[Video] How Singapore’s Growing Income Inequality is Detrimental to Our Country’s Future

Last Saturday, I gave a talk on the income inequality in Singapore. I shared how the income inequality in Singapore was actually going down in the first 20 years of Singapore, under the Old Guards. However, from the mid-1990s onwards, income inequality started to clearly shoot up.

Income inequality in Singapore has occurred because of the low wages and highest social security CPF contribution rate in the world that Singaporeans have to pay on one end, but the highest salaries and lowest taxes that the high-income earners get among the developed countries, on the other end. On top of that, the PAP government spends the least on social protection expenditure on Singaporeans, yet expect Singaporeans to pay the most out of our own pockets for these basic necessities, such as healthcare, education and retirement, but also make us pay high indirect taxes and also earn high profits for themselves. As a result of the low government expenditure on social protection, this has resulted in social problems such as Singaporeans becoming more self-centred and less trusting. The prisoner rate in Singapore is also the second highest among the developed countries and Singapore also has one of the lowest social mobilities. Singaporeans also have to thus work the longest hours in the world so as to be able to make ends meet.

The high income inequality has also resulted in slower economic growth in Singapore.

The income inequality in Singapore really started being exacerbated from the mid-1980s, when Lee Kuan Yew got Rothschild in to advice on the GIC in 1981. Thereafter, the PAP changed its constitution in 1982 to remove the objective of abolishing income inequalities. In its place, the PAP wanted Singaporeans to be “self-reliant”. But from then on, it started creating policies such as the CPF Minimum Sum, Medisave and MediShield, as well as to decrease CPF interest rates, and increase public flat prices and university tuition fees, so as to make money off Singaporeans.

The income inequality in Singapore is thus single-handedly created by the PAP. This has resulted in more than half of Singaporeans being unhappy with the policies.

In the talk, I also show how the tax structure in Singapore benefits the rich, as well as the PAP among them, and how CPF is really a tax and is not your money.

Towards the end of the talk, I also list down some solutions that other top economists in the world have proposed, to reduce income inequality and promote economic growth, and thereby encourage domestic growth, and also what you can do to stop the scourge that the PAP has done to Singapore.

Watch the video for the talk, and the facts and statistics to see how the income inequality that the PAP has created has become detrimental to Singapore’s future. I spoke a bit too fast at the talk, my apologies!

Income Inequality Talk by Gilbert Goh

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44 comments

  1. William

    Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.

  2. Beyond Suspicion

    The Internal Security Act (ISA) formerly known as the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance and the Emergency Regulations has been in frequent and extensive use in Singapore since the time when she was still a British colony. The law authorises the government to arrest and imprison people for an indefinite period of time at the sole discretion of the executive. From the date of the enactment of the Emergency Regulations in 1948 till today, thousands have been imprisoned, many for as long as two decades. One prisoner, Dr Chia Thye Poh lost his freedom for 32 years.

    Released prisoners have largely remained silent and certainly no one, until Francis Seow, has written and published their ordeals. Emboldened by their silence, the People’s Action Party (PAP) government under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew used and continues to use this draconian law to put away political opponents. In later years, Lee extended its use to imprison anyone who criticised any of the PAP policies or laws. Francis Seow was one such victim.

    To Catch A Tartar, A Dissident in Lee Kuan Yew’s Prison by Francis T Seow (1994) is the first book to be published by a former ISA prisoner. It remains one of the few autobiographical accounts of political detentions in Singapore. Said Zahari’s Dark Clouds at Dawn, A Political Memoir (2001) and The Long Nightmare, My 17 Years as a Political Prisoner (2007) and Teo Soh Lung’s Beyond the Blue Gate, Recollections of a Political Prisoner (2010) being the other three.

    Francis Seow in his youthful years, faithfully served the Singapore government, first as a deputy public prosecutor and then as district judge and magistrate and finally as Solicitor-General. He was the most feared public prosecutor in the annals of Singapore’s legal history. His eloquence, skill, industry and ability to pursue a flimsy lead has earned him many victories, including a conviction for murder without the corpus delicti (the absence of direct evidence which in the case in question was the production of the dead body) when even his superior, the Senior Crown Counsel had instructed “no further action.” Seow in his own words “was involved in the prosecution of almost all the important cases, the causes celebres of the period. I had by this time acquired a formidable reputation as a prosecutor and was flattered to discover that I had become a legal paradigm who had unknowingly inspired a number of persons to pursue the profession of law.”

