A New Government is Needed for Singaporeans to be Protected

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A friend who makes regular food deliveries to low-income families asked if I could assist to bring some food for one family in Ang Mo Kio.

Her volunteers and her make weekly deliveries to the families but one family has ran out of food.

The mother in the family has difficulty holding a job as she has young children who needs to go to school, among other matters. She is also on social assistance but the amounts are low and not enough to support the family.

The family thus has to also rely on donations.

But her story is not unique. There are many such stories in Singapore. Sometimes, big families are cramped into one room flats simply because they cannot afford to rent or buy a bigger place.

And it is not a fault of their own. Some of these families comprise of elderly members who can no longer work, or disabled members as well, which means caregivers might not even be able to work. Some of them work several jobs but because their pay is so low, they simply cannot earn enough for the family. Sometimes, it is challenging for the breadwinner when he or she also has to take care of a family member who needs regularly care.

These families shoulder heavy burdens which we may not see or understand.

How can we help these families?

There are many help groups and religious groups who provide free food and also financial support sometimes. But such assistance is not regular. For example, food is provided only once or twice a week. But these groups continue to do what they can.

But Singapore is a very rich country today, at least on the national level. However, much of this money does not go back to Singaporeans, especially to these low- and middle-income families. Do you know that the share of wages (of the GDP) that goes back to Singaporeans is the lowest among the developed countries?

Therefore a more sustainable solution is needed.

First, this requires a fundamental mindset change by the government. The government has to recognise that low-income Singaporeans are not in their state because they deserve it. It is not true that they are not hardworking. In fact, many of them hold several jobs but because each job pays so little, they simply cannot earn enough for the family to make ends meet.

Also, the government has categorised certain jobs as being less skilled and thus deserving of lower pay, but where is the limit to such thinking and who are we to demean the labour of another?

As such, to be able to provide assistance to low-income families on a sustainable basis, the government’s mindset has to change.

There is enough research which shows that where low-income families receive more financial support, they will invest in the education and healthcare of their family members, lives will improve which in turn will allow working members in the family to focus on their jobs, do well, and earn more.

As such, a sustainable system to alleviate poverty in Singapore would be to increase the wages of low- and middle-income workers, increase social assistance for these families, as well as to also increase education and healthcare subsidies for these families.

Importantly, for much of the subsidies, such as Medifund, families are required to apply for them and have to go through cumbersome processes to do so. For example, they are required to submit the income statements of all their family members and have to do so every few months. But this is not only demeaning but for many of these workers who already have to take on several jobs, on top of taking care of their family members, means that much of their time is spent on hours and hours of paperwork, just to get a few hundred dollars, and this is if they actually qualify.

As such, not only does financial assistance to these families need to increase, the procedures to do so also need to be streamlined and automated.

The benefits to helping these families are many-fold.

First, investment in these families will allow the members to receive education and healthcare, which will allow them to move up the social ladder.

Second, as the livelihoods of these families improve, their future generations will also be uplifted.

Third, where the household consumption of these families increase, this will also increase the domestic spending in the country and result in higher economic growth.

As such, there are long term and macro benefits to looking out for and taking care of the poorer members of our society. Research has shown this.

But for such changes to be able to happen, it requires a government to have the political will not to place judgements on members of our society and to be able to empathise with their situation.

It also requires a government to be far-sighted and understand the social philosophy of these policies.

The question that stands in our way today is whether the PAP has the right values and beliefs to do so. The answer to this would lie in the PAP’s policies.

Where the PAP refuses to implement a minimum wage and increase the wages of Singaporeans, while only willing to pay $1,000 to cleaners, even as many Singaporeans have calculated $2,000 to be the minimum that they would need to sustain themselves, then it begs the question why the PAP would still not implement a minimum wage or define a poverty line.

In addition, the PAP spends the lowest on healthcare, education and social protection for Singaporeans among the developed countries, and also gives the lowest interest rates on our CPF pension funds in the world, while taking our CPF to earn high profits for themselves.

Meanwhile, the PAP ministers also earn the highest salaries in the world.

It is clear that the PAP is not taking care of Singaporeans.

As such, a new government which has the political will is needed, and one which has the right mindset to protect Singaporeans.

The other political parties have said that they would implement minimum wage, increase healthcare, education and social protection expenditure, and to also introduce a pension scheme, on top of the CPF, to allow Singaporeans to be able to retire.

