Today is one year since I was sued for defamation by the Singapore prime minister.
Since then, the government admitted for the first time that it has been taking Singaporeans’ CPF retirement funds to invest in the GIC. Previously, the government has kept denying this.
Also, more and more has been revealed. The government claims that Temasek does not invest our CPF but it has been found that the government had taken our CPF to fund the construction of infrastructure then gave them to Temasek to manage.
After I trawled through the government websites to dig up these evidence, I was told to take down two articles I wrote about these and the government then changed and deleted the information on these websites.
We now know that the prime minister, deputy prime ministers and several ministers and ex-ministers also sit on the board of the GIC but the GIC still claim that the government does not interfere in it and the government still claims likewise. But how can that be possible when they are run by the same people?
In the past, many Singaporeans would cry out about the CPF. Indeed, Singaporeans have one of the least adequate retirement funds in the world and we also have the lowest returns on our retirement funds in the world.
However, the GIC and Temasek Holdings which take our CPF to earn are the among the top 11 richest sovereign wealth funds in the world. We still do not know how much their management pay themselves using our CPF monies, because there are no full reports from the GIC and Temasek Holdings.
We continue to demand that the PAP government be transparent and accountable to Singaporeans but the PAP has simply ignored Singaporeans. Once, Lee Hsien Loong also told The Telegraph newspaper that the funds are accountable to the government. But who is the government accountable to? He said that he does not believe that transparency is everything.
But if transparency is not everything, then what is? Today, many elderly Singaporeans cannot retire because they simply cannot earn enough to do so. Not only that, several academics and even government officials have also estimated that 30% of Singaporeans are living in poverty today, which means that a third of Singaporeans cannot even earn enough to pay for basic necessities.
Last year, Khaw Boon Wan finally admitted that the government controls the construction of the HDB flats. He also admitted that the PAP fixes the prices of the flats.
Today, we know that of the money that Singaporeans pay into the CPF, as much as three quarters are spent having to pay for the flat mortgages. The PAP claims that the flats are affordable. Why then are Singaporeans paying for the most expensive public housing in the world? The PAP Old Guards wanted to build truly cheap flats so that Singaporeans can have a home. But the current PAP has instead turned the flats into money making machines for themselves.
Yet, the PAP would dare claim that it is losing billions by building the HDB flats. But we have found out instead that the government has not declared $20 to $30 billion in surplus every year to Singaporeans, because of the money it earns from the land. And then, the PAP makes Singaporeans pay 60% of the flat prices into land, even though we will not get to own the land and even though the PAP has bought the land very cheaply from Singaporeans in the 1960s and 1970s. This is a lot of money that the PAP is earning from us.
Indeed, the tens of billions in surplus that the PAP earns from Singaporeans every year would enable Singaporeans to have free healthcare and education, all the way from childcare to university, and still have a lot to save. However, the PAP refuses to do so. Instead, it does not even declare this surplus that it has earned from Singaporeans.
Today, Singaporeans are made to pay for one of the most expensive university tuition fees in the world, if not the most expensive. We are also made to pay possibly the most expensive childcare fees in the world. Yet, the PAP would not take care of our own children, but would spend $400 million every year to give out free scholarships to foreign students. And then, Singaporeans are made to pay $400 million to study in our own universities. The money that the PAP gives to foreigners will be able to educate our children. But the PAP does not want to take care of Singaporeans.
Not only that, the PAP also spends the lowest on healthcare among the developed countries, so much so that Singaporeans also have to pay the most out of our own pocket to pay for healthcare, in the world. What’s the point of having nice-looking hospitals when many Singaporeans simply cannot afford to go there and have to sell their homes to pay for their medical bills or even choose to die?
But even so, the PAP and their cronies keep telling Singaporeans to live within our means. For goodness sake, Singaporeans are already trying their darnest to live within our means. But how else does the PAP expect Singaporeans to do so, when the PAP would not even let Singaporeans earn enough to even live?
