Singaporeans Earn the Lowest Wages: We are Being Cheated of Our Wages

Dear Singaporeans, I will make this article short – just a few charts and you will see how we are being cheated of our wages.

Singapore has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world – the second highest GDP per capita among the advanced economies.


As Singapore is today a “First World economy”, as Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang had said earlier this year, he thus said that “Singapore cannot be a First World economy with Third World costs.”

Singapore cannot be a First World economy with Third World costs

Indeed, Singapore has become the most expensive place to live in, in the world.


But Singapore might have a “First World economy” and “First World costs” but do we have “First World salaries”?

Indeed, Singapore is today one of the richest countries in the world (by GDP per capita) and the most expensive, so one might expect Singaporeans to also earn one of the highest wages.

However, in a survey that Gallup did at the end of last year, it was found that among the top 20 richest advanced economies, Singapore has one of the lowest self-reported per-capita household income!


Not only that, when you compare how much the lowest-wage Singaporeans earn as compared to the other countries, Singaporeans also earn the lowest wages! The PAP government has refused to set a minimum wage to protect Singaporeans but the $1,000 they are finally willing to give to cleaners can be seen as a de facto minimum wage. But even then, this is only $1,000.

When you compare this to other countries with a similar level of wealth and cost of living, the lowest wage workers in Norway earn $5,000 and those in Switzerland and Australia earn $3,000 – the difference as compared to Singapore is massive! If Norwegians, Swiss and Australians need to earn $3,000 to $5,000 to be able to survive on their high cost of living, how can Singaporeans expect to be able to survive on only $1,000 for a similarly high cost of living?


Chart: Minimum wage statisticsEurope’s Massive Minimum Wage Disparity, European Minimum Wage: A Nordic OutlookComparative Wages in Selected Countries, National Minimum Wage Orders, The Minimum Wage,

What this also means is that because things are so expensive in Singapore (one of the most expensive) and Singaporeans earn one of the lowest wages, we thus also have one of the lowest consumption expenditure.


In a study published by the World Bank earlier this year, it was shown that countries with higher minimum wages also have higher productivity.

Relation between Minimum Wage and Productivity

Indeed, because Singapore has the lowest wages paid to low-wage workers, Singapore also has one of the lowest productivity among the top 20 advanced economies.


And along with it, Singaporeans also have to work the longest hours in the world, which together with the lowest wages, contribute to one of the lowest productivity levels.


It has also been shown by the Luxembourg Income Study that the higher the median income, the happier people will be.

Higher Median Income correlates with Higher Share of Happiness

Again, also because Singapore has one of the lowest median income, this squeeze has led to Singaporeans becoming one of the most unhappy people in the world.

Singapore One Of the Most Unhappiest Countries In The World

But do you know that even though PAP forces Singaporeans to earn low wages and work long hours, when it comes to their own salaries, it is a completely different story?

Indeed, we do have a First World economy, First World costs and First World salaries! But only PAP gets to have their cake and eat it – but why not, they control everything. And you have allowed them.

You already know that the PAP ministers earn the highest salaries in the world among their peers. But do you know that among the CEOs in the advanced economies, the executives in Singapore are also paid the highest?


In fact, a report earlier this year also revealed that the executives in Singapore are the highest paid in Asia, even though Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among the Asian advanced economies.

Singapore Has Highest-Paid Business Executives in Asia

It was reported that, “Pay levels there at senior management (in Singapore) outstrip those of Japan and, more so, Hong Kong. Indeed, across the board, remuneration levels in Singapore exceed those of Hong Kong – by 14% at senior executive level, and 34% for top management.”

And in another report by The Economist earlier this year, Singapore was ranked 5th on the crony capitalism index, as being the 5th easiest place in the world for a person to get rich if they are politically-connected.


Now, the official reason given to explain how executives are paid such high salaries in Singapore is because “Growth in private banking in Singapore and its development – or regeneration – as a regional hub for international companies has drawn a lot of high-level talent to the city and that’s reflected in the C-suite compensation.”

Take a look at the 5 highest paid CEOs in Singapore last year.

Highest Paid CEOs in Singapore in 2013

The banking families in Singapore happen to have a very long history in Singapore that spans generations. They are also the highest paid in Singapore.


Today, Singapore has the widest gap between the richest 20% and the poorest 20% among the advanced economies. This has resulted in disasterous social effects, as I have written.

How much richer are the richest 20% than the poorest 20%

Now, if Singapore has such a high GDP per capita, then where did it all go? Why are our wages still so low, when PAP has unilaterally increases prices and the cost of living in Singapore to being the highest in the world?

Of course, on their highest salaries in the world, it is very easy for them to pay for everything that they need and want, but this has resulted in the rest of Singaporeans having very low consumption expenditure because we simply cannot afford to even just pay for what we need!

The question you have to ask yourself is – is it sustainable for the PAP to keep pushing prices and their own salaries upwards but depress the wages of Singaporeans? – is it sustainable for our country, for our economy and most importantly, can our society still be held together at the rate the gap is dividing our country and people?