    Francis Seow was the trusted prosecutor of prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. He saved Lee when he led the commission of inquiry into the secondary IV Chinese Middle Schools examination boycott and made enemy of his witness, a powerful and wealthy businessman. He fought and won many battles for Lee who privately expressed appreciation for his enormous contributions. But when Seow decided that 16 years of sterling service to Singapore and the government was enough and that it was time to carve out for himself a new “niche of life”, his troubles began. He had intended to join force with David Marshall, the outstanding criminal lawyer, but he was warned by Lee that “Marshall and he (Lee) were on a collision course.” Reluctant to antagonise Lee, he struck out on his own.

    Fast forward, Seow was elected by an overwhelming majority to become the president of the Law Society of Singapore in 1986. The morale at the bar then was low. It needed a charismatic and bold leader to regain the prestige of its past. At the opening of the legal year (the annual ceremonial event that marked the return of High Court judges to work after their long vacation), Seow did away with the usual pleasantries. He reminisced, “I served notice of a sea change, that the bar demanded more respect from the bench, which together with the attorney general and his chambers, had been treating it in shoddy fashion. I had plans for a more assertive and caring bar, that the Law Society should be consulted on the selection and appointment of Supreme Court judges, and be heard on the appointment, promotions, and transfers of subordinate judicial and legal officers by the Legal Service Commission.”

    The election of Seow as the president of the Law Society of Singapore sent shock waves to Lee. While it marked the beginning of life for the Law Society, it was viewed ominously by Lee. The scrutiny of bills by lawyers were initially communicated to the government through its attorney general. In one instance a report which was totally ignored by the latter was made public. That led to the swift enactment of amendments to the Legal Profession Act. Its sole aim was to remove Seow as its president and its secondary aim, to control the Law Society. The setting up of a Select Committee which on the surface was to receive feedback from lawyers on the bill was merely a public exercise. Instead of members volunteering to give evidence at the hearing (which was the intent of the society), the entire council of the Law Society and members of a subcommittee were subpoenaed to attend the hearing. The state television was tasked by Lee to record the private proceedings and to broadcast selected portions at prime time.

    Lee had perhaps overestimated his skill as a lawyer politician and underestimated that of Seow. Seow described the hearing in these words: “… the script and screenplay for what can only be described as parliamentary burlesque were written, presented, produced, and directed by a versatile prime minister, with the virtuoso himself stealing the show as its consummate political actor. His genius so completely dominated the theatrical performance that the Speaker of Parliament as chairman and the other members of the Select Committee seemed as relevant to the proceedings as flies on a wall.” Of Lee’s style, he has this to say: “Listening to the line and nature of questioning and the order of witnesses called by the prime minister, I perceived that this crucifixion of Council members was being performed for my edification, if I should prove recalcitrant in the witness box. It had little to do with the merits of the proposed amendments.”

    According to Seow, the official feedback unit “had apparently reported unfavourable public reaction to the prime minister’s stellar bullying performance” at the televised hearing. In prison, Seow was told by the “ISD baby-sitters” that “you would not have created all this problem for yourself, if you had not confronted him in the Select Committee.”

    To Catch A Tartar is a book that tells of the deplorable depth at which a politician in a supposedly democratic country will dive. Power and the fear of losing that power has a cascading, terrifying effect. Unknowingly and knowingly, equals and subordinates were cowed and turned into sheep. It is an eye-opener for anyone who wants to know about one of the most outstanding leaders in Asia. Seow was an insider while in the service of the government. His understanding of how Lee works when he pursues “an enemy” is profound. When Seow became a victim himself in 1988, he experienced the full works of the ISD. Solicitor general or not, the ISD did not accord him any respect. They called him a “bloody fucking liar” time and time again. He was locked up in a dirty, filthy, tiny cell without proper ventilation for nearly 60 days. He was made to stand and was questioned for 16 continuous hours. He described the interrogation in the dark cold room:

    “As I turned round to confront him in the darkness, another person from behind him bawled into my right ear that I was “a fucking bloody liar,” whilst a chorus of voices accused me of being supported and financed by the Americans. It was not only bewildering but terrifying. I kept whirling around to identify and meet the thrust of those shrill, shrieking voice. I suddenly began to comprehend that they were not interested in hearing any answers. It was an awesome exercise to disorientate, malign, and humiliate me. It was the vaunted “psychological pressure and technique” of Brigadier General Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son and political heir of Prime Minister Harry Lee Kuan Yew. He should have been there to watch his maniacs in action! The word “neutralise” was etched indelibly in my memory. It was intended to frighten and neutralize me from entering opposition politics. And to serve no doubt as a warning to all the professionals whom I had tried to cultivate for the general election. Sha ji xia hou!”

