Wages: How PAP has Betrayed Singaporeans

The Singapore General Election will be held on 11 September 2015.

Has the current ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP), done its job or has it hurt Singaporeans instead?

Over the next two weeks, I will be compiling the past articles that I have written into the different thematic areas, so that you can see for yourselves if the PAP has helped Singaporeans or if it has actually make lives more difficult for Singaporeans.

In today’s article, the focus is on WAGES.

You can click on the red headers below to read more of each of the articles.

(1) Singaporeans Earn the Lowest Wages: We are Being Cheated of Our Wages


Singapore is today one of the richest countries in the world (by GDP per capita) and the most expensive, so one might expect Singaporeans to also earn one of the highest wages.

However, in a survey that Gallup did at the end of last year, it was found that among the top 20 richest advanced economies, Singapore has one of the lowest self-reported per-capita household income!

Not only that, when you compare how much the lowest-wage Singaporeans earn as compared to the other countries, Singaporeans also earn the lowest wages! The PAP government has refused to set a minimum wage to protect Singaporeans but the $1,000 they are finally willing to give to cleaners can be seen as a de facto minimum wage. But even then, this is only $1,000.

When you compare this to other countries with a similar level of wealth and cost of living, the lowest wage workers in Norway earn $5,000 and those in Switzerland and Australia earn $3,000 – the difference as compared to Singapore is massive! If Norwegians, Swiss and Australians need to earn $3,000 to $5,000 to be able to survive on their high cost of living, how can Singaporeans expect to be able to survive on only $1,000 for a similarly high cost of living?

Read more here.

(2) Singaporeans Earn The LOWEST Wages Among The High-Income Countries


Singapore stands in stark contrast to the other countries in the “same league”, where the governments in these countries would share in the wealth of the nation, so that the poor in the country wouldn’t be left out. Singapore is indeed an anomaly and the only country among the other high-income countries where the government continues to take the wealth contributed by the people, without sharing it back. As such, the poorest in Singapore have only seen slight increases in their nominal wages, but when factoring for inflation, their real wages have actually dropped.

The government can try to come out with all sorts of ways to paint a nicer picture but the fact of the matter is that the lot of the poor has gotten worse and this is not something that the PAP can run away from, just by putting up another set of statistics that would tell the story that they want people to hear. Also, for Singaporeans who have to live with one of the highest prices in the world, we are being paid wages that cannot possibly allow a respectable standard of living for the most of us.

Read more here.

(3) Singaporeans, The Truth About Our Wages Revealed

photo 1 (17)

Singapore has the lowest wages and lowest wage growth among the developed countries!

Compared with cities in other developed countries, Singapore had the second lowest wage level.

Not only that, Singapore had the lowest hourly pay in manufacturing in 2010.

Not only do Singaporeans have the lowest wages, our real hourly compensation (in manufacturing) also grew the slowest and actually became lower than in 2002.

According to the International Labour Organisation’s Global Wage Report 2008/09, between 1995 and 2000, Singapore actually had one of the highest average real wage growth among the developed countries, at 5.75%. But from 2001 to 2007, this dropped to only 1.8%.

In fact, you can see that between 1995 and 2000, Singapore’s average real wage growth had followed the GDP annual growth closely, but between 2001 and 2007, our real wage growth fell way below the GDP annual growth.

Read more here.

(4) How The Government Undercuts Singaporeans’ Wages


So, do you see the whole picture now?

  1. First, the government doesn’t pay the right wage that they should be paying you – only 42% of GDP goes into your wages. If we are paid what we should be paid, the median income earner in Singapore should be earning $6,139.
  2. Second, use the CPF to entrap your money so that not only are you paid terribly low wages, the government cuts up this low wage of yours and use it for their own investments, and return very little back to you, and at the same time, make you use your CPF to pay for your house and siphon even more off from you.

Now, to be very clear, this entrapment exercise mainly affects the low- and middle-income Singaporeans.

