Today, the PAP refuses to implement a minimum wage to protect workers in Singapore. In fact, Singapore is one of very few countries in the world which still does not have minimum wage.
As such, wages are so low in Singapore that low-wage workers earn the lowest wages among the highest-income countries even though Singapore has become the most expensive place in the world.
The PAP will not implement minimum wage to protect Singaporeans.
But the opposition will.
The Singapore People’s Party had once said: “As if it is not bad enough to have a nanny state government that grows at all cost, our government refuses to install a minimum wage for low wage workers. Yet, there is in effect a minimum wage for senior civil servants and political leaders – we are referring to the pay benchmarks of our leaders.”
Reform Party added: “Without a minimum wage the real incomes of the bottom 20% of households could continue to decline. In addition the effects of the PAP’s liberal foreign labour policy are being felt only by this group but by all those below the top 20-40% of households.”
Indeed, the Worker’s Party had said: “There will come a day when Singapore will achieve significant productivity growth and skill efficiency to move up the economic value chain. When that day arrives, can our low skill workers catch up and move up the value chain as well? Based on historical data, the wages of these workers may be left stagnant again as I have highlighted in this house before. When that happens, we may have to consider a minimum wage policy.”
SingFirst similarly said: “there must be priority for hiring Singaporeans, a fair wage including a reasonable minimum wage and non-discriminatory employment practices that take into account the CPF contributions of Singaporean workers and the military reservist liabilities of male Singaporeans. When these conditions are in place, Singaporean workers will cease to be losers compared to foreign workers, and will emerge as winners. SingFirst has plans to make this happen and will announce its proposals in due course.”
“A minimum wage policy will make businesses more judicious in employing cheap foreign labour and force them to upgrade the workforce. This has the effect of raising productivity,” said the Singapore Democratic Party.
The Singapore Democratic Party also said: “We must restore some sanity to our system. We need to inculcate a sense of morality. This is why we advocate the introduction of a minimum wage law to prevent such quite immoral exploitation of people like Mr Ramli. We will be campaigning on this policy in the coming general elections.”
Yes, the opposition will implement minimum wage to protect Singaporeans. The opposition wants the livelihoods of Singaporeans to get better.
Today, the PAP refuses to provide unemployment benefits to protect workers in Singapore. In fact, Singapore is one of very few countries in the world which still does not have unemployment benefits.
Today, many Singaporeans have lost their jobs and have great difficulty making ends meet. However, not only does the PAP not want to provide unemployment benefits, it still wants unemployed Singaporeans to pay for their own health, education and retirement needs, so much so that many Singaporeans are made to struggle with their lives.
The PAP will not provide unemployment benefits to protect Singaporeans.
But the opposition will.
The opposition have said that they will provide a comprehensive safety net to protect the lives of Singaporeans, so that we can continue to live with peace of mind.
With unemployment benefits, Singaporeans will not have to worry about not having enough to survive on. Singaporeans will also be able to look for a job, knowing that their basic needs are taken care of.
Today, the PAP spends the least on healthcare for Singaporeans, among the developed countries. In fact, Singaporeans have to pay the most out of our own pockets to pay for healthcare in the world, after Switzerland. This is even though Singaporeans earn one of the lowest wages among the highest-income countries.
The Worker’s Party has pointed out that, “It is not uncommon to hear accounts of older folks ignoring health problems and delaying visits to the doctor because they fear that medical expenses will be a financial burden to themselves and their families.
“In Singapore, less than one-third of all healthcare costs are paid by the Government. More than 60% of costs are paid by patients out-of-pocket, which includes cash and Medisave. This is much higher than the average of 14% in high income countries, according to data from the World Health Organization.
“Is it any wonder then, that Singaporeans are feeling the strain of healthcare costs? High out-of-pocket spending can create barriers to healthcare access and use, because people who have difficulties paying medical bills may delay or forgo treatment even though they need it.”
The Singapore People’s Party also asked: “Therefore, with healthcare costs at such a high rate of increase beyond the interest rate offered by CPF on medisave. Would the younger generation of Singapore today face a much dire situation compared to their parents?”
“The Singapore People’s Party places a very high premium on the health of all Singaporeans for all illness,” it added.
The Singapore People’s Party added: “Perhaps it should be time for the government to take real responsibility over medical cost issues and not simply stop the bucket at the citizen level.
“Also, the provision of affordable health care facilities must be accepted as a social responsibility by the government and I believe promoting healthier lifestyles is more important than the best insurance schemes.”
