I have been writing a socio-political blog in Singapore which advocates for the rights of Singaporeans for over the past 2 years. Since 2012, I have dedicated and committed my time towards analysing the socio-political and economic issues in Singapore. I have written on issues which Singaporeans are concerned about and have advocated for specific solutions for the government to adopt.
In particular, I have advocated on wage and labour issues, income inequality and poverty, CPF, healthcare and educational issues.
On wage and labour issues, I have written articles such as, ‘How Much Do You Need To Earn To Survive In Singapore?’, ‘How The Government Undercuts Singaporeans’ Wages’ and ‘How Much Should The Minimum Wage In Singapore Be?’ which have been shared by more than 10,000, 7,000 and 1,000 Singaporeans respectively and read by hundreds of thousands more. I had analysed that in order for Singaporeans to have a basic standard of living in Singapore, Singaporeans should earn a minimum $2,000 every month. In light of how 30% to 40% of Singaporeans earn less than $2,000, I advocate that there is a need for Singapore to implement a minimum wage of at least $1,500.
In ‘Revealing the Truth With Real Statistics’ (shared by more than 6,000 Singaporeans), I had analysed that Singaporeans are paid the lowest wages among the high-income countries even as the highest-income earners in Singapore earn the highest salaries and the cost of living in Singapore is one of the highest in the world. As such, I have also been advocating to narrow the wage disparity in Singapore.
Indeed, I am also concerned because as I had estimated, the poverty rate in Singapore would be as high as 26% as I had written in ‘Poverty in Singapore Grew from 16% in 2002 to 28% in 2013’ (shared by more than 5,000 Singaporeans). The Lien Centre for Social Innovation and SMU School of Social Sciences had conducted a research which reported similar findings. This is worrying because Singapore’s poverty rate and income inequality is the highest among the high-income countries and research has shown that there are dire social ramifications, as has been seen by the highest prisoner rate, and the lowest levels of trust and social mobility in Singapore. In order for Singapore to be able to move towards continued growth, there is a need to rethink the economic model in Singapore, to ensure that the poor and middle-income are uplifted so that the shared growth in Singapore would allow Singapore to move towards renewed economic prosperity.
From my interactions with Singaporeans, I understand that retirement and CPF is one of the key concerns of Singaporeans. In the collection of articles written under, ‘SHOCKING Facts About Our CPF in Singapore!’ (shared by more than 6,000 Singaporeans), I had explained how even though Singaporeans are setting aside the largest contribution of our wages into CPF in the world, however because of the lowest interest rates that we receive on the CPF, we also have the least adequate retirement funds in the world. It is a concern that even as Singaporeans have the lowest retirement funds in the world, the sovereign wealth funds which uses our CPF for investments have become one of the largest in the world. As such, I have been advocating for higher interest rates on Singaporeans’ CPF to grow our retirement funds.
I also believe that as a government, there is a moral responsibility for a government to ensure that its citizens’ well-being are taken care of and protected. In particular, I have been advocating for equitable and affordable access for Singaporeans to education and healthcare – two of the social pillars which would ensure that our citizens are able to continue to live well and contribute to our society and economy.
In ‘Every School Is A Good School? Really?’ (shared by more than 2,000 Singaporeans), I had written about how the distribution of resources in Singapore is unequal and have led to unequal outcomes. Coupled with how I had shown in ‘Singaporeans Pay The Most Expensive University Tuition Fees In The High-Income Countries’ (shared by more than 1,000 Singaporeans) that Singaporeans have to pay one of the highest university tuition fees in the world while our citizens receive the lowest proportion of scholarships, this puts the access of Singaporeans towards equitable educational opportunities at risk. As such, I believe that there is a need for resources to be more equitably distributed and for costs to be much reduced to provide greater opportunities and access for Singaporeans to further our education.
Finally, as part of a collection of articles written for The Online Citizen, ‘Focus on Healthcare’, Mr Leong Sze Hian and I had analysed that the Singapore government’s subsidy for health is the lowest among the developed countries and on par with developing countries. On top of that, Singaporeans have to pay for the highest out-of-pocket expenditure in the world. This has resulted in situations where it has been reported that Singaporeans have chosen to die instead of seek medical care and Singaporeans who are ladened with hefty medical bills of more than $10,000. Similarly, subsidies for health need to be increased significantly to protect the health and well-being of Singaporeans.
Thus I believe that the Singapore government needs to step up to ensure that the basic needs of Singaporeans in terms of education, healthcare and retirement, are adequately protected. The Singapore government also needs to ensure that Singaporeans are able to live with respect and dignity by according them the wages that would allow them to live independently, and that poverty and income inequality can be reduced in Singapore.
I will continue to advocate for these issues in Parliament and will continue to advocate for decent wages which will allow our citizens to live with dignity. I will also continue to speak up for increased subsidies for equitable access to education and healthcare. Finally, for our Singaporeans who have contributed greatly to Singapore, it is the right and responsibility of the government to ensure that they are able to retire well and respectably and that we are able to create a truly fair and equal society in Singapore, so that as a citizenry, we will be able to move Singapore into the next era.
Since I started writing and advocating for Singaporeans 2 years ago, nearly 2 million Singaporeans have read the blog. I have also received feedback and messages from Singaporeans for me to continue to speak up for them and to voice out for them in Parliament. I see it as a duty and responsibility to my fellow Singaporeans to go into Parliament to advocate for our rights and to propose policies and solutions to better Singapore and create a happier society.
As an individual, I am only one but I will continue to keep my ear on the ground to understand the needs of Singaporeans and use my voice to represent them in Parliament. The Singapore Prime Minister had recently said that, “Singapore belongs to all of us”. As such, as a citizen of Singapore, I believe that it is a responsibility for me to speak up for my fellow Singaporeans.
I have received ongoing support and encouragement from Singaporeans to enter Parliament and I thank the vote of confidence and belief that many Singaporeans have given to me. I also thank this nomination and the publicity that has come with it.
It is in the interests of a democratic Singapore for even the smallest voice in Singapore to be heard. It is also in the interests of the Singapore government to be able to hear what Singaporeans from all segments of society are thinking and saying. I present myself as a bridge for the government, and for the people of Singapore. As a known blogger who has a keen interest in our country and who has amassed support from the blog, through the nearly 2 million views on the blog, I hope to continue to engage Singaporeans on issues that matter to us and present these in Parliament to allow Singaporeans to have a bigger role in the democratic institutions of Singapore.
The selection of representatives into Parliament will send a clear signal as to what the government is ready for. The publicity generated from this selection will also garner significant interest and anticipation of further representation in Parliament. I will continue to play any role I can to further and advance the rights of Singaporeans and I look forward to advocating for the rights of Singaporeans and their anticipated opportunities via me to do so in due time.
Thank you for this opportunity. I look forward to representing my fellow Singaporeans in Parliament to advance our rights and work towards a better future for Singapore.
Roy Ngerng Yi Ling