A Short Note on Budget 2016 and Update Twelve of Defamation Funds

I was sued by the Singapore prime minister for an article on this blog and have been asked to pay him S$180,000.

Thank you everyone for your support and contributing to the funds for the defamation suit. I am very thankful and grateful for your support. It would have been difficult to do this alone.

Thank you for reading the blog as well. I have written more than 600 articles since 2012, in the hope to shed light on the socio-economic situation in Singapore and I am glad that we have been able to raise a level of awareness on the issues.

Last night, I received another S$145. A couple gave my dad S$45 for the fund raising yesterday. One woman gave S$50 and an Indian man gave S$50 as well. Thank you to you.

My dad sells carrot cake at Block 107 in Ang Mo Kio. Some people have visited my dad’s stall to pass him some contributions.

Some people have also said that they would like to visit my dad’s stall to eat the carrot cake. Just to let you know, he is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from about 4pm to about 11pm/midnight.

There were no new funds in the POSB bank account (130-23068-7 Ngerng Yi Ling) and PayPal (royngerng@gmail.com).

As of 12pm today, S$27,390.06 has been raised. 

The funds coming in have slowed down. But as long as when there are funds coming in, I will update them on the blog.

Singapore.jpg

Singapore Currently Has Enough Surplus to Provide Free Healthcare and Education for Singaporeans

On Thursday, the government announced Budget 2016.

What stood out for me was that GIC and Temasek Holdings will be contributing S$14.7 billion to the budget, via the Net Investment Returns (NIR).

Note that as GIC primarily uses Singaporeans’ Central Provident Fund (CPF) pension funds and part of the CPF is transferred to Temasek Holdings, this means that the NIR would also indirectly come from Singaporeans’ CPF.

The CPF can be used for not only retirement but healthcare and education.

As I have calculated, Singaporeans spend S$1.7 billion on university fees and S$11 billion on healthcare, from our own pockets. In total, we have to pay S$12.7 billion by ourselves for healthcare and education.

The NIR of S$14.7 billion (some of which is our CPF) is already more than that. And as I also mentioned, from 2005 to 2012, Singapore has a surplus of between S$18 billion to S$32 billion, which can also more than cover for all of Singaporeans’ expenditure on healthcare and education.

As I also explained, Singaporeans contributed S$32 billion into CPF last year. This can also more than cover for all of Singaporeans’ expenditure on healthcare and education.

Importantly, Singaporeans have paid S$77 billion into Medisave but in 2014, we were only able to withdraw S$852 million for direct medical expenses. This means that we were only able to use 1.1% of what we have paid in total. Even if Medisave is used to fully cover for all private healthcare expenditure, it would only take up 15%.

Which means there is a lot of money left.

Moreover, as I calculated, “the existing surplus/contributions that Singapore has in one year can provide free education, healthcare and retirement for another 4 to 8 years, or more, at the current spending”.

Anyway, I am sounding like a broken record. I have said this many times on the blog.

I am reiterating the above points to highlight that there is enough money to provide free healthcare and education for all people living on this island, including adequate pension for elderly residents in Singapore.

It is up to Singaporeans to have a conversation on this.

The Government Should Provide Unemployment Benefits in View of More Job Layoffs

Important to note – last year, Singapore saw the highest number of workers lose their jobs since 2009. At the same time, Singapore saw the least jobs created since 2003. And of the jobs created, only 0.3% went to Singaporeans or permanent residents.

As such, I would think that the most urgent thing that the government should do is to provide unemployment benefits for Singaporeans. As it is, Singapore is one of very few countries in the world still without unemployment benefits.

And this is worrying because not only is Singapore the most expensive city in the world for three years running, Singaporeans also pay one of the most expensive university fees and healthcare in the world, MediShield Life premiums for example still have to be paid even as one is unemployed.And MediShield Life premiums can go up to more than S$1,200 a year, which can be harrowing for a person without income to pay.

With 1 in 3 Singaporeans in debt and an estimated 30% of Singaporeans living in poverty, this means that many of those retrenched might not have enough savings to pay for these necessities.

As such, I would think it is urgent to provide unemployment benefits for Singaporeans.

You see, where the Singapore government spends the least on healthcare and education among the developed countries, as a percentage of GDP, this means that Singaporeans who are working already face a huge burden, noting that Singaporeans already have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries.

Thus for Singaporeans who are unemployed, this burden would be insurmountable, indefinitely.

So, the choice is for the government to either increase healthcare and education expenditure on its side, or to provide unemployment benefits so that unemployed Singaporeans would still have financial aid to afford these essentials. But even with healthcare and education expenditure increased, some form of unemployment benefits would still need to be provided to help the individual get by while looking for a job – people who have become unemployed at some point will understand this.