Similarly, the Worker’s Party also said: “It is a fundamental responsibility of the Government to ensure that all our citizens have access to high quality healthcare based on their medical needs, and regardless of their income.
“The Government must be prepared to shoulder a much larger proportion of healthcare costs than it currently does. We need to shift away from seeing healthcare as primarily an individual responsibility, and emphasise more government intervention, risk sharing and fairness in financing.
This is why the Reform Party has said that it will implement universal health insurance and SingFirst has also said that it will implement a heavily subsidised universal and comprehensive healthcare insurance, by having huge increase in healthcare subsidies and to build more hospitals.
In fact, the Singapore Democratic Party has also said in its National Healthcare Plan that it only wants Singaporeans to pay a cap of $2,000 every year for hospital bills. Today, some Singaporeans have to pay more than $10,000 for their hospital bills because there is no cap on how much they have to pay.
The PAP does not want to increase government expenditure on healthcare to protect Singaporeans.
But the opposition will.
The opposition will increase government expenditure on healthcare so that Singaporeans do not have to pay so much out of our pockets for healthcare and be able to seek out healthcare when we need to, because we can know that we will be taken care of by the government.
The opposition will also return the CPF and tax that Singaporeans pay and give it back to us by subsidising the healthcare costs.
Today, the PAP spends the least on education, as a percentage of GDP, among the developed countries.
In fact, the PAP makes Singaporeans pay for one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive university tuition fees in the world, and possibly the most expensive childcare fees in the world.
This is even though the PAP makes Singaporeans earn one of the lowest wages among the developed countries. Not only do Singaporeans thus have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries, many Singaporeans are laden with heavy debt, to send their children to school. The resources are also unevenly distributed between the schools.
Lee Hsien Loong also said that “every school is a good school” but a school’s vice-principal chided him and said that this would only be true if the top public servants would send their children to neighbourhood schools as well.
The PAP has more than enough surpluses to provide free education for Singaporeans but it refuses to do so and would instead spend $400 million to pay for foreign students to study in Singapore but would make Singaporeans pay the same amount to pay by ourselves.
However, the opposition parties have said that they will take care of Singaporeans’ education.
Reform Party’s manifesto said that it would provide “universal free and compulsory education”.
“Reform Party proposes to allocate an additional $2 billion to education spending to help pupils from low-income families, increase teaching hours, abolish fees for education, reduce class sizes and improve teaching standards. We believe that while our overall standard of educational attainment is satisfactory, this masks considerable variations between elite schools and the rest. In addition parents are required to spend considerable amounts on tuition, which should not be necessary.”
A similar call was made by the Singapore People’s Party to make education more affordable.
SingFirst has also announced a safety net which will include “free education (waive all fees from primary school to university – after removing $400 million scholarships/tuition grants to foreign students), child allowances ($300 per month for kids up to 12 years old) and a 90% subsidy on fee of $1,000 per month for childcare centres for ages 3 to 6.”
SingFirst said: “We will help Singaporeans raise strong and happy families by providing firstly, generous allowances to children up to the age of six, secondly, free education from primary school to university, and thirdly, to enable mothers to continue working by building self-contained communities with jobs and services (like childcare centres, polyclinics, hospitals, schools, shops, cinemas) close to homes.”
In the Worker’s Party’s manifesto, it said: “The tuition grant for local undergraduates should be increased to better reflect the value of our citizenship and make tertiary education more affordable.
“The co-payment portion of the university tuition fee by citizens should be capped at 10 per cent of operating expenditure of local universities,” it also said.
Worker’s Party also said: “Any tuition fee increases for tertiary institutions should be subject to scrutiny by an independent watchdog that will ensure that increases are minimal and justifiable. It is imprudent to fix a quantum for permitted tuition fee increases per year.”
The PAP does not want to increase education expenditure to enable Singaporean students to be able to truly afford education.
But the opposition will.
The opposition will not only increase education expenditure but will even make education free. They will also look to provide free childcare and allow Singaporeans to study at our universities for free.
This is a mark of a truly developed nation which will invest in their peoples’ education.
Today, Singaporeans pay for one of the most expensive public and private housing in the world even though Singaporeans earn one of the lowest wages among the highest income countries.
On top of that, after Singaporeans sell off their homes bought with CPF funds, they are required to pay back in part or in full the profits from their sales back in the CPF, to pay for the “accrued” interest.
This has infuriated many Singaporeans who are shocked by how they are not allowed to keep the profit from the sale of their homes.