For high-income Singaporeans:

  1. They are paid the highest wages among the high-income countries.
  2. The personal income tax that they pay are more likely to be returned back, as it doesn’t get as entrapped as the CPF.
  3. They are much less affected by CPF than the rest of Singaporeans are, and the much smaller CPF contribution rate is something that is easier to live with, since they are compensated by the higher than should-be income that they should be earning.

However, note that this is by no means a fault of the high-income earner. This is a critique of the system that the PAP has created more than the individual earner.

And if you look at how much each of the income groups are losing in wages today, the low-income earner is losing $2,399 of his/her wage, or 3 times his/her current wage. The middle-income earner is losing $2,889, or almost the whole wage he/she is earning now. And the high-income earner is getting an additional $1,717 more than what he/she should be getting now.

Read more here.

(5) Singaporeans Have The Lowest Purchasing Power Among The Developed Countries

photo 2 (11)

Do you know that because prices have been driven so high in Singapore and wages have been depressed so low by the PAP that Singaporeans now also have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries?

Also, do you know that even though Singapore’s GDP per capita is higher than Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, our purchasing power is actually lower than all of them?

If fact, do you know that Singapore has a lower purchasing power than even Malaysia and has a purchasing power similar to India?

Read more here.

(6) Next Time Someone Says Singapore Cannot Have Minimum Wages Or Higher Taxes


Wait a minute! I thought that the government has always said that if we impose minimum wage, our economy will collapse and businesses won’t want to invest in Singapore?

Then why is it the case that the countries with the highest minimum wages are also one of the richest countries? Why are businesses still investing in them?

You see, the reason why the government doesn’t want to impose a minimum wage law isn’t primarily because businesses won’t invest. There are many businesses which have gotten used to the ethical practices of the other developed countries, and they would do what they need to, to respect the laws in those countries. The reason why there’s no minimum wage in Singapore then? Well, for the Singapore companies owned and based here, where do they predominantly earn their profits from? If they increase our wages, where will their profits go to? So, in order to earn from you, they have to depress your wages and increases prices, so that they can earn as much as they can.

And who own this Singapore companies?

Read more here.

(7) Poor Singaporeans Have to Work for 272 Years to Earn What the Singapore Prime Minister Earns in One Year


For a Singaporean who earns $1,000 a month in Singapore (or the de facto minimum wage given to cleaners), it would take him or her 272 years to earn what the prime minister can fully earn in a year today.

And if you look at the median income earner who earns $3,705 (when including for employer CPF), he/she would need to take 73 years to earn what the prime minister gets to earn in a year.

Of course, seeing  that our CPF is as good as gone, if you take the median income of $3,250 (without including employer CPF), an average Singaporean would need to take 84 years to earn what the prime minister gets to earn in a year – which means that if Singaporeans were to start working once we are given birth to, even if we work our whole lives until we die, we would still never earn as much as what the prime minister can potentially earn today.

In 10 years, the prime minister would have easily earned $30 million. For a low-income Singaporean who earns $1,000, it would take them 2,500 years to earn what the prime minister would easily earn in 10 years!

To give you a bit of perspective, if you look at another country, say Norway, which has a similar level of wealth and GDP per capita, and prices as Singapore, but where its workers are paid much fairer wages, for the lowest-income workers who earn $5,000 every month ($60,000 in a year), it will only take them 5 years to earn what their prime minister earns ($300,000 in a year). And by the way, they already consider what they pay to their prime minister “a lot of money”.

And for the median income earner in Norway who earns about $8,000, it will take about 3 years.

This is in comparison to the 272 years and 84 years that it would take low-income and median income Singaporeans to earn.

The PAP has run its course for us. It is no longer what Singapore and Singaporeans need. It is clear that they have hijacked government for their own purposes and if we do not rid our government of this scourge that is the PAP, our country and the survival of Singaporeans is at stake.

It is up to Singaporeans to wise up to the reality, to realise the implications and to do what’s right for ourselves.

Read more here.


