage handled; in the 1920s over 50 different lines stopped there.

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  12. Yenny

    Hi Roy, I enjoy reading your article as it is very informative, you are really good at such thing and thanks for the time and effort in putting into it.

  13. Kuan Yew

    Curiously, the GIC-owned UBS has omitted Singapore from this year’s Prices and Earnings report. I wonder why.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Oh, thanks for this, Kuan Yew!

      So that explains why UBS decided to omit Singapore from their report in the 2012 report!

      And I was thinking why UBS would voluntarily do that! And so, now we won’t be able to have a comparison of low the wages in Singapore will continue to be further depressed!

      In the last report that Singapore was included, Singapore was already having a lower purchasing power than Kuala Lumpur!

      Thanks for this!

      Roy

  14. CJ

    Thank you Roy for your time and courage to pen this, in a clear and well articulated manner. I believe that we do not point these inconsistencies purely for the sake of criticising the government, but to try and improve the situation in our own personal way. Indeed, people marvel at how this little red dot without land, population and natural resources can become so successful in such a short time, and we give full credit to the early pioneers who have laid a fantastic foundation for the younger generation. HOWEVER we are concerned with the complacency and increasingly arrogant stance of the new leaders, whose policies are beginning to insult the intelligence of the people (e.g. “only present the right politics”). I have recently returned from overseas after 10 years, and it is clear to me that my fellow Singaporeans today are unhappy, feel ‘cheated’ as 2nd class citizens, and sadly, prefer to live elsewhere. The skyline and aesthetics are beautiful, but I sense that the core of society is slowly disintegrating, and it is my hope that our leaders will review these constructive suggestions and engage her critics rather than impose internet licensing fees and fines to try and shut them up. Pls keep up your good articles, Singapore needs more sons like you!

    • Roy Ngerng

      Thank you so much CJ.

      This is very touching. And you are right. The only reason why I write is because I want Singapore to be a better place not just for myself, but for everyone else in Singapore.

      Singapore can be a place that’s good for all, and not just for some. And that is why we need to keep speaking up so that we can uplift the lives of all.

      I would really, really like to thank all commenters here. Thank you for voicing out your thoughts and support.

      It’s really not about whether I am right or wrong. It doesn’t matter. What matters is we put up what information we have and can find, so that we can help inform one and allow us to make decisions, based on clear facts and statistics. That’s all that matters.

      I’m really thankful and glad that readers are commenting. It really isn’t an easy time now to write, because you never know when the government will come down hard on you. So, please keep commenting and discussing. Please keep commenting on the blogs you believe need to be kept alive, so that we can keep being informed. And please keep commenting on the forums.

      We need to keep our Internet space alive and we need to keep our voices heard. This is the only way we can still fight for our lives and for ourselves. This is the only way we can make sure we can still push for change to right our lives.

      Thank you all, really. Thank you, and thank you to yourselves too writing, and wanting to make that difference.

      Roy

  15. Dick

    Seems like they are alot of Singaporeans disagreeing with you here Roy. Obviously, Singaporeans are happy with their earning capability & they are happy with how the country is being run. Everyone has a shelter above their heads & food into their mouths. They don’t believe that the gap between the rich & the poor is that far apart & people are having the quality of life that most developed countries have. They don’t have high stress level, not working long hours & everyone is pretty much reproducing & yeah to meet the Govt’s expectation of meeting the highest standard of productivity. We are just one big happy family, holding our hands into the sunset, singing praises to the Govt, for creating such a docile & obedient nation.

  16. Dick

    PS. Roy you better take your face pic down & use an different alias. Someone might report you to the Govt & have you ambushed, arrested & banished out of the country for good. You dont know how many pro Govt supporters out there reading this article. These pro Govt supporters feel so threatened by your research. They are worried that you are disseminating the wrong info & sowing discord to the rest of the herd & utilimately single handedly bringing down the whole nation!!!

    Bad, bad KARMA, bad boy, very very bad boy!!!

    I should zip up my mouth now too. I am looking behind my back, as I type this……shhhhhhh

    • Roy Ngerng

      Lol. My principle in life has always been to stay true to myself. I will do what I believe is right, but not at the transgression of others, as far as I can tell.

      I believe in standing up for what we believe in and to be who we are.

      If anyone disagree, by all means – for all of us come from our own self-centrist view. We could always have a healthy discussion and come to a better understanding of one another’s viewpoints and perspectives.