Also, housing prices have escalated, first in the mid-1990s and second in the mid-2000s, so much so that housing in Singapore has become unaffordable for many Singaporeans.
However, the Opposition Parties have said that they would provide cheaper housing for Singaporeans.
Reform Party said in its manifesto that it would aim to provide cheaper and better lower-income housing.
SingFirst also pointed out how “Singapore citizens are faced with expensive housing options” and how they have planned to “strengthen welfare services comprehensively and significantly in housing”.
On how to do so, the Singapore People’s Party has said, “The HDB was set up to provide affordable public housing for Singaporeans. Over time, government has placed Singaporeans in a pressure cooker.
“What is the basis of the increase in price? Have the costs of building an HDB flat increased by 10 times? This is definitely not true.
“We will have to push the government to reveal the real costs of building a HDB flat and to ring-fence public housing as a basic necessity for Singaporean citizens,” the Singapore People’s Party also said.
Mr Chiam See Tong also said: “The situation we are in is caused by the PAP Government’s policy of “asset enhancement”. It has been drummed into Singaporeans that their HDB flat is not only a home, but also an asset that they can cash-out in their old age. It is naturally a hard sell asking Singaporeans to accept anything likely to devalue their ‘retirement plan’. This situation will not be fully resolved until Singapore returns to when a HDB flat is affordable housing, when retirement savings are diversified and liquid, and when Community regains its importance in Singaporeans’ lives.”
Today, of the HDB flat prices that Singaporeans pay, it is estimated that 60% of the money we pay actually goes into land that we do not own.
The Singapore Democratic Party has thus proposed that, “HDB flats will be built on land specially zoned for public housing and not contain a land cost component.
“Prices of public housing will be lower because the cost of an HDB flat will only include the cost of construction and administration.”
Indeed, the Worker’s Party’s Gerald Giam has also said that, “HDB should refocus on its mission to provide affordable housing for Singaporeans, and leave the frills to the private sector.”
Giam also said, “Rather than judge affordability based on the ability to pay off their monthly loan instalments, we should look at other ways of assessing affordability.
“A better way is to benchmark the median flat price divided by the median annual household income of HDB flat owners. This method is known as the Median Multiple. It is recommended by the United Nations and World Bank for evaluating urban markets. The standard of acceptable affordability is that home prices do not exceed three times the annual household income.”
Giam spoke about creating “a new class of the HDB flats” with “prices pegged to three times the relevant median annual household income”.
“This will ensure that prices will remain affordable,” Giam said.
The PAP continues to want to make Singaporeans buy expensive public housing flats, with the intention to profit off these sales.
However, as the opposition parties have pointed out, the HDB housing policy has veered away from what it was intentionally meant for, to provide cheap housing for Singaporeans.
The PAP refuses to provide cheap public housing for Singaporeans.
However, the opposition wants to provide cheaper housing for Singaporeans.
Today, Singaporeans have one of the least adequate retirement funds in the world, even though we have to pay the most out of our wages in the world – 37% – into the CPF pension system.
This is because the government only gives Singaporeans interest rates of 2.5% to 4% on our CPF, which is the lowest in the world.
However, the PAP takes our CPF to earn 6% to 16% in GIC and Temasek Holdings, which have now become the top 11 richest sovereign wealth funds in the world.
The PAP takes our CPF to earn hundreds of billions but returns the lowest interest rates back to Singaporeans.
Not only that, the PAP also locks up Singaporeans’ CPF by setting a CPF Minimum Sum which prevents Singaporeans from being able to take our CPF out.
Also, when Singaporeans use their CPF to buy their homes or pay for university fees, they have to pay an accrued interest back to the CPF, losing the profit that they earn from their homes.
This has angered many Singaporeans. A BlackBox survey showed that more than half of Singaporeans do not think that the CPF is fair.
The PAP does not want to increase wages or the CPF interest rates to grow the CPF and protect Singaporeans. It also refuses to introduce a public pension system. However, the PAP has kept increasing their own salaries and allow the government investment firms to get rich, at the expense of Singaporeans.
However, the opposition parties have said that they will protect Singaporeans for our retirement.
The Reform Party says in its manifesto that it will introduce an old age pension, alongside the CPF, for Singaporeans.
SingFirst has similarly said that it will provide an old-age pension of at least $300 every month for elderly Singaporeans.
The Singapore People’s Party has also acknowledged that, “Many Singaporeans are also deeply unhappy about the compulsory annuity CPF scheme.
