Apr 23, 2011

Singapore's Top Election Issue

This simple, heartfelt letter to the ST Forum reflects the nation's top election issue:
Apr 23, 2011
A senior citizen's musings...

SENIOR Minister Goh Chok Tong acknowledged that the prevailing high cost of living in Singapore would be a likely issue in the coming general election ("Rising costs a likely issue: SM"; Tuesday).

He asked the people to decide who they thought would have a better solution to such problems.

I appreciate his forthrightness and am thankful for his timely reminder on this matter. But his comments have evoked mixed feelings for me.

Every time we are assured that things are still affordable, we find prices rising higher. Now we are cautioned to choose the right team to provide the solution.

The ruling party has had ample opportunity to resolve these issues, but the problems still plague us. I may now be an economically unproductive senior citizen, but I still love my country.

Fu Jiat Joon
I'll add some perspective.

Right now, the cost of living is rising in many countries, not just Singapore. One cause is the US monetary policy - as they print more and more dollars to tackle their economic woes, the excess money supply feeds into the global system and leads to inflation worldwide. In addition, food prices are escalating around the world, for a complex host of different reasons that the experts are still debating.

Nevertheless, the rising cost of living in Singapore cannot be solely attributed to external factors. In fact, the average citizen's difficulty in coping with the rising cost of living is very closely linked to an intrinsic, uniquely local factor. That factor is the PAP government's policy on immigration and foreigners. I'll explain.

A rise in the cost of living is not a problem, if it is matched with a rise in average wages. Unfortunately, over the past five years, Singaporeans have NOT been able to earn more money. Singaporeans are working as hard as ever (and in fact, hold the current world record for working the longest hours), but their incomes have been stagnating. If you don't believe me, read this.

To put it simply, while Singapore's economic growth has arguably been decent, this simply hasn't translated into a better life for the average Singaporean in the street. Our reserves may have grown; our government ministers may be drawing bigger and bigger salaries; the Bangladeshi workers and the Filipino waitresses may be feeling satisfied - but the average Singaporean just isn't getting any benefits out of the nation's success.

Why is this so? Well, wages are related to productivity. To earn more money, the Singaporean has to raise his productivity by learning new skills and gaining more knowledge in value-added areas. Companies have a role to play in this too. They have to innovate, become more efficient, invest in new technology, and in training their employees. That's how productivity can increase, together with sustainable wage growth.

But this isn't happening in Singapore. On the contrary, our labor productivity has fallen to shockingly low levels. In 2009, for instance, labor productivity growth was worse than zero. It was negative (-14.9%). And why has labour productivity fallen so badly in Singapore? It's because the PAP government's policy on foreign workers actually discourages productivity. Instead of getting Singaporeans to increase productivity by learning new skills and knowledge, the focus has instead very much been on importing more and more cheap foreign labour to do the job. To quote the Wall Street Journal:

By some estimates, a third or more of Singapore's 6.8% average annual growth from 2003 to 2008 came from the expansion of its labor force, primarily expatriates, allowing Singapore to post growth more commonly associated with poor developing nations.

At the same time, though, foreign workers have driven up real estate and other prices and made the city-state's roads and subways more congested. Their arrival has kept local blue-collar wages lower than they would be otherwise, exacerbating Singapore's gap between rich and poor.

Some economists say the most damaging effect of the immigration is that the influx appears to be putting a lid on productivity gains, as manufacturers rely on cheap imported labor instead of making their businesses more efficient. Labor productivity, or output per employee, fell 7.8% in 2008 and 0.8% in 2007—a phenomenon that could eventually translate into lower standards of living.

Lee Ah Lee, a 58-year-old who makes 850 Singapore dollars a month (about US$600) clearing tables in a cafeteria, says the flood of immigrants has made it hard to make ends meet by pushing down blue-collar pay in Singapore, which has no legal minimum wage. Sitting nearby in a drab apartment block built by Singapore's Housing Development Board, a state-owned body that constructs and sells subsidized housing, 79-year-old Lee Kwang Joo says low-skilled foreign workers are often housed in corporate dormitories, meaning they have no housing costs and can survive on lower pay.
So I hope that the direness of the situation we face, as a nation, has become clear. Obviously, we cannot completely shut the door on foreigners, especially not on foreign talent. But there is a balance that should be kept. When labor productivity falls to -14.9% and Singaporeans' wages stagnate year after year after year despite the fact that the economy is actually growing, you know that the balance has not been kept.