      What would be disconcerting is when another chooses to run down your opinions without wanting to hear what you have to say. Then you have to wonder why.

      Roy

  17. Jonno

    Dear Roy,
    By now, you would have realized that the biggest problem is only not the S’pore govt but those majority of S’poreans who continually defend the status quo despite the obvious.
    My kind (…of people) left S’pore years ago when we came to the conclusion that no matter how the govt inflicts pain & suffering on the people, they’ll still vote for the incumbent. It’s what called “The Stockholm Syndrome”.
    My kind left since we’re from a different (sic: earlier) generation from yours. We don’t have time on our side & can’t see any improvements in our lifetime. Individually, we want a good life & realistically, you won’t find it in S’pore.
    Using Sun Tze’s Art Of War, if the terrain is not to your advantage, it is wiser to retreat & not engage.
    Living abroad opens up perspective that the life we had in S’pore was unnecessary stressful & materialistic. We’re forever chasing an impossible dream. On the reality level, the S’pore life get harder as time goes on.
    From your articles, it is evident that you have a good command of English & you have excellent communication skills in writing. Chase your dreams instead of fighting an unwinnable war. No point in fighting when people don’t see your arguments & incite doubts about the source or agenda. They’re fools! The smart ones have left those behind in search of their own happiness! Peace!

      • Winking Doll

        Hi Roy,

        I agree with Jonno. My turning point came around 7-8 years ago and I started plotting my escape from “paradise”. I do not regret leaving.

        That said, I admire your courage for speaking up for those who cannot do it for themselves, especially while you’re still on that little red dot. Every citizen counts. Each citizen speaking out his/her truths (regardless whether we agree/disagree with him/her) will contribute to a more vibrant citizenry. The questions are:
        1. Whether is this active citizenry will develop fast enough before the existing powers-that-be runs Singapore to the ground?
        2. What will happen to you individually if/when Singapore sinks?
        3. What will happen to your loved ones if/when Singapore sinks?
        4. Do you have time on your side to ride out the rough times with Singapore?

        I hope I do not sound too discouraging. I admire your efforts and clearly you’re effective enough in what you do to attract the attention of the IB. So keep up the good work.

        Cheers, WD.

      • Sunny

        Hey Roy, please stay and fight. This is our home; this is where we belong. Why should we be a third class citizen in a foreign land? We can make this place better if everyone chip in some effort to make a change, no matter how small that effort is. I can see the tide turning. PAP’s support is diminishing. We will get there in another two elections. Have faith!

  18. Winking Doll

    Hi Sunny,

    > Why should we be a third class citizen in a foreign land?

    I just want to bust the myth of 2nd or 3rd class citizen in a foreign land.

    Personally, I feel more treasured by Canada (even though I am only a permanent resident), than I am by Singapore as its citizen. My experience — with government officials, with other authorities, with born-and-bred Canadians and with other immigrants/newcomers here at Canada — supports my conclusion that Canada values me more than Singapore does.

    Here’s what LIFT who migrated to UK has to say about the myth.
    http://limpehft.blogspot.ca/2013/06/myth-busting-being-second-class-citizen.html

    Here’s what ASingaporeanSon who migrated to Australia has to say about the myth.
    http://asingaporeanson.blogspot.ca/2013/07/busting-2nd-class-citizen-myth.html

    Anyway, whether to “stay on and fight” or to “move to greener pastures”, both are active choices which require courage. The issue is too many in Singapore just stay… — not to “fight” — but because it is the default option (i.e. no need to make any active decision). They continue to whine about the overcrowding, long work hours, high cost of living, declining standard of living, high-stress, etc; but do not make any plan and/or take any action to change their daily/long-term reality.

    By blogging and analyzing the issues, Roy is doing his part to hopefully wake up more of these lemmings. I admire his courage to blog with his real name and share his sincere opinions, especially when he is still based in Singapore.

    > I can see the tide turning. PAP’s support is diminishing. We will get there in another two elections.

    When I was still a teen, people have been saying, “We will get there in another two elections.”; i.e. since the 1980’s when JBJ entered the Parliament. But guess what? 30 years on, same-old, same-old.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._B._Jeyaretnam#Election_to_Parliament

    > Have faith!

    For the benefit of all Singaporeans, I sincerely hope that your faith will be rewarded.

    Cheers, WD.

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  23. See Toh Hiap Seng

    I posted this letter last evening at 6 pm (22.4.14) at Ang Mo Kio Post Office.

