Over the last few weeks, I have written a few articles for The Real Singapore, also after I received unverified threats to my family and stopped writing on this blog for a while.
I have compiled some of the key articles in this article here.
These articles will outline how the policies that the PAP has created have not helped Singaporeans, and how the opposition parties do have credible policies that can take care of and protect Singaporeans.
“The income inequality in Singapore is also the highest among the developed countries. The rich-poor gap in Singapore is also the highest.
Even though Mr Lee earns $2.2 million in a year, a cleaner can still only earn $1,000 a month. It will take nearly 300 years for a cleaner to earn the total of what Mr Lee can earn.
In recent times, the Singapore government has also increased their own salaries in 1994, 2000, 2004 and 2007 and each time, the income inequality rose with it, followed by the rich getting richer as the share of income that goes to them also increased.
Mr Lee said that ministers should be treated “fairly and equally” but this comes at the expense of Singaporeans who are treated unequally.
However, the question has been often asked, if we need to pay office-holders such extravagant salaries to prevent them from being corrupt, then are they even “morally upright” and “trustworthy” people in the first place, as Mr Lee claimed?
Then, are they truly the “right people for the right jobs”?”
“The problem is compounded when the rich in Singapore, the government among them, earns the highest salaries among the developed countries and one of the highest in the world, while ordinary Singaporeans fall on the other end of the spectrum and earn one of the lowest.
This has caused the rich-poor gap in Singapore to be the widest among the developed countries. So is the income inequality and poverty rate the highest.
The situation has become very unhealthy in Singapore where the purchasing power in Singapore is now the lowest among the developed countries and on par with even India, even as Singapore has become the most expensive city in the world.
The government has shown bravado every time it wants to increase the salaries of the ministers but when it comes to increasing the wages of Singaporeans, the government has come out with every excuse, such as having to peg wage growth to productivity growth. But where productivity was zero last year and negative the year before, this means that the wages of Singaporeans are put at risk.
It is high time the government stops making excuses and take definitive and bold action to increase the wages of Singaporeans, especially for the low-income, by imposing a minimum wage.
Where the government controls an estimated 60 percent of the economy and where the government has been able to generate high profits in the companies they own at the expense of the wages of the workers, it is time to question the government’s role in these businesses. Where their priorities have swung towards protecting businesses and their profits, this has resulted in a conflict of interest where the government has reneged on its responsibility on workers and Singaporeans.”
“However, not only has the income inequality in Singapore grown to become the worst among the developed countries, it has also become one of the highest in the world.
Trickle-down economics never happened. In fact, the rich-poor gap in Singapore is now the widest among the developed countries. The rich in Singapore are the highest-paid among these countries while Singaporeans earn one of the lowest wages.
Meanwhile, the PAP ministers continue to pay themselves the highest salaries in the world and have fought consistently to raise their own salaries. However, they have never taken the effort to do the same for Singaporeans.
Today, Singaporeans are forced to accept one of the lowest wages among the developed countries in a country where the cost of living has become the highest in the world.
The PAP government has reneged on its promise to Singaporeans to increase wages and has failed Singaporeans.”
“However, all these promises have not been fulfilled.
Latest statistics show that BTO flats are still priced higher than four times the median salaries of Singaporeans.
For three room flats, prices are 4.57 times that of applicants’ annual salaries.
This is even higher for four- and five-room flats.
Prices of four-room flats are 5.26 times that of annual salaries and for five-room flats, this is 5.36 times.
But last year, the price ratio was already about 5.5 times that of annual salaries, which means that things have remained largely unchanged.
Also, Mr Khaw promised that flat prices will be reduced to four times that of annual salaries but the prices are still way above the mark.
Not only that, the government has also broken its other promise of increasing the number of flats available for Singaporeans.
In October, the government announced that it will be reducing the housing supply next year.
Mr Khaw said that the number of BTO flats to be launched next year will be reduced by 25 percent, from 22,400 units this year to 16,000 units next year.
But already, the 22,400 units launched this year is already lower than last year, by 10 percent.
This is very different from the promise that Mr Khaw had made last year.
He said that there would be 50,000 units launched this year, 54,000 next year and 63,000 in 2016.
This means that the government has launched less than half the number of flats that it had promised that they would launch this year, and for next year, it would launch less than 30 percent of what it promised.”
“However, in Singapore, the government continues to spend the lowest in education and healthcare, as a percentage of GDP, as compared to the other developed countries.
The Singapore government also spends the lowest, as a percentage of GDP, for social protection.
Not only that, the government has refused to define a poverty line and there is still no minimum wage in Singapore. A study by a National University of Singapore economist Tilak Abeysinghe also showed that the poorest 30 percent of Singaporean households have to spend 105 percent to 151 percent of their incomes.
In short, the PAP’s “trick-down” economics do not work.
Not only that, the richest 1 percent in Singapore have 14 percent of the share of income in Singapore while the richest 10 percent has 42 percent of the share of income, leaving the rest of the population to scramble for what is left.
The Singapore prime minister belongs to the top 0.1 percent in Singapore. It has also been shown that every time the People’s Action Party (PAP) increased their own ministerial salaries in Singapore, the income inequality exacerbates as well.
If so, it looks like the problem of income inequality in Singapore is directly created by the PAP?
However, where the OECD and even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have called for redistributive policies to reduce income inequality but where the PAP is concerned about increasing their own salaries and thereby increasing income inequality, will they be interested in reducing income inequality in Singapore and protecting Singaporeans?
Moreover, the PAP has stridently refused to increase public spending for social protection and for education and healthcare.”