Goh Chok Tong talked about the rising cost of living and posed this question to Singaporeans - "Which party do you think can solve this problem?". But here are the better questions to ask yourself. In the first place, which party caused the problem? Which party IS the problem?

If you are an intelligent person, you know the answer. Vote wisely.


Anonymous said...

And in the process, the ministers pay themselves a huge bonus tied to GDP growth...

Anonymous said...

For some unknown reasons, the party that created this problem continues to be on self-denied mode and hence a wake-up call is needed in the upcoming GE.

Vote For Change which is long overdue!! Highest pay for Ministers ended up with more complacency and fingers pointing when their policies screw up Big and hurt Singaporeans badly.

Anonymous said...

All these boils down to whether, despite all these issues, the PAP thinks they can win at least 90% of the seats.

I think they have reasons to be confident as follows:

1. As a whole, majority voters still want PAP to be the government.

2. With the GRC system, even 50+ % votes can still win over 90% seats.

3. Voter profiles are quite similar in GRCs because Singapore is small and urban. Therefore if a party can win 1 GRC they can also most likely win all GRCs except for localised SMC exceptions like Hougang.

4. In the GRC system, it is either win big or lose big. If a party can win 20 or 30 seats, most likely it will also win 70 or more seats out of 87.

My conclusion:

Outcome on night of 7 May will be boring and disappointing.

Unless majority people are so fed up until they want to vote out PAP.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang(Mr Koh),

Glad to see you are blogging again.

Hope to see you blog more this coming 3 weeks, take it as a service to the country. We really need to get rid of the PAP!

Amused said...

Thanks for articulating it so clearly! Most people are not as well read and knowledgeable as you. Some of these YES-men are clearly not so smart as proven by their failed/clueless policies.

Thanks for doing this much needed public service.


Anonymous said...

Not all rise in cost of living is imported.

Rental is one big fixed cost in any business. What is the Government's role in causing rentals to be so expensive? By the use of bidding, which often than not is successfully taken up by a big cartel, that can afford to pay top dollars for any location. Stall holders will have to pay high rentals, customers like you and me suffer the consequences.

Then, there is this favourite nonsense of the HDB called upgrading of hawker centres every few short years, which will see hawkers increasing prices after each and every upgrade, because the rentals will also go up. I am starting to believe that hawkers themselves, as a whole, love upgrading. It is an opportunity not to be missed for increasing prices. Again, who suffers? Not the HDB, not the hawkers, but you and me.

Are these not things that the Government or the HDB can solve to bring down some elements of the cost of living?

Anonymous said...

My understanding of productivity is requiring one person to perform the equivalent of two persons work. The goverment promotes a lot of talks on productivity. Why we need two DPMs and SM/MM, productivity?

Anonymous said...

I am a retiree and, naturally, many of my friends are retirees too. We have all served Singapore fairly well in one capacity or another. First batch national service, second batch national service. full cycle of in camps, social work, believed in the government's call to stand up for Singapore and been generally uncomplaining. However, we feel that the government has demeaned Singaporeans by constantly stressing how beholden we are to foreigners. Some of my friends have immigrated to Australia, Britain, Thailand and the United States. No country in the world tells iys citizens they are beholden to foreign talents for their good fortune. Indeed, immigrants are constantly reminded how lucky they are to be part of the new country. In Singapore we are constantly reminded that without foreigners we are nothing.

Really? Perhaps this is the beholden mentality the government prides itself on. You know, you are beholden to us. Consider Mr Lee Kuan yew and Mr Devan nair. They needed the counrage and faith of Singapreans in the 1950s and 1960s that heeded their calls to go on strike against British imperialism and colonialism. Otherwise where would the PAP be? In the 1950s the British Empire was one of the most experienced empires in the world (you know the saying, The sun would never set on the British Empire"! The PAP was untested in the way that the opposition parties are today. Yet, did anyone say, they are inexperienced and not capable of forming a party.

