Singaporeans Have The Lowest Purchasing Power Among The Developed Countries

Do you know that if companies want to hire foreign workers, they have to pay their Singaporean workers at least $1,000 to be able to do so? Before July 2013, this was $850, which means that before 2013, companies were only required to pay Singaporean workers as low as $850.

Then, the question is – why are there still Singaporeans who are earning less than $850?

Also, this means that the $1,000 is the de facto minimum wage in Singapore.

This poses some questions –

(1) First, is $1,000 enough for any person to live on in Singapore? It has been shown that a person would need to earn at least $1,500 to $2,000 to be able to live even most basically in Singapore.

(2) Second, there can be as many as 10% to 20% of Singaporeans earning less than $1,000, and up to 30% of Singaporeans earning less than $1,500. Is it right that in the most expensive place to live in the world where the government is also one of the richest that there is possibly 30% of Singaporeans living in poverty?


Chart 1: Singapore has the highest poverty rate (The Heart Truths)

(3) Do you know that even if this can be considered a minimum wage, this is much lower than other rich countries with a similar GDP per capita as Singapore? For countries with a similar cost of living, Japan has a minimum wage of $2,000, Australia $3,000 and cleaners in Norway earns $5,000.

However, in Singapore, the de facto minimum wage is only $1,000 even though we are now the most expensive place to live in the world.

Do you think this is enough for anyone to live by in Singapore? And do you think this is enough for up to 20% of poorest Singaporeans to live on?

Do you think it’s morally responsible for the Singapore government to only increase a “minimum wage” to $1,000 when through its direct incursions and involvements in the largest companies in Singapore and it’s monopolising the basic necessities in Singapore, such as public housing, public healthcare, public education, transportation and telecommunications, that it has increased prices to the highest in the world, that it is only willing to increase wages to a puny $1,000 and let Singaporean workers suffer under their reprehensible policies?

Do you know that because prices have been driven so high in Singapore and wages have been depressed so low by the PAP that Singaporeans now also have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries?


Chart 2: Singaporeans have the lowest purchasing power (UBS Prices and Earnings Report 2011)

Not only that, do you know that among the high-income countries, the citizens of these countries also have the highest purchasing power in the world but Singaporeans have the lowest purchasing power among the high-income countries? Then, where is all the income going to?

Do you know that even though Singaporeans are paid the lowest wages among the high-income countries, the richest in Singapore – and this includes the PAP ministers – earn the highest salaries among the high-income countries and one of the highest in the world? This is where your money is going to. Also, you pay more tax and CPF than they do, and they also pay the lowest tax and CPF among the high-income countries.


Chart 3: Singaporeans earn the lowest wages (International Labour Organisation Data collection on wages and income)


Chart 4: The richest in Singapore earn the highest salaries (ECA Global Perspectives National Salary Comparison 2012)


Chart 5: The richest in Singapore pays lesser tax and CPF than the poor and middle-income


Chart 6: The richest in Singapore pay the lowest tax and CPF (KPMG’s Individual Income Tax and Social Security Rate Survey 2012)

Also, do you know that even though Singapore’s GDP per capita is higher than Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, our purchasing power is actually lower than all of them?

If fact, do you know that Singapore has a lower purchasing power than even Malaysia and has a purchasing power similar to India?


Chart 7: Singaporeans have the lowest purchasing power (Cost of Living Index for Country 2014)

The situation in Singapore has become too dire where Singaporeans have been inhumanely treated for two decades (or more) now. The PAP has forced down the people’s wages while increasing prices beyond affordable means such that among the poorest 30% households in Singapore, they have to spend 105% to 151% of their incomes and Singapore has the highest poverty rate among the high-income countries.

Singaporeans now live among one of the largest concentration of enslaved populations in the world, if we bother to admit it. Among the First World-looking infrastructure, we live Third World lives on Third World purchasing powers.