    Seow’s vivid description of those who interrogated him is chilling. He was not physically assaulted but was sufficiently near to being assaulted. “He swung his hand at me. I braced myself for the blow. But his fist stopped short just inches from my face. He looked like a thug. He behaved like a thug. He was a thug. He repeated his threat. I remained silent. Amidst deafening obscenities, he swaggered up to me and repeatedly blew thick clouds of cigarette smoke into my face. He had shouted himself hoarse.”

    Seow’s description of his tormentors and their acts is colourful but not without a pungent sense of humour. He called them “the goon squad.” And he recalled the words of one of them:

    “You have been fixing up a lot of police officers in your time.” [He was alluding to the days when police disciplinary proceedings were referred to me as solicitor general for instructions.] “Now is the time for you to be fixed. You think you can pull strings; but I also can pull strings.”

    As he said that, he yanked loose the drawstring which held up my pyjama trousers. For some inexplicable reason, the law of gravity was suspended that night. My trousers did not drop to the floor. I kept very still. I was already bare from the waist up, and barefooted.”
    And he would poke fun at them too. He recalled: “At some point later in the inquisition, I became aware of a senior ranking person seated behind the desk, whose face in the lurid darkness was concealed by a black porcine-like mask whose snout-like contraption scrambled his voice whenever he spoke. He was undoubtedly someone known to me, but whose fearful shame of discovery of his identity and participation in this monstrous inquisition had driven him to seek anonymity behind that grotesque mask. This surely was the stuff of Orwellian fiction!”

    The reason for Seow’s arrest was that he was allegedly involved in a “Black Operation.” He was alleged to have been “made use of” by the Americans who encouraged him to stand as an opposition candidate in the general election of 1988. Innocent meetings with the First Secretary of the US Embassy and other officials were construed as a conspiracy to overthrow the insecure PAP government. It was a ridiculous, baseless charge but it was seriously acted out by the ISD. The ISD took away all his files on the pretext of checking if he had received money from a foreign power. Statements were recorded, amended and recorded again and again from Seow. How those statements led to the justification of his imprisonment, Seow notes: “The Oscars for production and direction, as well as screenplay and script, must unreservedly go to the ISD and its cast of talented officers. They had worked very hard at it. My contribution to craftsmanship was as minimal as it was unwilling….” Seow was incarcerated for 72 days, nearly 60 of those days were spent in a tiny, filthy cell.

    Seow’s release was not the end of his troubles. It could not end because he had decided to contest the general election. The files pertaining to his personal and office accounts which were earlier seized were released to his office while he was still in prison only to be delivered to the inland revenue authority at the same time. Seow was issued tax summonses without the usual grace period accorded to tax payers to answer queries. Seow’s Epilogue is the first detailed written indictment of the Singapore judicial system. His other book, Beyond Suspicion? The Singapore Judiciary created another colossal dent in the already weakened judicial system. The person who built Singapore has probably destroyed a system that is meant to guarantee the protection of her people.

    To Catch a Tartar is a must read for anyone interested in knowing the hidden side of Singapore. It is an excellent book, the best account of political detention in a city state I have read. It is a classic.

    • Norman Wee

      A good government is just like a good doctor. A good doctor would not hesitate to cut off any gangrane part, antibiotic the bad bacteria but leaves the good ones alone, to save the body…
      So in order to rule effectively and efficiently, do as a good doctor would… and save singapore…

      • mercury mockingjay

        And now pappies have become a BAD, greedy doctor. Letting the poor, but good die and letting in foreign “virus” with fake degrees. Time to kick the bad doctors out!

      • PAPer Tiger

        PAP is the growing tumour..they’ve done an ops at PM Lee’s and PM Goh’s prostate, now its time to target another PAP supporter’s shameless lan jiao

      • PAPer Tiger

        Many have despised ISD and ISA, like I did. They are the true minions working for PAPer terrorists.

        If ISA detain us and keep us from our civilian work, where will they get their pay from our taxes?

    • PAPer Tiger

      Thanks for sharing! Just checked–NLB has forbidden placement of “Dissident in Lee Kuan Yew’s Prison”.

      LKY. LCB

      • R

        “In later years, Lee extended its use to imprison anyone who criticised any of the PAP policies or laws. ” Thank you, PAPer Tiger to prove that it is not anyone that criticise any of PAP policies or law. What says you Beyond Suspicion? Haha

    • 李光耀 --- 他有父母亲吗?