“But where it is clear that the PAP government is the one which has “failed” and which is not in touch with the “realities” of Singaporeans, then does the PAP government has the right to criticise its opponents when it is the PAP government which is more deserving of shame?
Indeed, for a government and political party – PAP – which continues to turn a blind eye to the needs of Singaporeans and continues to resist truly helping Singaporeans, while all the time criticising Singaporeans for being ungrateful, it is the PAP government which has to reflect and “repent”.
“Buy within your means,” Mr Tan said of Singaporeans looking to buy a flat.
But perhaps it is more apt to tell the PAP to live within their means and stop extorting money from Singaporeans to pay their own unjustified high salaries, when they cannot even solve the most basic of problems in Singapore.”
“The irony is that even as Singaporeans contribute the highest proportion of their wages into the CPF, the CPF only makes up, up to 7 percent of the main sources of retirement income of the elderly in Singapore.
As such, Singaporeans are already living on very little in retirement.
What else does Mr Lee want Singaporeans to do? To live on nothing?
Essentially, Mr Lee leaves Singaporeans with no choice but to work longer and for many, for the rest of their lives.
The basic solutions to enhancing the adequacy of Singaporeans’ retirement is to increase wages and the CPF interest rates but it is clear that the government does not want to do these because these will entail the government having to spend to give the money back to Singaporeans.
Instead, the government has chosen options that would place the burden on Singaporeans instead, such as forcing Singaporeans to work longer and to carve out more of their wages into the CPF.
If so, the government is reneging on its responsibility by making Singaporeans deal with a problem the government created in the first place. By depressing the wages of Singaporeans and taking away the CPF interest rates of Singaporeans, the government is the one which is shortchanging Singaporeans of their retirement funds.”
“Where the PAP of the past has brought Singapore from Third World to First World in the first thirty years of Singapore, the same can no longer be said of Singapore over the past 10 to 20 years which has since lost its bearings.
On the contrary, under Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s rule, Singapore might just very well see the end of its economic miracle, as it goes back from First World to the Third World, where the lives of the majority of Singaporeans become hard while only a few at the top are rich enough to live lavishly, similar to how India is.
But then, even in India, where the poor is taken care of free healthcare, free education and even free housing, the poor in Singapore pales in comparison where if the poor cannot make ends meet, they will have to shoulder the blame by themselves, this where Singapore has supposedly become a rich enough country which can take care of its own citizens.
The future of Singapore under Mr Lee does not seem bright but the effects of poor governance has not yet take root and until it has or until the realisation that the side effects might soon come, Singaporeans might continue to hold on dearly to a First World image until it starts tearing at the seams.”
“Indeed, the next general election has been considered as the make-or-break election by many Singaporeans.
At the last election, the constituencies which did not seen their electoral boundaries change due to gerrymandering by the PAP, saw their vote share increase by an average of 10 percent. The same increase of 10 percent was seen in the election prior.
If this momentum is kept up, it is expected that the opposition parties would be able to see another 10 percent swing in favour of them at the next election.
If so, the next general election will indeed be a very tight race, with a 50-50 chance that the PAP could be unseated or that the opposition could stand a real chance to form the next government, to bring a new hope to Singapore and Singaporeans.”
“The other political parties present themselves as formidable opponents to the PAP and it is obvious that the PAP sees them as threats, with Mr Lee bellowing against them so blatantly.
Indeed, the next GE is seen by many observers as a make a break situation for Singapore, which also explains why the PAP is now kept on its toes – it knows that it has postponed the much needed changes for Singapore and is finally worried that its delay in resolving the issues in Singapore is now going to cost it votes.
Even in the likely situation that this might happen, Singaporeans can take heart that the other parties have already armed themselves with analysis to improve the lives of Singaporeans when they take over.”
“Mr Lee had said, “The Opposition does not see any duty to bring people together, solve problems and plan for the future.
“And there’s no vision because, because they say they cannot form the government, so no need for vision!”
“This is untrue,” the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) said.
“The SDP published Dare To Change: An Alternative Vision for Singapore in 1994,” it said.
“Dr Chee had also recently described a new vision for Singapore in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal.
“(But) Mr Lee ignores these and claims that the opposition has not articulated one.”
This view is echoed by the NSP.
“NSP is of the view that it has a public duty to call out discrepancies and unevenness in the application of ministerial powers and discretions.
“It is in the interest of citizens for political appointment holders to be always mindful of not exceeding the boundaries of their authority and powers.”
Reform therefore concluded: “This could only lead any reasonable person to ask why Lee Hsien Loong is so scared of accountability?
“Is it because he and his team do not want Singaporeans to know what has happened to their reserves? Is it because he wants us to continue to accept the sham of a national Budget in which year after year apparently $30 billion of surpluses are concealed from the people?”
Finally, in a response to the Minister for Culture Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, the Worker’s Party Chairman Sylvia Lim said, “I thank the PAP ministers for repeatedly reminding Singaporeans of the issues that are close to our heart.”
WP also said that it is aboveboard and avails itself to checks from Singaporeans.
“The public can expect that the PAP will be the first to hold WP to account.”
So, “yes the next GE is deadly serious for true blue Singaporeans,” SingFirst said.
And “until we see the end of a dominant party Parliament, the prospect of ministerial powers being mis-applied to serve the longevity of the incumbent, remains,” NSP’s Ms Chong-Aruldoss restated.
Otherwise, “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied,” Ms Chong-Aruldoss said.
And the same can be said for Singapore and Singaporeans.”