As such, political will for change awaits in a new government and in the other political parties which have articulated policies to protect Singaporeans.

If so, this coming election, Singaporeans have to think for ourselves what is at stake and to decide how we want to vote so that policies will be implemented to protect Singaporeans.

For a future where our countrymen are protected and which will uplift the lives of all in Singapore, a firm direction is needed towards change, so that Singapore can embark on a new journey, to bring Singapore into a better tomorrow.

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24 comments

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

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

    Mr. Teo En Ming (Zhang Enming)
    Singapore Citizen

  2. wongcheokwan

    Singapore has reserves and surplus in MAS,TEMASEK,GIC,STAT BOARDS,MINISTRIES to about $1,000,000,000,000.

    Divide by 4mil citizens:each citizen should have $250,000.To mint a new citizen means giving away a share of $250,000.

    To make 20,000 new citizens a year means a cost of $5,000,000,000. How can this cost be recovered? Can this $5b be

    moneytised and distribution to citizens instead?

    Best wishes.

    • Money

      The government don’t see it this way.
      $1,000,000,000,000 is totally for the government and those running the government.
      Every new citizen means more money going into the reserve. I hope new citizens understand this. They, just like older Singaporeans, are not getting a share of the reserve.

    • Chris

      More citizens means more ppl coming into Singapore to contribute to our economy. It creates a multiplier effect and advance our GDP… This is simple economics, one of the basic concept which is understood by all .
      U sleeping in class right?

  3. landragon123

    Mr. Teo En Ming, take care of yourself as no one will be able help you accept yourself. If the government wants you dead, you will not be posting here.
    For Roy, I write again, you are childish by thinking a new opposition can help you revenge against the PAP. PAP will still be in for good for another term at least.
    If we have good opposition like WP and some single wards, we hope they can do a good job before dreaming to form the next government. 10 to 20 oppositions will be a winning for the citizen of Singapore, to show the PAP to wake-up and not go into further lapses and hoping they can open-up and tell us the truth of the present lapses that the AG have reported.
    PA is one of the worse lapses as the CEO came from HPB where I have reported their lapses in 2012/13 but without action as they are birds of a feather. Runing away from one lapses to more lapses now.

    • Chris

      Wp is good?
      Then why keep avoiding their accounts and why did they get rid of cpg when Cpg still has 2-3 yrs of contract obligations? Why did they choose a company operated by its own town council GM? If this GM can set up a company to run the town council, why not just let the town council run the whole town council? Why need the GM to set up a company to do so?
      Does not make sense.
      Some more, the reason to merge the town councils into one is for economic of scale… But it looks more like to spread the losses instead… Results in a positive cash flowed aljunied tc becomes into the red…

  4. Ted

    In what ways r our govt not helping?
    The poor r always helped and NGOs r roper in too… Others like public and private companies r roped in too..
    Will another government do better? No. From all the opposition in Singapore… They all r eyeing on our reserves but none of them r able to make more money. If our govt can’t make money and just use our reserves, how long will Singapore last? 5 years?
    Our govt is to allow Singapore to last forever. Only when Singapore has money, will the poor be helped. Just look at how many mp and ministers who came from poor families and did well becos of our meritocracy system and help given to their poor families

    • landragon123

      The biggest money the government is making is from the land by increasing it price regularly to make you feel rich. All HDB belongs to the government, it is leased to you and make you believe that you are asset rich as the price just keep increasing to give a fault believe to it citizen. It is also for window dressing to the world that we have a valuable asset, the Government Land.

      • Chris

        In all other countries, especially Asian countries… All land belongs to the govt eventually… What’s wrong with that? Even freehold land, the govt if needed to develop infrastructure, it’ll take back and give u the value of it at that time. I see nothing wrong with that.
        Land is a limited resource in Singapore of cos it must be valuable. If not valuable , u think u can sell ur Hdb and condo at a premium for the last 8 years?
        My Hdb and condos r my assets, i will sell them according to market forces.
        U r not the only idiot that says such things online about properties being not an asset. I can go to any banks and get a loan with my condos … Why? Becos it is an asset.
        Dun talk rubbish here lah… Oops , this is Roy blogging rubbish. So rubbish must be allowed

  5. Return Our CPF Savings @55!!! Or Referandum!

    A National Tragedy & De-Valuation Of Our Citizens The Past 50 Years By A Govt In Denial & Out-Of-Touch With Ground Reality. Many Flawed Policies Have Caused Pain, Hardship & Misery To Thousands Of Our Pioneer Generations, NSF, PMEs, Graduates & Non-Graduates plus Single Mothers:( What Goes Around Comes Around:) Press “Reset” Button Come GE2015 To Save Our Nation, Our People & Our Future! Plus Our Family! Solution: VTO & Regime Change!!! Go4it!!!