    BY AR REGISTERED POST

    23 Apr 2014

    Dr. Tan Kim Siew
    Comptroller of Income Tax
    Revenue House
    55 Newton Road

    Singapore 307987

    Dear Sir

    PENSIONS ACTS > INCOME TAX CHEATS>TAX EVASION>LEGAL CORRUPTION

    I refer to my letter dated 9.10.13 addressed to Mdm Halimah Yacob and copies sent to PM Lee Hsien Loong and you. Hitherto, I have not received any acknowledgement or reply.

    Meanwhile, more Straits Times reports on Income Tax, Tax Avoidance, Tax Evasion and Tax Cheats emerged for public knowledge and scrutiny of Iras role as Top Revenue Collector.

    A Netizen known as “THE Discriminator” posted the following in a Yahoo Forum titled “COMMENT : Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more” :

    “THE Discriminator” posted :
    What so great about the 116th Philippine corruption day. !0 out of 10 president of theirs are corrupted. Are pap going to let these trash to make SG in to a corrupted and trash country

    My Response to “THE Discriminator” :

    Singapore is Absolutely Corrupt with PAP Govt’s “Legal Corruption Uniquely Singapore”.

    Legal Corruption is many times worse than Illegal Corruption.

    Legal Corruption involves Absolute Abuse of Authority, Trust, Power and Laws too.

    While Illegal Corruption is harder to prove, Legal Corruption is very easy to prove.

    TOWARDS A NEW TAX MORALITY (Straits Times dated 19.4.2014 Opinion Page A30) :

    This Report by Mr Willie Cheng is titled : “TOWARDS A NEW TAX MORALITY”

    QUOTE :
    When I first met Mr Koh Yong Guan more than 20 years ago, he had just been appointed the Commissioner of Inland Revenue. One thing he said then and which has stuck with me since was : “Tax evasion is illegal – and tax avoidance is immoral.”

    MY REJOINDER :
    Legal Income Tax Avoidance which is tantamount to Evasion and which is made possible with wilful intent and artfully plus legally contrived via the Parliamentary law-making process to tax exempt all entitlements provided by extinct, outdated, discriminatory Pensions Acts retained for the exclusive enjoyment of Top Politicians and Top Civil Servants is “Elitist, Selfish, Sinful and Corrupt”.

    In other words :

    TAX EVASION IS ILLEGAL

    TAX AVOIDANCE IS IMMORAL

    LEGAL TAX EVASION AIDED & ABETTED BY PENSION LAWS IS SINFUL & CORRUPT

    PAP Govt, including President Tony Tan who is also a beneficiary of Pension Acts, must be held jointly accountable for Legal Income Tax Evasion on Multi-$Billions of Taxable Income.

    In reports on pimps/prostitutes, we often read of this phrase : “living on the immoral earnings”.

    In other words, for “Pensionable” PAP politicians and top civil servants to live on the “MORAL EARNINGS/TAXES PAID” by “Non-Pensionable” Civil Servants/Citizens is “Sinful & Corrupt”.

    So what about all Pensions Acts providing First-Class State Welfarism/Public Assistance and which are “Legal Income-Tax-Evasion Acts @ Cheating Non-Pensionable Fellowmen Acts”??

    This Straits Times report further supports my comments on “Legal Corruption Uniquely Spore”:-

    The Sunday Times front-page report titled : “Tax cheats target govt scheme” (dated 6.4.2014) puts the spotlight on Pensions Acts (First-Class State Welfarism) @ “Cheating Non-Pensionable Fellowmen Acts @ Legal Income-Tax-Evasion Acts”.

    I shall add my comments to/after each and every paragraph in chronological order :-

    Para 1 :
    The Pension Scheme that gives pensionable and multi-millionaire elites cash payouts by the multi/tens of $millions that are “Tax-Free/Exempt @ 20% Top Income Tax Rate” have produced a growing number of “Privileged Taxpayers @ Legal Tax Cheats”.

    Para 2 :
    After eliminating all junior, mid-rank and senior civil servants from the Pension Scheme, top elites comprising Political Leaders/Policy-Makers/Decision-Makers/Law-Makers/Topmost Civil Servants decided to retain all the Pensions Acts for their exclusive entitlement and enjoyment. So how many top elites had already collected/pocketed their “tax-free” entitlements without the need to pay the Top Income Tax Rate of 20%? Pensionable elites also enjoy CPF contribution by Employer (Ministry of Finance) and also contribute to Supplementary Retirement Scheme : “A Tax Shelter”.