Today, Singaporeans earn one of the lowest wages among the highest-income countries. The poorest in Singapore also earn the lowest among these countries. However, the PAP would pay themselves the highest salaries in the world. It wants to earn high salaries, so it asks Singaporeans to foot the bill. And to do so, it claims that this is to prevent corruption and to have capable leaders.
But what a fluke. Today, Singaporeans are seeing the worst leaders we have ever seen since independence. The trains have been breaking down for many years now and the walls in new HDB flats crack as soon as they are built. The PAP’s only solution to grow the economy is to depress wages and import cheap substitution labour, and allow Singaporeans to languish, as we are forced to accept depressed wages and where many of our degree holders are forced to lose their jobs and have to compete with people who have degrees from degree mills. And even then, the PAP would still defend these degrees and say it is willing to overlook them.
This is the PAP. This is the capability that they want us to pay for them. And yet, they want us to keep letting them to run the country. Sure, that is if we want to continue to let them run the country to the ground.
It is clear to most Singaporeans by now that all the PAP care about is money and profits for themselves. The Economist has also ranked Singapore as 5th on the crony capitalism index, which means that Singapore is the 5th easiest place in the world for the rich to get rich, if they are affiliated to the government. Indeed, the rich in Singapore has gotten richer – the share of income that goes to the richest 10% in Singapore has grown from 30% in 1995 to 42% in 2011. The richest 10% most probably owns half of the income in Singapore today.
However, the rich-poor gap has only kept growing bigger and bigger. Today, Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries and Singapore also has the highest poverty rate among the developed countries.
And this has resulted in many social problems. Because Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries, this has resulted in Singapore having the highest rate of prisoners, after the United States. We also have the lowest level of trust, after Portugal. Singapore also has one of the lowest social mobilities among the developed countries.
The PAP keeps wanting to psycho Singaporeans to make believe to us that it is taking care of Singaporeans. But it has been revealed that the PAP spends the least among the developed countries on social protection, and on healthcare and education, for Singaporeans.
In fact, Singapore is one of very few countries in the world which still do not a minimum wage and we are still one of very few countries in the world which still do not have unemployment protection for Singaporeans who have lost their jobs.
But the PAP would let themselves and the rich among them earn higher and higher incomes. In fact, the PAP reduced income tax over the years so that it can allow itself and the rich with it to pay the lowest tax among the developed countries, and one of the lowest in the world. Yet, the PAP then forced Singaporeans to pay the highest social contribution rate in the world, into the CPF.
The PAP wants to let itself keep its own income while making Singaporeans lose ours.
The PAP keeps claiming that the CPF is not tax and should not be lumped together with tax. But do you know that the PAP gives Singaporeans the lowest returns on our CPF, among retirement funds in the world, so much so that if we have $200,000 inside our CPF, there is at least another $100,000 that the PAP should have returned to us but which they have taken to earn instead – Singaporeans are being robbed of as much as half of our CPF which is rightfully ours. The interest that the PAP has taken to earn and not returned is known as implicit tax. The PAP is making Singaporeans pay implicit tax on our CPF.
Not only that, the PAP fixes the housing prices and keeps increasing the prices, thus forcing Singaporeans to lose even more of our CPF towards buying them. The PAP has also made Singaporeans pay more than $70 billion into the Medisave but only allow Singaporeans to use less than 1.5% of it every year. And when Singaporeans grow old, the PAP takes the rest of our Medisave to put inside MediShield. In short, the PAP has found many different ways to lock up our CPF, so that they can earn for themselves. And this is not forgetting the CPF Minimum Sum (now known as the Full Retirement Sum) which the PAP keeps increasing to lock even more of Singaporeans’ CPF inside.