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

    Wow! Brilliant! U Get Our Votes Roy!!!
    1) It’s a SG50 National Tragedy:(
    2) It destroy 50 Years of Nation Building:(
    3) It tantamount to “legalized corruption” to overpaid & overpriced Ministers, MPs & Public Servants.
    4) CPF lock up is “day light robbery” without consent & national Referandum!
    5) Come 2015 Regime Change will save SG, Our People, Our Children & Our Future!
    6) Inflated GDP & growth-at-all-cost has caused Poverty, Pain, Hardship, Unemployment, Underemployment & Spiralling inflation & devaluation of Human Capital:(
    7) Influx of FT, Fakers, FTrash, Aliens, Economic Migrants n Instant Citizens are poisoning our National Fabric & Causing untold Damage & Social ills:(
    8) To open e “floodgate” of dubious & questionable migrants and turn citizen to minorities so as to remain Govt & Stay in Power Forever is nothing short of Sedition & Betrayal & Criminal!!!
    9) These criminals deserve to be thrown into prison & exiled for Abuse of Position, Mismanagement and Crime againt Humanity!
    10) Karma = What goes around comes around!

  2. jackfruit

    Your gf collected the forms for u leow? Go be a saviour of Singaporeans lah..but lose leow don’t cry hor…..

  3. William K

    This is not 1984 when Lee Hsien Loong first stood for office! This is 2015!! In 1984 if you earned $1000, it was a big thing. Heck if you earned $500 it was a big thing – my salary during the recession was $487. You could just about barely survive if you lead a dull existence. But enough of all that.

    This is 2015! How in the world can citizens in Singapore today survive or even be earning $1000? Has the PM and DPM been hallucinating? Thinking it’s perfectly alright to see people earning $1000 and below? I don’t care what job you do, be it a cleaner, road sweeper, garbage collector or security guard et al – a salary of $1000 for a full time (not part time) job in 2015 is a TRAVESTY.

    Oh, of course their fanboys and members will jump up and say – So how much do they want – S5000 a month, air-conditioned office, free transport and 3 paid meals a day? I think such remarks are highly distasteful and a profound insult. And don’t come with this progressive wage bullshit.

    What progress is there when wages for these persons was higher in 2002 before the floodgates opened? Your open door policy (some even say ‘open leg’) has allowed the influx of cheap foreign labour that caused not only wages to stagnate but regress. And you have the temerity to say you now have progressive wage. Howsabout we reduce the PM’s and Ministerial pay to $5000 a month and then introduce progressive wage for them – once they deliver promises and upgrade themselves, we’ll slowly let them earn their millions back?

    No working adult should be allowed to earn $1000 a month, certainly not cleaners, road sweepers and garbage collectors. Dirty work should be compensated properly. How much will a company lose if they gave their cleaners and the like for a start – a minimum basic pay of $1200 (the lowest figure for these jobs back in 2002)? We all pay for refuse collection in our utilities bill- why doesn’t PUB or whatever the agency it’s now called make sure that private operators they award contracts to, must pay garbage collectors a basic minimum pay starting at $1200? How much profits will they lose? This is a disgrace!

    It’s an insult to claim we are a 1st world economy, high GDP and trillions in reserves, if we have a fair number in society earning well below the poverty line in most other 1st world countries. The PM swelled with pride when he said he accomplished what he said in a previous NDR of a makeover of the Marina Bay waterfront. But exactly who enjoys all the spanking new stuff there, the amphitheatre, the Sands Hotel and Casino, the Gardens by the Bay, the Helix bridge and all the wonderfully eye catching stuff? Pray tell who? How many ordinary Singaporeans can afford to go to these places, eat at the restaurants (even the food-courts) and have the luxury of spending time there?
    Fair enough we want tourist dollars – but tourism is 1 thing – at the end of the day whatever you build is for the local populace – always. But which segment of the populace is reaping all of these? Yes, the rich, both local and the foreigners whom you seem to treat like royalty.