It is such a pity that because the PAP makes us believe that our worth is of so little value, that even our graduates have very low expectations of how much they should be paid.

Global Cost of Talent Index cropped

With the cost of living that PAP has driven Singapore to, the minimum wage in Singapore should be at least $3,000 – all Singaporeans should be paid at least $3,000.

It is wrong for the PAP to only want to retain high salaries for themselves and pay themselves so exorbitantly but would make Singaporeans feel less worthy, so that they can pay us low wages. As can be seen here, for the cost of living in Singapore, Singaporeans are severely underpaid – we are being cheated of our wages.

A (new) government has to either introduce a minimum wage upwards to $3,000 in order to allow Singaporeans to be able to survive with the current cost of living or to reduce prices (or a reversal of PAP’s artificial inflation via their government-linked companies) so that with the current wages, Singaporeans would still be able to manage.

For the Future of Singapore, the PAP Has to Go

To me, the choice is clear. We have to stop the PAP in their tracks. They have hijacked government for their own devices. And Singaporeans are being cheated of our wages, but most importantly, our livelihoods. Most Singaporeans don’t want to live an extravagant life. But we want to be able to survive, and to live properly. It is clear that the PAP does not even want to let Singaporeans have that.

The most expensive place to live in, in the world, but the lowest wages, not even a minimum wage and the lowest consumption. Yet, they pay themselves the highest salaries so that they can still afford their own standard of living that they want and have created for themselves in Singapore.

What we want are not a few people who convert Singapore into their own playground, while the rest of us become their toys. Lee Kuan Yew had once said, “You know, the cure for all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government… your jobs will be in peril, your security will be at risk and our women will become maids in other people’s countries, foreign workers.”

What difference does it make when Singaporeans have become maids and foreign workers in our own country? Is this then due to an incompetent government which can even cause Singaporeans to lose our sense of home? Or is this due to a government which wants to enrich itself, at the expense of its people whom it has so heavily devalued?

Come down to the #ReturnOurCPF 4 protest on 27 September 2014 at 4pm at Hong Lim Park. You can join the Facebook event page here.

#ReturnOurCPF 4 Poster 2 final

#ReturnOurCPF 4 Poster 2@chinese final

Return Our CPF 4 Poster 2


  1. Ken

    Tackle the root of the problem. Minimum wage is just a superficial stop-gap solution that does not address the situation whereby people are unfairly paid for the work they put in. The solution is presented as so:

    1) Vote for a government that is able to grow the economy without growing the population
    2) Vote for a government that will dismantle its control over the union
    3) Vote for a government that puts Singaporeans ahead of foreigners.
    4) Vote for a government that is transparent with employment statics, i.e. no lumping of PR with Singaporean
    5) Vote for a government that is honest with its data, i.e no adjustment to past Gini coefficient figures
    6) Vote for a government that is able to solve the ageing issue without importing more foreigners

    Hey, if you can spot a pattern, the solution is obvious: VOTE OUT THE PAP.

    • Xmen

      There have been many studies that show that increase in productivity follows the increase in minimum wage. Trust me, the economy will turn out just fine with a minimum wage, especially when the country is still importing labor.

      • Ken

        Naturally, the market will dictate what is the minimum wage. The current distortion is caused by PAP’s excessive reliance on cheap foreign import from ultra cheap third world nation and a puppet labour union. Trust me, we will get more than the minimum by installing a new pro-Singaporean government. The minimum wage arugment is cosmetic and does not tackle the real issue at hand.

  2. urged PM LEE step down

    why Singaporeans are so poorer ?
    because all our hard earned money given to Lee family occupied

    making Lee family to the most richest family . all our money taken away by one family . a Shit Family .

    you see what Lee Hsien Loong ‘s wearing, what people wearing ? Lee may step Down by the trend. don’t give him time accumulated wealth, because just listen of what he said., not human, we must urge him go back home and experience a normal life.

    i am thinking, WHO will be our new PM ?
    is it very possible , Roy ! & Xmen !

    As long as put the interests of the people first, will be eligible to be our new prime minister.

    • Xmen

      The first step towards a better government is to have a two (or more) competing political parties in the government. No single party should ever have super majority control and absolute power (and Singapore has one for 49 years counting!)

      Only through competition will the government focus on improving people’s well being. Please don’t buy into the hogwash that Singapore is too small to support more than 1 political party in the government.

      Once you have 2 or more parties in the government, you and your children’s well being will improve over time.

      Roy has been doing a great job in pointing out the (obvious) issues facing the people. Obviously these issues are not obvious from reading the MSM.

  3. Lee Hsien Loong

    what ?
    so low Labor cost ?
    the lowest wage in the World ?
    I don’t care !!!

    you dare to question my top wage in the World ?
    I sue you !

    what ?
    The gap of rich and poor ?
    my father doesn’t care, why shall I care ?
    I never care !!!