    Para 3 :
    Under the Pension Scheme, each top elite (and spouse too) is entitled to :-
    1) Tax-free retirement gratuity ranging from multi-$millions to tens of $millions;
    2) Tax-free monthly/lump-sum pension ranging from multi-$millions to tens of $millions;
    3) Tax-free free healthcare-for-life for multi-millionaire pensioner who fails Means Test;
    4) Tax-free free healthcare-for-life for pensioner’s spouse who is not a civil servant and can be a multi-millionaire too.

    Para 4 :
    It is time for Iras (Comptroller of Income Tax) to apply Section 33 and/or Section 96 too to recover multi-$billions of Additional Income Tax (including fines, penalties, etc.) “legally evaded” unwittingly and/or with wilful intent to legally evade Income Tax by way of Artful and Legal Contrivance amongst Political Leaders/Policy-Makers/Decision-Makers/Law-Makers/Top Civil Servants thus resulting in Legal Fraud and Legal Evasion of Income Tax and also not forgetting Legal Evasion of Estate Duty via Abolition in 2008.

    Para 5 :
    Is Iras going to set up a multi-member task force to audit Ministry of Finance’s financial records and investigate all “tax-free” cash payouts and healthcare costs incurred by pensionable elites and spouses adding up to multi/tens of $billions ($trillions over time).

    Para 6 :
    After the Gerard Ee Report, “ONLY” Pension was abolished but not Pensions Acts which continue to pay out the other “Three (3) out of Four (4) Entitlements”. To aggravate matters with the wilful intent to continue benefitting at the expense of all “Non-Pensionable” Civil Servants/Citizens/Taxpayers, pensionable elites are entitled to Packages for Long-term-retention (PL) in lieu of Long-term-retention Pensions (LP). In other words, there was no loss of multi/tens of $millions, i.e. “simply from LP to PL”.

    Para 7 :
    Each time I read of taxpayers jailed for Income Tax and GST evasion, I cannot help thinking that Pensionable elites are the all-time Biggest Tax Evaders. “Legal” Evasion & “Legal” Corruption are many times worse than “Illegal” Evasion and “Illegal” Corruption.

    Para 8 :
    So how is PAP Govt going to address its “BIGGEST MISTAKE” of retaining Pensions Acts @ “Cheating Non-Pensionable Fellowmen Acts @ Legal Income-Tax-Evasion Acts + Legal Evasion of Estate Duty via Abolition to maintain absolute secrecy on wealth?

    Para 9 :
    DPM Teo Chee Hian could not increase pay in 2009 due to the 2008 financial crisis. He increased Public-Sector pay in 2007 and 2008 and he was then and still is in charge of the Civil Service. So he said : “Retirement savings insufficient” and it is not known how he increased the retirement savings of pensionable and multi-millionaire elites. To increase pay is to “automatically” increase “tax-free” retirement gratuity & pension. His disclosure on this is imperative to prevent abuse of authority, trust, power and laws too.

    Para 10 :
    In view of the foregoing paras, what are PAP Govt’s remedies to right all the wrongs : “Discrimination + Inequity + Inequality + Injustice + Dishonesty = Legal Corruption”?

    Para 11 :
    I hope Iras as Singapore’s top Revenue Collector will ensure “Equity, Equality & Justice” as enshrined in the Singapore Constitution & Pledge. Iras must exercise due diligence.

    Para 12 :
    This Legal Income-Tax-Evasion Scheme via Pensions Acts retained exclusively for top elites is confined to top politicians/civil servants and an audit & investigation are simple.

    Para 13 :
    For every $Million that got away “Tax-Free/Scot-Free”, Additional Income Tax Payable/Recoverable is $200,000, excluding late payment interest, fines, penalties, etc.

    Para 14 :
    The annual cost of healthcare incurred by each pensioner and spouse should be ascertained since multi-$billions of public funds are involved and more so in view of the Pioneer Generation Package that “double-rewards” all pensioners and their spouses.

    Para 15 :
    While the “Non-Pensionable” needy/poor/elderly/sickly are struggling with financial hardship and costly healthcare, Singapore’s “Pensionable” elites are having the best times of their lives and at the expense of $Billions of public funds. In other words, “Pensionable Masters (Top Politicians/Civil Servants)” are enjoying the hard-earned monies of “Non-Pensionable Slaves (Civil Servants/Citizens/ Taxpayers)”. This is very “Elitist/Selfish/Sinful/Dishonourable/Dishonest/Corrupt”!!! Every dollar earned by top Private-Sector Elites is taxable. So why should every dollar paid out via Pensions Acts and earned by each Pensionable Elite be 100% exempted from Income Tax. Is this True Equality & Justice or A 21st Century Animal Farm @ Greatest Singapore Shame?