    Why must Govt agencies and their now so-called ‘private entities’ like Singhealth, SMRT, Singpower and Temasek all continue to rake in the profits, paying their top executives millions, while there are so many poor Singaporeans doing vital jobs earning a pittance? Hey wait a second – remember what Law and Foreign Minister K Shanmugam said – ‘There’s an increasing number of Singaporeans who are jealous of these people – they should go work harder instead of demanding hand-outs.’ Excuse me Minister, no 1 is jealous or wants to deprive the rich of a few more hundreds or thousands – what we want is protection from the Govt we elect – that we can earn the decent and correct wage for the jobs we do.

    Like what a Minister said in the past (might even be LKY) – we don’t give a person a fish and feed him for a day, we teach him to fish, so he can provide for himself for a lifetime. But there’s no point teaching, if you allow others to come and fish at our expense leaving no fish in the pond. And while the concept of giving the lowest in society a chance to buy a flat seems great – this proposal is not a rosy as it sounds. The public housing system is in a mess – who created this? The opposition? No it’s you – the Govt we elected all the while from independence. The current Govt is just like the LTA now. In the past, LTA would not just fix potholes on the road, they would redo or re-plaster and smoothen the whole road. And those days the their budget was smaller. Now despite the millions they earn from COEs and ERP, not to mention fines – what do they do now? Yup – just paper over cracks and patch them up – making it look like a tic-tac-toe board. Roads are not as smooth as before and some roads are extremely bumpy. That’s exactly the approach the Govt has taken to public housing – just paper over the cracks, with so many bumps. (more on this in future posts)

    In closing, it’s a crying shame and a disgrace that the PM and his deputy can talk of how easy it is for those earning $1000 and below to buy a flat – while completely ignoring that its their policies that causes these people to earn this meagre sum. Millionaires and aristocrats telling those at the very bottom – how well taken care off they are. Why don’t they give up their millions for a year, take a $1000 salary and buy a 2 room flat using just that sum? Walk the talk Prime Minister! And don’t forget to bring Ho Ching and your 2 sons along for the ride too, while you’re at it. I’m sure they’ll find it as easy as you made it out to be!

    • Eric L

      Stop complaining and work harder to get the salary you want then. Your article smacks of sour grapes, and the amount of time and effort spent drafting this could have been used to do just that. Not happy? Look inwards first, get off that self-entitled high horse, and recognize that a government’s role is to do exactly that – govern. Not to pamper to your fancies. For that, you have your own two hands – just like everybody else, including the “higher incomes”. We were all born equal- I haven’t heard of successful people having extra hands, brains or mouths to allow an unfair advantage; and a society that encourages hard work for reward is precisely a society that such successful people would want to be in. Can’t cope? No one is forcing you to stay either.

    • William K

      What is more important (than GDP growth) is productivity growth. It has been negative over the last 3 years. Only sustained productivity growth will result in higher income and a higher standard of living in the long term.

      Real GDP has increased 40x since 1965 (according to PM) but real wages has (only) increased 6x since 1965 (according to DPM Tharman). Public housing prices have increased 33x since 1965. That is why Singaporeans do not have Swiss (1st World) standard of living. Productivity is too low so wages and therefore standard of living are also low.

      PAP has been using the wrong main KPI (GDP growth instead of productivity growth) over the last 50 years. That is why Singapore is 1st World in terms of per capita GDP but not in terms of wages, productivity and standard of living.

      Keep this in mind when you vote at the coming GE. Think carefully and vote wisely.

      • William K

        The sooner Goh Chok Tong shut up his mouth the better. Singaporeans current problems and difficulties are all sowed during the years when Goh Chok Tong was the PM. Afraid to push back on the influences of Lee Kuan Yew he sanctioned Ministers pay to shoot up into the millions. He sanctioned the opening up of Singapore to foreigners. I still remembered my business friends who were so overjoyed by the changes in government polices which allowed him to liberally import all types of workers – from clerks to lawyers, from low to high level executives. They were so effusive in praising Goh Chok Tong.

        He also opened up the CPF for share investments as he wanted Singaporeans to be a share owning nation besides a home owning nation. Official figures from the CPF showed that Singaporeans lost $billions in their CPF share investments.