    • Chris

      Indeed… Let’s not forgot the tens of thousands who r retired comfortably and getting a stable monthly payouts from their CPF…
      And let us not forgot the millions of dollars being handed out every year to these poor Singaporeans in various ways…
      Praise a great govt… Thank you Singapore govt…

      • landragon123

        In China, they retired at 50 and gets monthly payout which increases regularly until they die. No CPF contribution to make.
        In CPF, our own savings force on us to set a side a lumpsum at 55, and start getting fit monthly allowances at 65 or maybe 70 soon and that is our own insurance, thank the PAP for what?
        You get free payout now, and that is vote buying for the election year only. A goodies bag was promised for every family/household, but many did not get them even it is our SG50. Is it another lapse going on?

      • mishkakabam

        Pensions, healthcare support etc, that are proposed by the oppositions are going to increase government spending. Without increasing taxes, how is the government going to finance all this?
        As for the oppositions, can we trust them? Look at the WP. They cannot even manage the funds properly. Can you trust them to continue holding public funds?? This is something all Singaporeans should be worried about. Think wisely before you vote. the “check and balance” crap, is so GE2011. Give me a better a better reason.
        Once again, i beg to differ on Roy’s view that the help is not enough. Like i said, talk to social workers. Perhaps, they can provide you with a better idea of how the government helps those in need.
        And again, B-Sing his way through another essay.
        “In addition, the PAP spends the lowest on healthcare, education and social protection for Singaporeans among the developed countries, and also gives the lowest interest rates on our CPF pension funds in the world, while taking our CPF to earn high profits for themselves.”

        Make sure you have concrete proof and that your facts are right. Making profits for themselves? Wah. Big accusation again.

      • Chris

        China retiring when 50 is in the past la… Just like in the past in Singapore..
        In China, it’s worse.. Even if u r in SOE, u do not get to retire comfortably when u r 50… Of cos , if u are a corrupted office then yes… Too bad u stay in Singapore… Corruption in Singapore is punishable…

  6. R

    PENSION IN CHINA – SIMILAR TO CPF
    Following pilot projects in Shanghai and Guangzhou, the urban pension system was officially launched in 1997 with the announcement of a revised pension policy. While pensions were provided by state-owned enterprises in the previous system, a social insurance system took over. The reform started at the provincial level with a view to expanding it to the national level.

    This public pension system consists of pillar 1A, a pay-as-you-go portion, and pillar 1B, a funded portion consisting of individual accounts. Pillar 1A is financed exclusively by employer contributions of 20% of wages, whereas pillar 1B is financed by employee contributions of 8%. The pay-as-you-go portion is intended to provide a replacement rate of 35% of the employee’s final salary, and the funded portion aims to replace 24%. Contribution rates were changed in 2006. Until then, pillar 1A was financed by a 17% employer contribution. Pillar 1B was financed by employee contributions amounting to 3% of their salaries, and by employers, who made an 8% contribution. The urban pension system has a coverage rate of 50%.

    Although it is fully funded in principle, pillar 1B has suffered because local governments took capital from these accounts to cover pension deficits in the pay-as-you-go pillar and to pay out benefits. This led to the problem of “empty accounts”. To remedy the situation, the Chinese authorities have taken steps to “refill” pillar 1B through fiscal transfers from the local and central government. This measure is part of a pilot pension reform project in the Liaoning province that started in 2001. The project aims to fill empty accounts with funds equivalent to 5% of salaries. 3.75% is financed by the central government, and the remaining 1.25% is financed by the local government. Once the accounts have been filled, the balance increases by 1% of salaries each year until 8% is reached.

  7. Jim

    You all keep complaining about the government , have you ever think of how much better we are as compared to other country , and the ways we are so much better off ? I have the chances to talk to foreigners and they are all praise for our country. When I told them that many Singaporeans actually complain like no tomorrow , one of them just said this. He said , that’s because these people never travel and see how it is like abroad. When you do you will realize. Come on, have some gratitude and be more realistic. Life is a trade off. You want everything cheap and life is easy, where got ? Heaven lor.

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