    Para 16 :
    In the last five financial years, Iras investigated 691 cases involving all types of tax fraud and recovered about $248 million in taxes and penalties. The recovery of Additional Income Tax, late payment interest, fines, penalties, etc. from “Tax-Free” $Billions paid out via Pensions Acts will amount to $billions and top elites have to pay their fair and equitable share of Income Tax as they are also exempted from Estate Duty due to abolition. The abolition of Estate Duty means saving more $millions and maintaining secrecy. The number of pensionable elites involved runs into thousands and the amount of Income Tax recoverable will be unprecedented and probably a “Guinness” record too.

    Summing-up :

    “Pensionable” PM1/PM2/PM3/DPMs/Policy-Makers/Decision-Makers/Law-Makers/Top Civil Servants have collectively failed in the course of connection, compassion and convincing all “Non-Pensionable” Civil Servants/Citizens/Taxpayers that PAP Govt understands the true meaning of “Inclusiveness, Collective Responsibility and Individual Responsibility”. So how can Pensions Acts retained exclusively for top elites promote “Inclusive Society, Collective Responsibility and Individual Responsibility”? In fact, PM Lee Hsien Loong and his Cabinet tried so hard at “Damage Control” caused by Pensions Acts @ First-Class State Welfarism/Public Assistance and before the next General Election that they “hastily and wrongly” came up with the Pioneer Generation Package to “double-reward” pensioners and their spouses. This is another mistake. PM3 had forgotten his promise to admit mistakes and put right.

    It is now up to you to render an official reply to prove that the contents of this letter and the other letter dated 9.10.13 are baseless, frivolous, vexatious, scandalous and an abuse of the whistle-blowing process involving Singapore’s Top Revenue Collector and more so when I am an ex-Iras officer. I am spurred to whistleblow as Iras refuses to admit mistakes after 19 long years and despite the resignations of legal officers to take full responsibility.

    YOURS SEEKING EQUITY/EQUALITY/JUSTICE : (Signed : See Toh Hiap Seng of Ang Mo Kio GRC))

    Copies to :
    Mdm Halimah Yacob
    PM Lee Hsien Loong
    President Tony Tan Keng Yam
    CPIB
    Commercial Affairs Department

    PS/NB :

    Sunday Times (20.4.14) : “One patient, 101 visits to same clinic in a year”. So does Ministry of Finance (MOF) monitors each (all) holder(s) of Civil Service Card(s) and the amount incurred annually. “Non-Pensionable” Citizens are paying for “Pensionable” Citizens. Please note the last sentence about : “… cannot cheat the Income Tax Department (Iras).”

    Mr Koh Yong Guan (1st Commissioner of Iras when it became an Autonomous Agency in 1991) said : “Tax Evasion is Illegal & Tax Avoidance is Immoral.” I say : “Legal Tax Evasion via Pensions Acts and aided and abetted by Income Tax Exemption Laws passed by the Parliamentary Law-Making Process is Sinful & Corrupt.” As the current Head of Iras, what are your views & remedies on “Legal Tax Evasion”?

  24. See Toh Hiap Seng

    As all Public-Sector’s “Pensioners” are already enjoying the following paid by “Non-Pensionable” Civil Servants/Citizens/Taxpayers, they should not be entitled to the benefits of the Pioneer Generation Package or else they would be enjoying a “Double Reward” :-

    1) Tax-free retirement gratuity
    2) Tax-free pension-for-life or lump-sum-pension
    3) Tax-free free healthcare-for-life for pensioner
    4) Tax-free free healthcare-for-life for wife or spouse

    In view of the above-stated, the Pioneer Generation Package should be named as :

    “PIONEER GENERATION PACKAGE FOR NON-GOVT PENSIONERS ONLY”.

    So just like the retention of Pensions Acts exclusively for top PAP politicians and topmost civil servants, this is another “BIG & IRREVERSIBLE MISTAKE” made by PAP Govt due to its “pre-planning for the next General Election” to win hearts early and to win votes hopefully.

    This is like the “Quicksand Situation/Analogy” :

    “Apply damage-control to the preceding mistake but results in another big and irreversible mistake”

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