But the government is doing neither of both.

There is a Way to Implement Minimum Wage in Singapore – Remove Foreign Worker Levies

In addition, Singapore currently does not have minimum wage – one of the very few countries in the world still without one. There is a de facto minimum wage of S$1,000 for cleaners but even so, there are nearly 10% of Singaporeans who still earn less than S$1,000.

Now, employers who hire foreign workers for low-income jobs are required to pay foreign worker levies to the government.

The median wage for a construction worker is S$1,000. The employer would have to pay an up to another S$900 in foreign worker levy to hire a foreign worker.

In total, the employer would be paying S$1,900 to hire the construction worker, if based on the median wage. In total, the government collected S$2.5 billion in revenue via foreign worker levies in 2011. At the rate of growth, the government would have collected S$3 or S$4 billion last year which would have been able to provide free education for Singaporeans for more than 2 years.

If the employer does not need to pay the foreign worker levy to the government, the levy could be diverted to pay the worker which could possibly mean that a construction worker could potentially earn as high as S$1,900.

Instead of the government wanting to collect revenue from foreign worker levies, it would be more beneficial to the worker for the government to implement an industry-level minimum wage to level-up and increase wages for the different low-income occupations. (The levies are industry-based now anyway.) For example, if the lowest paid construction worker earns S$800 now and the employer has to pay a levy of S$900, this would add up to S$1,700. If so, the government can implement a minimum wage of S$1,700 for construction workers to allow the workers to earn more. (More information would be needed to calculate the exact minimum wage.) 

Where government spending is the lowest among the developed world, the government collecting more revenue is honestly meaningless when the money does not go back to the people.

Moreover, is the foreign worker levy a tax on businesses, or is it really a tax on the worker, in lost wages?

The foreign worker levy is effectively a de facto 53% tax (S$900 out of S$1,700). For construction workers who lose the potential to earn higher wages because of this, it is an implicit tax of as high as 53% that they are paying. This is on top of the 37% CPF contribution rate that they currently have to pay.

Therefore, instead of the government taking away workers’ wages in the form of foreign worker levies, I would think that a more enlightened government would return the levies to the workers and implement a minimum wage, which would have the same effect of encouraging businesses to enhance productivity but at the same time, increase wages for the workers – since businesses are already paying these manpower costs right now, but instead of paying to workers which they should rightfully do, they are made to pay the government instead.

Look at it another way, if the foreign worker levies are returned to the workers, all workers would have higher wages. Even after the worker pays personal income tax, he/she is still going to have a higher disposable income than now with the government taking the foreign worker levy wholesale and leaving the worker with much less – as much as half, which is the less desirable situation right now.

It is just a question of whether the government is one which is more profit/revenue-driven or if it is one which is more citizen-centric.

So, here are the statistics and some background information. It is up to you to have some discussion among yourselves.

There is Room to Increase Spending for Childcare and Old-Age Pension

Another comment is that the government is giving a grant of up to S$6,000 for the first and second child, for children born on or after 24 March 2016, which can be used for healthcare and childcare. Where average childcare fees are about S$1,000 and with the numerous hospitalisation bills in the earlier years of a child, the grant will not last a year, or even half a year.

This goes back to my previous point on how providing free healthcare and education, or at least much higher spending by the government on these is therefore necessary. Such current grants or the lack of unemployment benefits are insufficient to protect Singaporeans today.

Another comment is that the government will be giving the bottom 20% to 30% of elderly Singaporeans an additional pension payout of S$300 to S$750 every quarter. This amounts to only S$100 to S$250 every quarter.

Some thoughts – as it is, we still do not know what is the median CPF payout that elderly Singaporeans are able to get. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman said in 2011 that the median CPF Life payout is only S$260.

If so, even in the best case scenario, S$260 and an additional S$250 is only S$510. This is just enough for food, and maybe transport. But it will not be enough for anything else.

As such, the additional pension payout should be increased, and be given on a monthly basis. As I had explained, if each elderly Singaporean were to get S$500 every month (which would only be a total of S$760), this would amount to only a total of S$2.6 billion every month, which the surplus outlined above is more than adequate to pay for.

Also, even if the payout is given to only the bottom 30% as the government prefers, it would only add up to S$0.78 billion. Noting that there is a projected S$3.45 billion surplus this year – unused money, this would be enough to fund all elderly Singaporeans S$660 every month (which would total S$910) or to give the bottom 30% of elderly Singaporeans S$2,200 every month.

