At the Europe Day celebration organised by the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) yesterday, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said, “We have to acknowledge that, over time, Singapore cannot be a First World economy with Third World costs. There has to be some balance.“
Indeed, under the current government, Singapore is now a “First World economy” and we have “First World costs” as well. How about everything else? Let’s take a look.
Indeed, Singapore is now a First World economy – Singapore is the 4th leading financial centre in the world.
Singapore also has First World costs – we have one of the highest prices in the world.
Chart: UBS Prices And Earnings 2011
Singaporeans have to pay First World health costs – Singaporeans have to pay the highest out-of-pocket expenditure for health.
Singaporeans have to pay First World university tuition fees – one of the highest in the world.
Chart: Education at a Glance 2013
Singaporeans also have to pay First World housing prices – we have the most expensive public housing in the world and one of the most expensive private housing in the world.
Singapore also has First World car prices – we have to pay for the most expensive cars in the world.
Indeed, Singapore truly has First World prices – we are now the most expensive place to live in in the world.
But this is where it all ends – Singapore has a “First World economy” and “First World costs” but everything else is “Third World”.
The Singapore government is only willing to give Singaporeans Third World subsidies for healthcare – the Singapore government gives even lower subsidies for health than China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The Singapore government is only willing to give Singaporeans Third World subsidies for education – the spending on education is on par with other developing countries.
Chart: World Development Indicators
Singaporeans are also made to earn Third World wages – Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among the high-income countries.
Thus forcing Singaporeans to have Third World purchasing powers – our purchasing power is even lower than Malaysia and on par with India.
And Singapore thus have Third World income inequality – we are the most unequal country among the developed countries.
Singapore also has Third World poverty – our poverty rate is higher than the other developed countries and many developing Asian countries.
And because of the Third World inequality and poverty rate in Singapore, this has resulted in a Third World prisoner rate.
Chart: The Equality Trust
It has also resulted in Third World levels of trust.
Chart: The Equality Trust
And Third World levels of happiness in Singapore.
Not only that, Singaporeans have Third World retirement funds – Singaporeans have one of the least adequate, if not the least adequate retirement funds in the world.
Meanwhile, the Singapore government has taken our CPF to help to earn First World sovereign wealth funds – GIC and Temasek Holdings have the world’s 8th and 9th largest sovereign wealth funds even though Singaporeans have the least adequate retirement funds.
All the mismanagement in Singapore is also caused by the fact that Singapore has a Third World government.
And because of the Singapore’s government control of the press, we also have Third World press – we are ranked 150th by Reporters Without Borders.
The Freedom House ranks us at an even lower 152th.
Thus you can see we have Third World government spending – the Singapore government spends the lowest government spending among the high-income countries.
And we also have Third World spending on social protection – the Singapore government spends the least on social protection among the high-income countries and on par with other developing countries.
Finally, Singaporeans are forced to work Third World hours – Singaporeans work the longest hours in the world – to have Third World livelihoods.
But you know what else? Singapore also have Third World political and business dealings – Singapore is the 5th easiest place for the rich to get rich if they are politically affiliated to the government. In other words, the situation in Singapore is as bad as other developing countries, like Malaysia, India and Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the Singapore government pays themselves First World salaries – wait, let’s rephrase it, the Singapore government pays themselves OUT-OF-THE-WORLD salaries. They earn the highest salaries in the world among political leaders and earn 4 times as high as the second highest political leader.
Meanwhile, the highest income earners, the Singapore government among them, earn First World salaries – they earn the highest salaries among the developed countries and one of the highest in the world.
And they yet pay Third World tax and CPF – they pay the lowest tax and CPF among the developed countries and one of the lowest in the world.
Yet, the majority of Singaporeans have to pay First World tax and CPF – the average Singaporean pays 38% in tax and CPF and as much as other high-income countries.
So much so that for the richest in Singapore, their incomes have kept growing but for the poorest, their incomes have hardly grown.
So, you see, the Singapore government wants to have a First World economy and First World costs. However, they run Singapore on a Third World government and Third World press, while paying Singaporeans Third World wages and force us to accept a Third World purchasing power. They also make us pay for First World health prices, university tuition fees and transport fares but they give us Third World government subsidies and Third World social protection – so the Singapore government pays us Third World subsidies but they collect from us First World tax and CPF. Meanwhile, Singapore has now become so unequal that we have a Third World income inequality and Third World poverty. The richest in Singapore, including the Singapore government pays themselves First World (or out-of-the-world) salaries but allows themselves to pay Third World tax and CPF, yet force Singaporeans to pay First World tax and CPF. They also force Singaporeans to work Third World hours and have Third World livelihoods. Today, Singapore has a Third World society.
All these while the Singapore run an economy on Third World business relations and dealings – Singapore is the 5th easiest place for the rich to get rich if one is politically affiliated, so much so that Singaporeans now have a Third World spending power and Third World debt.
While the Singapore government claims that as Singapore moves into a First World economy where we need First World costs, then shouldn’t everything else be First World as well? Shouldn’t we have a First World government and First World press? Shouldn’t we have First World wages, purchasing power, subsidies and social protection? Shouldn’t we be able to work First World hours and have First World livelihoods? Shouldn’t we have a Third World society? Shouldn’t the inequality and poverty rate in Singapore be as low as First World countries? What did the Singapore government do to turn Singapore upside down?
All very convenient for the Singapore government to claim that we need First World this and First World that but why does “First World” apply only to the economy, costs and their own salaries? Why does the government want everything else to be Third World?
If the government is willing to let the wages and lives of Singaporeans be at a Third World standard, isn’t the Singapore government very hypocritical? Otherwise, if the Singapore’s government is only interested in making sure that the economy and costs are First World, while letting everything else be Third World, then what is the Singapore government’s priorities?
Is the Singapore’s government priority on Singaporeans? Is the Singapore government interested in taking care of Singaporeans?
Meanwhile, would Lim Hng Kiang like to also explain why he is a government minister and a GIC board of director but would claim that “GIC manages the Government’s reserves, but as to how the funds from CPF monies flow into reserves which could then be managed by either MAS, GIC or Temasek, this is not made explicit to us.“