In short, the PAP is perhaps right to say the CPF is not tax. It is a goldmine for the PAP. Your money and my money is being taken by the PAP to earn heaps of money for itself. Meanwhile, the PAP forces Singaporeans to work the longest hours in the world, and earn one of the lowest wages among the highest-income countries, and force Singaporeans to struggle and fight among ourselves, in order to survive. But for the PAP and the rich among them, Singapore becomes their playground as the rest of us languish beneath them.
This, my friends, is what some of you had voted for. This is what we have allowed to control us and take advantage of us. We allow the PAP to become our masters and us their slaves.
A study funded by NASA showed that all unequal societies in the world have all collapsed in history, because as the elites grew richer and more arrogant, they started enriching themselves and started to become detached from the common people. They become out-of-touch, as the PAP has today. Then as the rest of the population suffer and fight among themselves for the leftovers, the elites remain oblivious to the problems until the problems become so big that it is too late, and the whole society collapses.
This is what Singapore is going through today. Many Singaporeans keep quiet and pretend that everything is fine. We choose to keep our heads down and hope that if we don’t think about these things, they will all go away. They will not.
In fact, if we don’t do anything about it today, it will be your children and their children who will suffer tomorrow.
So, my friends the question to you is, are you willing to take a good look at what is happening around us today and admit that things are in need of dire change? If we wait any longer, we might not have much else to wait for by the time comes.
The opposition parties have proposed many policies. In fact, the academics and think tanks have also proposed many solutions that need to be implemented in Singapore real soon, in order for us to turn Singapore around. However, the PAP refuses to do so. The PAP refuses to define a poverty line, implement minimum wage, reduce rents, reduce their own salaries and increase subsidies for healthcare, education and retirement so as to kickstart domestic consumption and the economy – these are the most basic solutions that need to happen in Singapore soon but the PAP refuses to implement them.
My friends, if we want our families, our children and our future to be protected, there is only one solution. We need to vote the PAP out.
We need to vote in the opposition parties to form a new government. We need a new government that will be willing to take care of and protect Singaporeans.
Only then will Singapore continue to have a chance. Only then will we continue to have a new lease of life.
The answer is clear. But it is up to us to be willing to see what is going on in Singapore and for us to be willing to see the PAP for what it is.
We no longer have a government in Singapore. The PAP is not a government. It is a bunch of businessmen who only have their own self-interests at heart. They do not care for Singapore and will not care for Singaporeans.
The PAP Old Guard cared for Singapore. Under their leadership, in the first 20 years of Singapore, wages went up, the CPF interest rates went up and income inequality went down. Singapore was becoming a better place. We were indeed moving from the Third World to the First.
However, under the current PAP, Singapore is already moving backwards, from the First World back into the Third World.
So, my friends, it is no longer the time for us to pretend and put our heads in the sand. It is time for us to look up and look to the future. It is time for us to face up and look at the possibilities that stand in front of us.
For our country and our children’s future, there can only be one answer. This current bunch of PAP does not care for Singaporeans and do not have our interests at heart. It is time to stop hoping that they will do anything for Singaporeans. We waited for 30 years. They have made used of us for 30 years.
This coming general election, let us finally stand on our two feet. Let us finally put our feet down and decide once and for all that we want to protect ourselves and that we want to do what is right for ourselves. Let us fight for our future and let us give our children a hope and a dream to look forward to.
It is time we take control of our own country. It is time we stop letting someone else take over our country and leave us in the dust. No, we will take back our country. We will own our country.
50 years ago, our forefathers fought for the independence of our country.
Today, as Singapore goes into the 50th anniversary of our country, we will renew their fight and we will take back our country.
We will renew the fight for independence and regain our lives back.
For ourselves, our own future, our families and our children, it is time we stand up and we start anew, as a promise to ourselves and as a respect to our forefathers, to let our country regain the hope that it once was, and start ourselves in a new journey for our country, and for ourselves.
It is time, my friends. It is time we take a stand.
My next hearing will be held from 1 to 3 July to determine how much I would need to pay the prime minister in damages.