As the Centre for American Progress also writes, “Money targeted toward the long-term unemployed helped not only those individual families hardest hit by the Great Recession but also kept dollars flowing into their local communities and helped unemployed workers access health care, undoubtedly mitigating the well-documented negative health effects of unemployment.

“Clearly, there is solid evidence that government spending can create jobs in a recession as deep and protracted as the Great Recession. In fact, given current conditions, investments in infrastructure, education, and other areas are critical to job creation and boosting the U.S. economy. This is something that economic forecasters from across the political spectrum agree on: The need now is to boost demand, not cut spending,” it added.

As such, it is only prudent that the government increases its spending and investment in healthcare and education, and for the unemployed, so as to boost economic growth in the long term by generating domestic demand.

This is simply about economic sense. And the social benefits are immense.

Thank You for Your Support for the Fund Raising

As of this morning, a total of $S27,390.06 has been raised. I still have to pay another S$150,000 to the prime minister.

If you would also like to help to defray the costs and damages, you can also fund raise to the bank account at POSB Savings Bank Account 130-23068-7 (Ngerng Yi Ling) or PayPal at royngerng@gmail.com. Thank you.

The funds coming in have slowed down. But for transparency, I will continue to update on the funds raised and used, on this blog.

Meanwhile, I have also attached my LinkedIn profile here, if it might be of interest.

View Roy Ngerng's profile on LinkedIn

View Roy Ngerng's LinkedIn profile View Roy Ngerng’s profile

*****

Background: In 2014, I was sued by the Singapore prime minister for defamation. The judge ruled in a summary judgment that I have defamed him. I have apologised to the prime minister. I was ordered to pay damages of S$150,000 to him. In a settlement reached with the help of my lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, I am to pay an additional S$30,000 in costs. In total, including the previous payment that I have made to the costs of the summary judgment (S$29,000) and application for the Queen’s Counsel (S$6,000), I would have paid/will pay S$215,000. 

Last Wednesday, I have paid the first tranche of S$30,000 (of the S$180,000) to the prime minister. From April 1, 2016, for the next 5 years, I have to pay $100 every month. Thereafter, from 2021, I have to pay $1,000 every month until I finish paying.

You can read the previous updates here: [One] [Two] [Three] [Four] [Five] [Six] [Seven] [Eight] [Nine] [Ten] [Eleven]. I would like to thank Mothership.sg for reporting about the fund raising. 

You can also read the previous update on the funds raised in 2014 and its usage. I would like to thank The Straits Times for reporting about it. There were also inaccurate online reports that the funds were used to pay overseas trips. This is untrue. You can read more about these in the update here.

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26 comments

  1. alan delon

    when the time comes the whole island is run like a computer.most of majority will have to funtion like clockwork.you don’t have your own time.whatever you do is calculated like your pub bills.you will be living in borrowed time that belongs to those that are in power.you can’t hide you can’t run.the day you are born and till old age you are fabricated.
    anything that you do is like you are buying an mrt ticket or taxi meter.i am scrared.really scared! i want to hide.can anybody teach me how?many went hiding in changi prison.i don’t think thats a nice place.haiz!

  2. alan delon

    in 15 years time.you think your every months cpf drawout of a few hundred dollars will be enough for you to live?even you use it for now its already won’t be enough! that is what i mean!

    • Normal human

      Simple point, express in simple manner, at least your this one more easy to understand. Normal human cannot understand simple thing from your first one, too complicated writing – too chim to understand.

      • alan delon

        hi dear normal human, i may be not very normal because i do my own math.maybe i will be normal if cpf board can return me all my money in oa/special and medisave when i reach 55 or even 60.what is the use holding up my medisave for so many years where there is more than $45,000 of which i can’t use a single cent from my previous few admission into hospital for treatment.i can see they automaticaly deduct for insurance premiums like great eastern ins.that is why i feel cheated.you have certain portion of your hard earn money and later use to pay insurance and later medishield.if i die my children have to pay for my coffin.not insurance.so whats the big deal?i may seek overseas treatment to my choice.either traditional or western.
        if i have to die from my sickness then its gods will.so why is my money hold up?to feed those hungry wolfs?
        every single cent is every drop of my blood in my cpf.i dont care if they pay or dont pay interest.why 2.5%-3-4-5-10%? i dont need.then i will be normal!

  3. 21cgts

    Roy, money in this world is a temporary illusion since man gave in to govt demands to have their food gardens sold so as to sell you expensive HDB flats or properties and the dream that you can make a lot of money living in the city, while pushing your kids safe and sound “education”. You do not need any state laws to say you have done wrong, and you are and will continue to be richly blessed (perhaps better things to come).

    Are you still taking event and wedding photographs?