      李光耀有父母亲生的吗?

      通过冷藏行动,他把年青男女关了多年,使他们的父母日思夜盼,苦苦等待不知何时他们的儿女能从牢狱释放,天天以眼泪洗面,寸肠万断。

      做为一国的领导者,没有恻隐之心,他配做国父吗?

      没有敬老之心,还配称有追随孔子的思想???

  3. inumeals

    Roy is only a heckler abeit a special one only after Lee Hsien loong sued himself. In this issue no one sues him so only William and I interested. The moment another minister sues him on this post then…
    So Roy, please thank Lee Hsien Loong by kissing his behind…

    • PAPer Tiger

      Old Lee vampire is down, time to continue the hunt for its brood and River Demoness (clue: someone who lost > $40 billion on singaporeans’ behalf)

  4. MonkeysInTheWoods

    Have you considered that problems and solutions are from the same source of white trash?

  5. Singapore Citizen Mr. Teo En Ming (Zhang Enming)

    Subtle Denial of Medical Treatment by the Singapore Government for Mr. Teo En Ming (Zhang Enming)

  6. inumeals

    #paper tigerJUNE 3, 2015 – 8:29 Am.
    Man of substance like Nelson Mandala went on to become President after decades in an island prison. Incarcerated Lim Chin Siong wanted to commit suicide in prison. I am just curious what PAPer Tiger would do in prison… Shit in his pants?

  7. Norman Wee

    #paper tigerJUNE 3, 2015 – 8:29 Am.
    Man of substance like Nelson Mandala went on to become President after decades in an island prison. Incarcerated Lim Chin Siong wanted to commit suicide in prison. I am just curious what PAPer Tiger would do in prison… Shit in his pants?

  8. THE SIXTEN

    录影里面的Roy, 脸色比去年更消瘦且苍白,要注意健康 !

    很聪明的一代新加坡人 !不愧为穷人家的孩子早当家 ! 用数据说话,非常有说服力。 如果总理薪水要超越美国总统的三倍,除非他的工作时间也是常人的三倍, 3 X 8 = 24 小时, 不要睡觉, 不要吃饭,这可能吗 ?

    既然不可能,最终, 新加坡执政者薪资将做改革。当用高薪水慰劳自己,意味着,把别人未来的福利一次性给自己提走啦。

    所以下届大选,其实就是一场争夺钱财之战 !

    PAP输, 国家的钱财保住啦。
    PAP赢, 不但钱财无影无踪,而且很多人很可能将被以各种莫须有的罪名抓起来, 破产或赔钱 , 尤其在身体或精神在半路上出状况的情形之下, 没有按照命令把车停下来,被警方当场击毙的法律将立刻生效。

  9. THE SIXTEN

    照片上的每个男士英俊潇洒 ,每个女士气质不凡。

    如果给男士们穿西装,打领带蝴蝶结,给女士们戴项链耳环, 佩名牌手提包,可以增加他们的自信心和在这个社会的竞争力。

    只要给他们机会, 为国效力, 他们绝不会输过当下的执政团队 !

    不过, 我们对在野党获胜没有信心,严重事件发生的时候, 没有一个在野党向 Roy 一样,敢于公然站出来提出批评 ?

    不知道他们是喜欢做沉默的羔羊, 还是很满意现状?

    既然没有意见,以后我们也不想多管闲事啦 ! 告别Roy的粉丝团队。

  10. THE SIXTEN

    Roy事件, 连外行人都看出 , 是遭到李总理团队的迫害案件。

    Amos 事件 ,是长期被压抑的反作用,物极必反的结果。

    枪击案事件 ,虽说和毒品有关,但是开枪杀人, 草菅人命 !

    以上一系列大是大非的案件,竟然没有一个反对党出来讲话 ?

    照片中的男男女女似乎都是无党派人士,他们似乎与参政无缘。但他们关心国家。

    为什么这样 ?只有极少人,对这样的政治局面非常失望 !

    • THE SIXTEN

      The poverty rate represents an average over the entire population and does not really tell us who is well-off and who is worse off.

      In a sense, Roy’s lawsuit case, enlightening Singaporeans ‘s thinking, at least they represent 30% Singaporeans.