Dear PAP, all we old folkies who have believed in you and your promises (many of which were not kept) simply want to be treated with honour and decency. Surely you can put aside a small percentage of your salaries to cultivate that?

Anonymous said...

They never practice what they preach!

Be bold, they tell the opposition. Well, what about being bold themselves and abolish the GRC, forget about using upgrading to buy votes and battle it out, all in single ward constituencies. Then I say the PAP is bold.

If not, don't try to confuse voters. What Singaporeans want is just more opposition in Parliament to ask questions, not to form the next Government. That can come later.

The Pariah said...

"Foreign talent" competition hits at young graduates and PMETs - competing for plump jobs in private banking, engineering, F&B, entertainment - even at supervisory and managerial levels.

Anonymous said...

"Rental is one big fixed cost in any business. What is the Government's role in causing rentals to be so expensive? By the use of bidding, which often than not is successfully taken up by a big cartel, that can afford to pay top dollars for any location. Stall holders will have to pay high rentals, customers like you and me suffer the consequences."
Anon April 23, 2011 3:46 PM

But this will add to the GDP.

Just like high land cost will add to our reserves!

Remember we do not have oil fields as natural wealth so we have to use various means (casinos included) to increase GDP, increase national reserves and ultimately increase wealth for the nation.

Never mind if people have no or not enough CPF left for their retirement, despite it being compulsory savings.

Never mind if wages for most people does not catch up with cost of living.

Never mind if birth rate is below replacement level.

As long as in the process, PAP is in no danger of being voted out.

And knowing Singapore voters, the opposition plus with GRC system, PAP knows that this will never happen.

I am sure most of you will agree.

Anonymous said...

"If not, don't try to confuse voters. What Singaporeans want is just more opposition in Parliament to ask questions, not to form the next Government. That can come later."
Anon April 23, 2011 5:32 PM

I am afraid this is not what SIngaporeans will get. There is not much chance for just more opposition to get into Parliament unless they win to form the government!

No step by step one and later then form government!

Why? Refer to comments from Anon April 23, 2011 3:04 PM in this post.

HT said...

I am male citizen. I have done my NS. From birth I have believed that it is a privilege to be a Singaporean because Singapore takes care of its citizens, provides affordable housing, is safe from crime and has multicultural and multi-religious harmony.

As a result, I believed that 2.5 years of my productive life spent doing NS at practically no earnings was worth it.

Now, HDB flats are priced in the open market and young Singaporeans find it harder to own their first home.

More and more foreigners flood Singapore and become PR so easily, and many become citizens also, without need to do NS. In the event of a war, I will need to put on my No.4 and defend these people who have shared the benefits of this country without the obligations.

Low crime rate? Let's see what happens when we are 6.5m in population with 4m of foreigners. In a more crowded society, there is increased social interaction between people hence it is inevitable to have higher crime. Or are we also going to increase our police force with foreigners?

Finally, I am beginning to see around me enclaves of foreigners who don't mix with the locals. There are the PRC group, the NRI group and of course, the caucasians. All the decades integrating the 4 main races in Singapore which have been successful are going to go down the drain with these new groups that the government is make no effort to integrate.

The social contract between the people and the government has been broken.

The government and media continually remind us that Singapore is a better place to live than many others but which of these require all their male citizens to compulsorily sacrifice 2.5 years of their lives to do NS? I have paid my dues. Time for the government to honour their promises.

Anonymous said...

How do we answer critics who said that some Singaporeans do not want to do some "blue collar" jobs and they have to employ low-wage foreign workers? Anyone?

Anonymous said...

To the question about lue collar jobs and Singaporeans not willing to take these up the answer is simple.

If I am working in the UK for two years and my home in in Thailand I can accept low wages because these translate into lots of Thai bahts when I return home. If I am living and raising a family in the UK would i be able to afford this on a salary that is large by Thai standards but low by UK standards?

This logic by the government that Singaporeans do not wish to work at blue collar jobs is twisted. But I guess that's what high salaries pay for.

Anonymous said...

To Anon@5:57

This is not a problem exclusive to Singapore. US and UK are grappling with the same issues which are the result of globalisation and also being a first world nation.