It is time to stand up against this scrouge and infestation that has plagued our land. It is time to demand for fair and humane treatment of the workers here and of Singaporeans. As the government, the PAP has failed terribly in their responsibility.

We have to demand for fair wages and rightful employment of workers in Singapore. This Saturday, join us at Hong Lim Park as we speak up for the protection of Singaporeans and all workers in Singapore.

It’s time we make a stand.

You can join the Facebook event page here.



  1. Simon Cheng

    Hey Roy.. how can we prevent PAP from cheating in elections? You know the empty ballot boxes discovered at last Presidential election? Have you been a counting agent before? When the PAP seal those ballot boxes at the polling station and transfer them to the counting centre, is there anyone from the opposition party guarding those boxes by following the transport vehicle? Is it possible for them to stuff votes during the transfer phase by making seals with identical serial numbers? Do all agents who signed on the seal check their signature satisfaction before opening each of the boxes?

    What I want to say is that it is highly likely that PAP may lose the mandate in the next election, PROVIDED that they do not cheat! I think this is a serious issue. And PAP, if they are not honourable people, may start to do dastard things in desparate situations.

    Someone by the name of Robert Ho wrote about something which you might be interested:

  2. Vl

    I stopped at the Domestic Purchasing Power chart. Roy, while a number of your articles and assertions appear valid, it would have made you much more credible if you had used the appropriate data to support your claims.

    Using that data (Domestic Purchasing Power) is faulty for many reasons. Primarily, you are comparing cities, not countries. Hourly wages at the cities cited will tend to appear higher because they will be skewed by the top earning individuals; data collected at cities leave out 80-95% of the ‘poorer’ people in the country living and working in rural places or commuting to work in cities. Consequently, the Purchasing Power for city dwellers will be much higher. Singaporeans, on the other hand, are all stuck in this 700km2 of land mass, rich or poor.

    If you had taken GDP (PPP) per capita or any other purchasing power measurement which compares countries-to-countries, instead of cities-to-cities, Singapore is arguably one of the countries with the most purchasing power per capita. Like it or not, our Singapore Dollar is strong. For many, we can still afford our gadgets and life is still good.

    As a student of economics, I have always been taught that the world revolves around trade-offs. We cannot expect to have our cake and eat it too. Poverty is a problem all around the world, even in cities. Do we want to resolve it by giving the unemployed welfare benefits, or do we want to solve it by giving the unemployed jobs, albeit lowly paid ones? I think the latter is what Singapore is trying to achieve.

    You can conjure up all the figures in the world to support your claims, but using the same charts from the same study, others can easily reach a different conclusion. Only using figures which support your position (and passing it off as “countries” when it is really “cities”) is intellectual dishonesty, by the way. You do not need figures / charts to support your arguments all the time, especially if they are specially picked and chosen from a bunch of cherries. But I do share the sense that wages are suppressed and people are ‘feeling it’, even if the numbers are rosy. Perhaps you might want to consider the points made by Ron Unz and see if you can integrate his arguments into your future articles – it would do you more credit in the pursuit of your cause. 😉 Link below.

    Best of luck.

    • kokwee

      To accuse roy of intellectual dishonesty is way off the mark. Singapore is a city. It is also a country. There are only a few countries, maybe the vatican, that are of this category. You are the one being dishonest be asserting that we should compare country to country.

      • Vl

        Why is it intellectual dishonesty to insist for a country-to-country comparison? City surveys tend to take their findings from tax filings, which takes its data from resident registers. It is commonplace for the poorer of the populace to be excluded from city-findings as they tend to live in the suburbs (or at least tend to be registered in sub-urban areas), leaving city data disproportionately representing the better off, as only the wealthy can afford to work AND live in the city.

        Singapore does not have that luxury – everyone, rich or poor, will be included. To compare city-to-country may therefore be inaccurate insofar as Roy tries to represent that Singapore is “worse off” compared to the other cities.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hello, please see the last chart – it compares the purchasing power of countries.

      If you had read to the end of the article, you would have seen that.