    What ?
    you dare to urge me step down ?
    Never !
    it will Never happened !

    what !
    People insist protest ?
    I arrest you !
    I prison you ?
    I deported you !

    What ?
    take over my PM office ?
    No way !
    I have divert all money already.

    my first son inherit my first 10 million
    my daughter inherit my second 10 million
    my 3rd son inherit my 3rd 10 million
    my 4th son inherit my 4th 10 million

    what ?
    report me to newspaper ?
    I’ve bought all the media of Singapore !

    what ?
    telephone and electricity are expensive ?
    I’ve bought all the share of telephone and electricity.

    What ?
    you ask me why ?
    Singapore is mine !
    All your money if mine !
    The whole World asset is mine !

  4. 戳穿西洋镜

    2014年09月22日 2038




    ——————————————————————– ???????????????????????
    -------- 不说谎啦, 政府和淡马锡是一个老板,老公和老婆之间, 还有什么不同 ?


    ----------一个国家管钱的,和官权的, 应该是2个不同家族里的人。避免涉嫌。 但是李显龙家族非涉嫌不可,自己即是政府, 又与他老婆并排作为是淡马锡企业股东的巨头,已经涉嫌为自己家人获利。 在廉政法规范围内,是不被允许的。建议审计淡马锡。给他们一个清白。反之,不审计, 他们夫妻永远不清白。




    为什么从来不向国人报告 ,李家夫妻到底有什么难隐之处呢 ?必须审计淡马锡, 给李家夫妻一个清白, 反之,他们永不清白。并涉嫌贪污.



    ---------- 这个狡猾的狐狸总统,竟然说,政府拥有的股份不多 ? 要操作 ? 淡马锡拿了公积金的钱发达, 在生日晚宴上应该首先答谢公积金的贡献才对,他们不要饮水思源,反而话音一转, 说钱不多了 ? 意思是钱被李显龙老婆赌输了吗 ? 最后一句讲要操作 ? hello ! 继续给他老婆操作吗 ? 她到底从中拿了多少利益 ? 既然是国有企业, 私底下改名私有企业 ? 企图很明显, 就是贪污 !

    必须审计淡马锡, 还给他们夫妻一个清白,给他们控告人民诽谤错了。 否则,永不清白。



    -------- 有这么多保姆,没必要害怕审计嘛 ? 让人民看到淡马锡新娘子的面容, 到底有什么鬼呢 ?

    张口竞争,闭口激烈, 不给老人争取基本福利, 你做总统有什么用 ? 羞耻 !

  5. Ivan Ho

    Evidence of good governance and consequently a good system is shown in the implementation of tools of controls and caps.
    What is critical here is balance to narrow the rich-poverty gap to create a better
    society for all which is all-inclusive else it is full of pretense, hypocrisy and
    To exercise balance and good control, the govt and corporations have to manage
    wages policy and costs of goods in tandem. It is unwise to have a situation where
    the well-paid CEO getting $9m/yr and his lowest-paid employee getting only $24k/
    yr. It is unwise if the CEO’s pay results in the increased cost of goods and living
    affecting the employees’ quality of life with meagre pay! If the govt can use the tool
    of control effectively in implementing minimum wage policy conscientiously then
    surely our overall happiness index will
    In the above scenario and situation, if the
    govt can implement caps in a balanced
    manner to narrow the income inequality and
    improve retirement savings of ordinary
    Singaporeans, then surely our overall
    happiness index will shoot thru’ the roof!
    Because of the PAP-govt’s failure to effectively use these tools in a balanced manner rather than adopting a pro-elitist approach it has caused our overall happiness
    index to remain depressively low!

  6. Si Yuan

    Imagine what happens if you tax the richest here as heavily as in Norway, so that you can elevate the poor. Will the rich stay in Singapore? If the rich go, what happens to Singapore wealth? Stay the same? Charts won’t get you out of this one.

    • Bystander

      singaporeans are a highly educated idiotic lot…never learn…best go to church and pray and let preachers fuk their minds…lol

    • Xmen

      Has the rich left Norway? Btw, Singapore has been losing its highly educated citizens in droves.

      Also, if the rich contributes nothing to a country, what is the point of having them? Singapore basically is a tax havens destination for many billionaires and millionaires who build no factories and hire nobody in the local economy.

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  8. teoenming

    Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Want Teo En Ming Dead

    Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong want Teo En Ming dead. Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong want Teo En Ming to die young. I am only 36 years old. I do not want to die young. I want to live to a hundred years old and beyond!!!

    Teo En Ming has filed an official complaint against the Singapore Government at the United Nations Human Rights Council Branch and the International Criminal Court. Read the letter here:

    Teo En Ming’s Open Letter (Plea for Medical Help/Assistance) to World Leaders dated 27 Aug 2010. Read the letter here:

    Mr. Teo En Ming (Zhang Enming)
    Singapore Citizen
    Republic of Singapore

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