Difference is many of these countries have state-sponsored welfare programs and also their politics involve rigorous discussions between the government and the electorate and between political parties, on how to resolve this problem or at least mitigate the adverse impact on the citizens.

On the other hand, in Singapore, we are constantly instructed that FT is important and no open discussion takes place to debate this or even attempt to find a balance, due to the lack of any real opposition in parliament

Anonymous said...

Who does the govt work for? If their logic of chasing after foreign MNC is that it creates job for S'poreans, then why are majority of the jobs gone to foreigners instead (yes, i have included PR in this category, it is sneaky to lump PR with S'poreans since a foreigner working in Singapore for short while can get PR easily)?

Anonymous said...

"How do we answer critics who said that some Singaporeans do not want to do some "blue collar" jobs and they have to employ low-wage foreign workers? Anyone?"

Just ask them back this question. How many of those 'blue collar jobs' & low-wage foreign workers can afford to get married, have hdb flats of their own, have children & having to support the family with the low wage they are getting and all the normal obligations that singaporeans need to do - yearly reservist call up and contributing full 20% cpf (w/o exemption).

Anonymous said...

To be fair inflation is a global issue.

Singapore tackles inflation through its exchange rate policy. How long can we rely on this? The strong exchange rate is making Singapore an extremely expensive place to do business in.

But at the same time it is attracting all kinds of foreigners wanting to locate here due to exchange rate and tax, and there-by adding more stress to the already limited housing and transport problems.

For the disadvantaged Singaporean who lost out on quality of life due to globalization and the influx of foreigners, the government (not the employer) should compensate them if the government does not agree to minimum wage. It is strange there is a huge pile of economic theories the government can produce to explain why minimum wage should not implemented, but an 800k pay increment for the president needs no explanation.

Lets do the right thing for those who have fallen back.

Anonymous said...

Their salary is tied to the top income earners, so the wider the income gap, the better it is for them!

Anonymous said...

Let's play our part by sharing the needs of voting for opposition to at least 1 more person. one at a ttime and we will garner more votes to have opposition represent us to check on e govt.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Folks, if you found my post worth reading, please do me (and other Singaporeans) a favor.

Email the link to your friends; share the link on your Facebook account; copy & paste the article onto your Internet forums etc. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

How in the world did we end up with ministers' salaries benchmarked against the public sector, election rules being tempered with and resulting in the introduction of GRCs, and allowing the Government to let in so many foreign workers and tempering with our CPF rules, etc is an injustice to future generations, that the present generation must answer for.

Our forefathers were more steadfast in fighting for their rights and left us their legacy. We did not. We cashed in our children's future for a little handout and succumbed to a little veiled threat.

We will live to regret for not doing the right thing at the ballot box over the years.

Anonymous said...

I feel the ultimate basis for all these arguments is with the factor - redistribution.

Of cos the implementation of these recent years policies(PR Foreigners influx, Financial Hub, IR Gaming etc) helps churn up a very substantial revenue for the Govn(which it is one of the very effective policies for Sg to progress), it is the re-distribution of these positive returns back to most of local born Singaporeans, with the surging prices of namely HDB Housing, GST, Transport & Medical cost that is not fairly adjusted especially to the main segment of middle - low income families.

Imagine the shock I had when the announcement came about for the $9k grant issued to every NSman by the government(And not all of us will get it). Looking at how the prices of these 1000sf HDB space that has already shot up by $100k averagely, I seriously wonder how good can this $9k make do with the rest of the appreciated difference of "Compulsory Debt Asset in view that which average-income Singaporean will have to buy an HDB? ". So based on personal capacity, the average Singapore has to seek the difference elsewhere, which of course can be converted easily into "Future Debt - Loan" since HDB or Banks can grant the remaining difference. This left me pondering on the kind of principles applied by the Govn, whether if this is just a sweetie package to ease of the many complaints found in the affected groups, or they think that having given this grant, there should not be further complaints anymore.

Now we are getting the GST Growth Package by 1st May, it makes me think again what is going to happen once we are done with the GE2011. 10-11% GST? Increase of ERP/COEs prices?? And where did the rest of the revenue generated go to?? I tried googling around for answers, nothing found, i guess some of it went to the recently announced 30% increment & 8 months bonus for civil servants which translates to "XX" million S$$???