  4. Normal human

    Roy you have the freedom to do whatever you want, provided you give the due respect accordingly. We all have the freedom to swing our hands, but we can’t have the freedom to make our hands to fly for a distance to reach the other side of the room without chopping them off. Freedom needs to be bounded within the due respect of logic and culture we are in. When we try to “borrow” the meaning of freedom from one place and trying to claim what it should meant for in Singapore, a challenge against the nature will result failure eventually.

  5. Twatty

    Let’s do the Maths. $100 a month to pay PM for 5 years will yield about $6000. You have, currently, about $28 OOO. That should more then easily cover for first 5 yrs, which also means 5 solid years ahead to solicit even more money. Meanwhile, $22 000 extra, and money still trickling in for the next 17 years because, you can always say you are still technically in debt isn’t it?

    Well, now we know it pays to defame the PM. Anyone wants a go at it?

    • X

      Y u say defame when statistics don’t lie?
      No decency to even be a proper human being.
      Fucking troll. Fuck off.

    • stone headed

      dont pay a single cent! those donation money is mean to help you.even if they were to jail you for not paying up would be just a very short stint.because if its too long it will make the whole world kbow.just a few weeks like holiday getting to know hotel california and gang.why should you abide by what you are actually opposed?and the best thing is you will have the financial strenght to go for another big round of what you want to achive.then maybe a nice holiday.you come back stronger.if what your’e thinking and asking for more donation about your plight will make you a lame duck.you are finish.take my word.

  6. alan delon

    thanks for your reply normal human.i hope you don’t get me wrong.i was put into woodbrigde hospital about 30+years back for showing my unhappiness about some policies implemented.you know what the police came handcuff me and jokingly tell me they are bring me to a nice seafood restaurant that i can eat what i want.when i am being brought there the staffs look at me like a devil.the next thing 6 or 7 of them catchhold of me and tie me down on the bed using cloth ropes and later jab me with something that made me go into another world.i never get to wake up for 15years.i have to go in and out to take medication.no choice.i am addicted to what they gave me.but i was able to escape and fight away that addiction by finding food in rubbish bin to survive.i can’t work because i am weak from all the medication.a long 15 years i never forget.and now for 15 years l live in hiding.so i hope after reading what i have written is normal.i am happy.but i will fight!at least i know i existed.

  7. alan delon

    the worst thing that happen to me is i have to divorce my life and sold the flat of which i couldn’t work due to being weak after all that medication.imagine how life is for my daughter?but i manange to find and give little money to her to bring her up even with my drugged condition.was weak and without a proper job.nobody wants you in that state.but i am happy now all is over.i don’t need them telling me that they care.care my ass! i got nothing from them!

    • Rotten PAPayas

      Hi Alan Delon,

      Thanks for sharing. If pap or its minions do that to me, I may put all my effort to fight against them should they want to harm my body. You’ve got us prepared

      You should consider presenting your case to the international media.

      • a

        hi rotton papayas,thanks for your reply its already 30 plus years.i am working hard with an understanding boss now and i have made a family in indonesia.i got a nice place up the mountains.i will throw up all my storys oneday.i still live!

  8. Pingback: Thoughts on CPF and Update Thirteen of Defamation Funds | The Heart Truths
  9. Singapore Citizen Mr. Teo En Ming (Zhang Enming)

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

    OFFICIAL COMPLAINT AGAINST THE SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT FOR ALLEGEDLY FALSIFYING TEO EN MING’S MEDICAL RECORDS

    [LINK REMOVED]

    Mr. Teo En Ming (Zhang Enming)
    Singapore Citizen
    TARGETED INDIVIDUAL (TI)
    29 MARCH 2016 TUESDAY 1:36 PM SINGAPORE TIME GMT+8 UTC+8

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

    OFFICIAL COMPLAINT AGAINST THE SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT FOR ALLEGEDLY FALSIFYING TEO EN MING’S MEDICAL RECORDS

    Mr. Teo En Ming (Zhang Enming)
    Singapore Citizen
    TARGETED INDIVIDUAL (TI)
    30 MARCH 2016 WEDNESDAY 9:21 AM SINGAPORE TIME GMT+8 UTC+8

    RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR: TEO EN MING

  11. Pingback: How Much Singaporeans Should Earn and Update Fourteen of Defamation Funds | The Heart Truths
  12. Pingback: Update 15 of Defamation Funds & All-You-Need-to-Know Singapore Statistics | The Heart Truths
  13. Pingback: Defamation Funds Update 18: I Still Have to Pay the Prime Minister S$149,800 | The Heart Truths
  14. Pingback: Defamation Funds Update 19 | The Heart Truths

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