        What happen to his Swiss Standard of Living. What happen to his ambition for Singapore to win the World Cup ? All hot airs. He was living in dream land and is still living in dream land. He cannot be more wrong if he thinks that Singaporeans like and respect him. Far from it. He is the second most hated person in Singapore besides Lee Kuan Yew.

      • William K

        PAP=Party against People

        1. Infrastructure not ready for huge influx of foreigners, train stoppages, Breakdown of MRT

        2. Lack of transparency about how Temasek and GIC are doing

        3. Losing the Singaporean core

        4. AGO report on PA’s grassroots organizations

        5. Not returning the people’s savings as promised

        6. PMETs losing jobs and replaced by foreigners with fake or half-past-six degrees, Difficulty of Locals Finding Good Jobs, Low Wages

        7. Shortage of hospital beds and high medical cost

        8. AIM saga

        9. Spending billions to provide scholarships to foreigners, University Space for Locals

        10. Signing of CECA

        11. Housing Shortage, Prices of Home

        12. Road Congestions

      • wong_kok_loon@immunol.a-star.edu.sg

        1. Infrastructure not ready for huge influx of foreigners, train stoppages, Breakdown of MRT, MRT trains breaking down frequently and packed liked sardines during peak hours

        2. Lack of transparency about how Temasek and GIC are doing

        3. Losing the Singaporean core

        4. AGO report on PA’s grassroots organizations

        5. Not returning the people’s savings as promised, Senior citizens unable to retire because their life savings tied up in CPF

        6. PMETs losing jobs and replaced by foreigners with fake or half-past-six degrees, Difficulty of Locals Finding Good Jobs, Low Wages, PMETs working as taxi drivers and security guards

        7. Shortage of hospital beds and high medical cost

        8. AIM saga

        9. Spending billions to provide scholarships to foreigners, University Space for Locals, Bright students unable to secure a place in University

        10. Signing of CECA

        11. Housing Shortage, Prices of Home

        12. Road Congestions

        13. Elderly and frail have to collect card boards and tin cans, barely earning enough for 3 meals

        14. Every other day somebody commits suicide because of financial problems


    PAST PAP: Serve with a sincere heart. Low salary. No nonsense to mistakes. If you made a mistake, or embroiled in a scandal, out you go. People really saw the changes in their lives. Then LKY said must pay ministers more salary otherwise they become corrupt.

    TODAY PAP: Huge astronomical salary. Overweight with ridiculously highest paying salary in world, fatten like a goose waiting to be led to the slaughterhouse, lazy, incompetent. MRT continuously breaks down (don’t know how many times already!) still okay, taking things slowly with stride. Transport minister only resigns last minute before the GE, but still taking on other roles in the PMO. Nonsensical claims of $8 for heart bypass, $1000 to own a HDB etc. Foreigners are welcomed with open arms to compete with the already densely populated Singaporean community. Pro- aliens’ policies with the intention to raise the cost of living (increase in ERPs, taxes, fees, hospitalisation etc) to further fatten their pockets- their so-called ‘growth’.

    • NoSaints

      How to have high salary in the past when they were starting at the bottom(people were mostly poor then)? Now, entry salary, for training dogs, with zero political experience, is $16k – part time job with many sides benefits too

      There is no distinction between past and present because it is the same political foundation and same type of…animals.

  5. Lucian Loh

    face it guys,our country are infact communist from china/hong kong practices and minimum wage is not even in their book.truth is i never heard any Asian country try to talking about having minimum wage, nope…while Western have atlest trying to

  6. Ric TAn

    Roy, I suppose u never run any biz before, higher the salary, higher cost for company, then the company will need to charge higher service n product and hence higher cost of living. Don’t just say something pleasing to the ear, give us a whole solution where we can earn more while still keeping the cost of living low.

  7. Joe

    Roy is just a retard..Blocked me in FB, just because i won in arguing with him..unblock me, and i will show u, an average singaporean, is smarter that someone is trying to run an election..

    Dont hum ji leh..if you are damn smart, why block ppl? scare ah?

  8. 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
    31 Aug 2015

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