I deem myself to be very fortunate to have access to online internet exposure, seeing how many citizens like me feel to be in this "First Class Swiss" environment. There is still a big pool of them, esp the elderly who are not able to see what has been done, or rather sitting there powerless unable to change anything about the system. They might be just roaming out now in the streets collecting the beverage cans you've just finished, or some cardboards/newspaper trying to make ends meet and survive for another day.

I know though what I can do for this GE is minimal, my view stands clear so long i still hold on to the pinky card Govn has issued me and everything remains status-quo on their policy making principles.

Last of all, if time comes to a stage that I run out of options to consider, only to see myself "force-blending" into this environment, well we can still choose to give up the card and head off elsewhere, isn't it?? Not all, but Some.

Good luck to All, Vote Wisely.

Anonymous said...

What is sickening is that these ministers and pap MPs going round deploring food sellers in hawker centres not to raise price even though the rental price has increased significantly. Anyone with intelligence could see that it is because election is coming and raising food price will raise even more angst sentiments, and result in less vote for PAP. But what is less obvious to many is that these food sellers are just pawn in PAP's game, and definitely PAP will allow the food sellers to raise price after election instead of lowering rent, using the ShittyTimes and media to make PAP look like hero to food sellers !

We have seen this happening from time to time. Food sellers should not be pawn to PAP neither should all citizens of Singaporeans.

Yes. Please vote wisely because the next wave of foreigners coming in will surely dilute the voice of singaporeans further. There is just no redemption after that.

Anonymous said...

Have done that mr wang! Hope more will read it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mr Wang. I vote for change.

Ghost said...

I agree with you Singapore labor productivity has fallen and it is due to the PAP government's policy on foreign workers. But I disagree with you on this policy discouraging Singaporeans to increase productivity by learning new skills and knowledge.
I think it is simpler than that. Foreign workers from China don't speak English so anytime a customer/client who don't speak Mandarin enter the door, the foreign worker has to direct the customer/client to a English-speaking worker. Same with Filipino workers who cannot Mandarin.
Productivity goes down everytime this happen as time is wasted directing and re-directing the customer.

Raelynn said...

Ghost, while we may have an influx of non mandarin speaking FT and they have a problem with english speaking only customers, in my experience as a consumer, it often turns out that a mandarin speaking customer helps to translate, or mandarin speaking customers who asked the question in english simply changed the language of the question. i do not disagree with your stand that productivity still does go down even with the influx of FT because of various reasons such as lack of understanding of the products they are selling (i.e lack of training provided by companies, i see this quite often when buying beauty products).

if i'm not mistaken, the US is sort of a little more relaxed now that the japanese government is pumping in a lot of money in view of the recent catastrophes.

back to the election issues, a PAP candidate mentioned recently about how terrible it is to have opposition parties "borrowing" members from other opposition teams, while GCT mentions about having a buddy system where a MP from one division partners with another MP in another division and do cross MPS so that "Two MPs would now be very familiar with two wards. Whereas if you have only one MP covering one ward, only one MP is familiar."

while you may argue that the difference is that in PAP's case, well, they are all PAP members, "borrowing" members from another opposition team can also help to improve the quality of suggestions and solutions during brainstorming and implementation, so as long as they are all putting the voters' wellbeing as the top priority.

and then we have shanmugam saying "why is WP so reluctant to admit it wants to take over the government" and that "its intention seems to be 'to block constitutional changes, policies' in House" (both are taken as headlines or sub headings in straits times saturday 23 april 2011). erm. so what if WP doesnt admit that it wants to take over the government? and what do you mean TAKE OVER THE GOVERNMENT? please stop using sensational words to create buzz. are you saying that a government cannot be made up of political parties who each have their own beliefs and still come to make compromises? are you saying that only a single party can create an effective government? (note that i am saying effective, not efficient.) and what is wrong with members of the parliament or political parties blocking constitutional changes or policies so as long as they believe that such acts are not in the best interest of their fellow citizens?