“Raising the CPF minimum sum is not the only way – it makes retirement tougher.”
The Singapore People’s Party thus says: “Singaporeans are asking for a more secured retirement through an enhanced CPF system – one with a higher rate of return and a less restrictive payout structure. We support these requests and we believe that more opposition voices will help to form more relevant policies for Singaporeans.”
The Worker’s Party has also said in its manifesto that, “The government should look at ways to pool the funds together to enable members to enjoy economies of scale when making investments. They can then avoid paying the hefty financial charges incurred should they invest on their own.
“A comprehensive study should be done on the feasibility of a pension fund model to enhance returns on CPF monies.”
The Worker’s Party also believes in setting up a parallel public pension system where “Monies (are) set aside by the government through transfers from budget surpluses into a Longevity Fund. Singaporeans aged 85 and above who are not covered by CPF Life or whose CPF Life payouts are below the prevailing. Public Assistance allowance should be supplemented with a monthly Longevity Allowance drawn from the Fund to make up the difference.”
The Singapore Democratic Party has expressed concern that, “The majority of retirees do not have enough income to retire on because their savings have been depleted through housing loan payment and Medisave deductions.”
As such, the Singapore Democratic Party said that CPF savings should be returned in full after retirement.
The Singapore Democratic Party also said that, “land cost (should be removed) from HDB price to reduce housing loans paid through the CPF.”
It also wants to increase health subsidies and thereby scrap Medisave so that the “$43,500 withheld to members’ CPF accounts” can be returned to Singaporeans.
The PAP continues to want to lock up Singaporeans’ CPF, so that they can take the money to use and earn for themselves.
However, the opposition wants to return the CPF back to Singaporeans. It wants Singaporeans to be able to earn enough inside their CPF to retire on.
The opposition also wants to protect Singaporeans by introducing a public pension scheme alongside the CPF to supplement Singaporeans’ retirement.
The PAP does not want to take care of Singaporeans. But the opposition will.
Today, Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries and one of the highest income inequalities in the world.
Singapore also has the highest rich-poor gap and poverty rate – estimated to be 30% – among the developed countries.
Research has shown that because Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries, this has also resulted in the lowest levels of trust after Portugal, the highest rate of self-centredness, social mobility in Singapore has also become one of the lowest and Singapore also has the highest prisoner rate, after the United States.
Indeed, the inequality that the PAP has created has created many social problems in Singapore. Not only that, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have also shown that high income inequality have resulted in low economic growth in a country.
The PAP started creating the income inequality in Singapore by reducing subsidies on health in the mid-1980s, and then creating the CPF Minimum Sum, Medisave and MediShield to lock up Singaporeans’ CPF, and by reducing the CPF interest rates. It then increased HDB flat prices and university tuition fees by several times in the 1980s, and then started depressing wages in the mid-1990s, thus creating a lopsided growth in Singapore and exacerbating the inequality in Singapore.
As such, today’s social and economic problems in Singapore are, in large part, due to the policies that the PAP have created since the mid-1980s.
However, today, the PAP refuses to define a poverty line or implement a minimum wage. Also, the PAP refuses to increase health and education expenditure, even though the Singapore government already spends the lowest on these among the developed countries. Moreover, the PAP also refuses to increase social protection expenditure and implement a public pension scheme, even though the Singapore government also spends the lowest on social protection and Singaporeans have one of the least adequate retirement funds on this planet.
However, the PAP would pay themselves and the rich in Singapore the highest salaries in the world, while also letting themselves pay the lowest tax and CPF among the developed countries, and while making Singaporeans pay the highest CPF contribution into our pension fund in the world.
Singapore has become very unequal under the PAP.
The PAP refuses to change the policies to reverse the situation and protect Singaporeans.
However, the Opposition Parties will. The opposition have said that they will increase health and education expenditure, they also said that they will provide cheap housing and implement a public pension scheme, to supplement the CPF.
The opposition have also said that they will implement a minimum wage.
Once the opposition becomes the government and reverses the PAP’s policies, the Singapore society will also become a better place.
Singaporeans will become less self-centred as we have more time to look out for one another, social mobility will increase as more Singaporeans truly get opportunities to advance in life, and social problems will also decrease.
There are ways to make Singapore a better place and our society a happier one. All it takes is political will to enact policies to achieve this.
However, the PAP refuses to do so.
But the opposition will. The opposition parties will reverse the policies by the PAP and introduce new policies to take care of and protect Singaporeans.
Vote Opposition. Vote for your future.