      • Norman Wee

        Ever if you putting a dog or monkey or a woodbridge candidate, there will still be the 30%. Tell us what that proved. The 30% is but fence-sitters easily topple over like humpty dumpty…

  11. Norman Wee

    Francis Seow, a man highly regarded by Roy, once said if you want to find a perfect person go to heaven. Along the same vein, if you want income equally, please go to heaven. India, China just to name a few, have income inequality in the extreme and yet its as vibrate as ever. Roy has made a dire prediction of income inequality in Singapore and if it doesn’t happen, this is the scenerio :
    … there was a thick American book on social, economic, political issues in America selling for US$80 at one time. The author made a prediction that did not come true. I bought the book in Singapore for 30 cent!

  12. R

    “In the talk, I also show how the tax structure in Singapore benefits the rich, as well as the PAP among them, and how CPF is really a tax and is not your money.”
    rOY, if CPF is tax, how are PAP going to return the CPF at 55??? CPF is not our money, how are I going to ask for it?

    • Norman Wee

      R is stammering. Roy please go to the rescue like batman, spiderman or whatever since you are a heckler…

      • THE SIXTEN

        Hello, fellow Singaporean,

        bear in mind. besides Roy’s supporter, who keen on here ?
        that is LHL’s secretary !
        Norman Wee & R is one person,
        bitch and slut !

        her partner maybe is her mother,
        maybe tonight we spent time to her !

        we come back soon !

  13. THE SIXTEN

    最后,我们建议Roy去国家医院做一次全身检查,查每一根红细胞和白细胞的值数,如果有一根血管没有在标准值内, 需要向李總理學習, 及時向各界通报,避免遭遇和苹果电脑前总裁 Steve Jobs 一樣英年早逝的陷阱。

    不要太執著, 生氣會傷肝。

    我們很忙,以後不會到這裡看你啦。 保重吧 !新加坡人。

      • THE SIXTEN

        Hmm, you miss me ? no problem come on, let’s we talk seriously !

        1. what ‘s PAP ? — – has become bitch secretary’s brothel
        2. here no room for office prostitute !
        3. no answer, no talking, no discount, no Sympathy !

        it is late tonight, I have a gift to you tomorrow, ok !

  14. Norman Wee

    Roy, your supporters are lost for words, arent you going to their aids like a batman spiderman or what have we… Please don’t leave them in their verge…

      • Norman Wee

        By Roy’s convoluted logic, the hdb flats also don’t belong to as leasehold 99 years, sons not ours as they have to serve NS, money savings in banks not ours as when banks go bamkrupt… and many more…

  15. Norman Wee

    Roy, please take this as an advise from “Jack of all trades but master of none”. Of course You are smarter than many of your supporters and followers. Therefore please go to their aid when they are lost for words or stammering, otherwise they may end up in Woodbridge. And you could be labeled as Woodbridge Kong.

  16. THE SIXTEN

    office slut expect my voice ? I promise to do that !

    you bitch just grabbed my hand, we have an hundred lessons that teach …. No, what you are going to do is, you’re going to the Office and beg for- … take vows, make promises, get burden by commitments, to do no harm, to tell the …

    if not yet by gangster law, … I promise. you lead him sink, almost falling apart before you finally climbs back into the water … …. you’d rather be his whore than his wife. …. As a paying customer, I expect to get what I want. .. if PM could not thrown you bitch out of his office, all the clerks scurry back to their desks and the guards back away.

    then, PAP out !
    we come back soon !

  17. Pingback: [Charts] How Singapore’s Growing Income Inequality is Detrimental to Our Country’s Future | The Heart Truths
  18. Eddie

    Roy, I think your presentation come across quite well. Perhaps you may wish to use this low-key style on stage. No need to shout and get all worked up. It is the power of data and facts that count.

  19. Eddie

    Who is this guy called Norman Wee? He acts like a heckler. Just produce your counter-arguments and stop snipping at Roy.
    I clicked on Norman Wee and it lead to an advertisement. So, are you using this blog to lead unsuspecting people to an ad?

    Your pitiful snipping is so low-down, like those of a cockroach. If you continue to attack Roy, you will attract more “lightning strikes”

    Come clean…are you on the payroll of the government or the PAP? No one works for free and I am sure you are here for a reason/

  20. Norman Wee

    @Eddie are you sure you are internet literate? If you click on the link, the details about me is there. In Facebook my tel and email are there. In internet I am an open book, unlike you hiding cowardingly under Eddie.
    One more thing, you not only internet illiterate, you also can’t read. My counter arguments with evidence all over at Roy’s website.
    Are you sure you have read this post ? If yes can I give you a comprehension test?

  21. Pingback: Inequality: How PAP has Betrayed Singaporeans | The Heart Truths

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