      Your comment has just been invalidated. Thank you for your comment.

      • Vl

        I can accept that wages might be suppressed for the average Singaporean and public property (hence rent) might be too expensive. Thank you for that chart. 🙂 Do read the American Conservative article I linked above.

      • Tatkoo shitto

        I don’t how accurate yours information from, as for me did you how many many aussie can event get a decent job an have to beggar the money to live for their life. so many family can’t even have the milk powder solution for their baby. $A 3,000 you may referent with other group, the employment rate is 5.8 % and nearly 723,000 was unemployment. plenty of single mum and youth can’t live a decent life no bed, furniture , television…… check it out yourselves. Australian are super rick in natural resources and look at them now, Singapore have non of any resources the government tries their very best to create the job for the ress of singaporean, if the wags is to high the investment will shift to the cheaper country such as Bangladesh, indonesia, Latin America and Eastern European countries. how many people in Singaporean will lost more job that what you never expect. are you a Economist? if you are maybe you should review the textbook before you say something, or maybe you should do some self study when you are in the prison. government might give yoy a chance to turn to the new leaf! what you say?

      • Jenny

        He was the one who stated in his previous blog that Singapore and Norway have SAME grocery prices. If he is wrong to make that statement, shouldn’t he just correct it ? I am nitpicking while he can sweep everything under the carpet??

      • kokwee

        Really? It is an insignificant point to me. U r missing the forest for the tree. U sound like a housewive and think like one. 🙂

  3. Daybit

    wow, is there even any poverty line in Singapore? You come up with your own poverty line and assumes that these people are poor? Did you include the jobless like the house wives or the disabled etc? These poor people have assistance from the government. Do not suggest these people never receive any. Minimum wage is $2000 in japan? Oh sure but Japan’s standard of living is far higher and probably twice as expensive to live there than in Singapore. If you want to compare, that would be $1000 min wage in Singapore no?

    Oh wait…$1000 thats the minimum floor wage for the Progressive wage that will be implementing soon for the cleaners, security guards and the landscapers!

    Quote your sources where you get your numbers from. Cherry picking to prove your point comparing apples to oranges is a joke.

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hi, please click on the links that are available in the article, before you critique with baseless arguments.

      It’s already a well known fact around the world that Singapore is now the most expensive place to live in the world. It has also been shown that Singapore’s cost of living is on par with Norway and Japan. Please read.

      Also, a study done by SMU Lien Foundation has also shown that poverty rate is as high as 26% in Singapore.

      Perhaps if you are bothered enough to formulate your argument with statistics, you would not embarrass yourself with putting up a comment which has lost any credibility whatsoever, when it’s backed up a lack of statistics but empty rhetoric, just because you want to prove your point.

  4. eric

    I read somewhere that says Leong Sze Han is asking singaporeans to invest in his fund, is it true? If yes, what are its returns?

  5. royohroy

    The Heart Truths is nothing more than a sensationalist anti-establishment blog penned by a disillusion and misguided teenager.

  6. Michael

    Could you elaborate on Chart 4 Roy? It doesn’t say really that our executives are the highest pay workers? What does executives refer here to specifically? Many SIngaporeans believe that Singaporeans are better paid than the Japanese. They cite that Japan’s gross salary maybe be a bit higher BUT they pay more taxes than us such as resident tax and social security and income tax. Also, Japan’s sales tax is now 8%.. So, Are we like the Japanese or better than them?

    • Roy Ngerng

      Hello, please look at Chart 6. It answers your question.

      High-income earners pay the lowest tax and social security among the high-income countries and one of the lowest in the world.

  7. Pingback: 80% of Singaporeans Are Poorer Than A Cleaner In Norway | The Heart Truths
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  10. Pingback: Singapore’s Economic Growth and Social Development Story (My Article for Oxford Round Table Journal) | The Heart Truths
  11. Pingback: Wages: How PAP has Betrayed Singaporeans | The Heart Truths

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