PAP should seriously stop shooting themselves in the foot.

if i am mistaken in my interpretations, kindly enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

Tying wages/bonuses of Ministers to GDP causes a conflict of interest. Not satisfied with a developed nation's "slower" GDP growth, they increase GDP, benefiting themselves, while the ordinary Singaporean loses out. Do their put themselves or the welfare of Singaporeans first? I believe that the answer is plain for all to see.

Visa said...

By the way- it is highly likely that the Forum writer's opinions have been manipulated to be misleading/ambiguous!


Anonymous said...

By definition, only the PAP can solve our problems. Only it has an A Team, only it has the critical mass of talents (we are not talking of one or two individuals but an entire team) to cover all aspects of governance and policy making. More importantly, only it has the system of identifying and filtering out the best of the best. It needs the absolute power that the people has always given to have the freedom to react to external circumstances and continue to bring the goodies we have come to enjoy.

In the old days, when one gets a wise emperor, one must put all faith in him and ask no question.

Anonymous said...

It is a myth perpetuated by the PAP that only they can solve problems here in Singapore.

What big problems do we have? Any earthquakes like those in China, Japan and Indonesia? Or volcanic eruptions like those in Indonesia and Philippines? Any serious tsunamis like those in Indonesia and Japan? Or floods in Thailand and Malaysia? How big are the problems that the Government of those countries faced in dealing with those crisis, compared to what the PAP has to deal with?

Given the kind of problems in other countries, I think the PAP is having a relatively cosy job running this little rock compared to our Asian neighbours.

Our intermittent spat with our neighbours are more likely created by those with big egos and equally big mouths to shoot, in a sense to create a bogeyman that helped to foster the insecurity fears, so as to enable them to consolidate their hold on the people.

I tend to think that heaven has a bigger hand in shaping this country, that is blessed with all the good fortunes of escaping calamities, than just giving all the credit to the PAP.

In perspective, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong have also progressed without someone like the MM or the PAP Government. So does our northern neighbours, Thailand and Malaysia, only at a less pronounced pace.

By the way, did they not also warned many decades ago, that if a constituency falls to the Opposition, it will become a slum, with rubbish up to the third storey? Did not the WP run the Town Council in Hougang for two decades, and despite all the financial penalties imposed on them, still did an excellent job of it? Sure, Hougang lags behind in getting upgrading, but in terms of upkeep, it will put many PAP run constituencies to shame. I should know, because I live in Hougang.

And were we really a swamp before the PAP took over? That's one big exaggeration to make the PAP look even better.

Parka said...

We're working long hours and yet we're unproductive. Something's wrong with the equation.

Anonymous said...

Now PAP is very desperate. Khaw Boon Wan used his religion in an attempt to ward off criticism that he has told S'poreans to go to JB for healthcare. He is mixing politics with religion

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...April 24, 2011 12:16 PM

They are in full overdrive creating red herrings to divert your focus from the main issues like costs of living, influx of foreigners and rising prices of HDB new flats, etc.

But it may backfire as people will have their own peculiar ways of interpreting their messages.

Donnie Lee said...

I believe that strengthening the SGD to curb inflation is only a "smoke screen".

As a small business owner, it is very clear to me that most of the cost of doing my business is not imported but INCURRED locally in SGD. The major costs of doing business in Singapore such as rental, manpower, tax, transportation, license fees, utilities are ALL in SGD. All these continue to increase regardless how strong the SGD is!!! Zero effect!!!

Raising the SGD against other currencies only serve to make my offering even worse off outside of Singapore!!!

The only people that the stronger SGD help are probably people that earn their money in SGD here and transfer their earnings out of Singapore. Yes. The FT, FW, EP holders etc.

Anonymous said...

The PAP gave themselves too much credit for our success. If we had been some African state, I do not think the PAP can replicate same success. It is all down to S'pore citizens who heed the government's call to work hard and scarifice. Now that all this is done by our early pionners and current citizens/workforce, keep to your end of the bargain and do not betray the trust, which I believe they already had. We have given them enough chances, do not push us too far.

Anonymous said...

Strong Sing dollar benefits the FT working here as well as the rich Singaporeans so they can go buy properties overseas cheaper.

Strengthen Sing dollar to combat inflation? Then by logic electricity price, petrol price and food price will drop, but funnily these are still going up?? if both Sing dollar and these necessities are still going up, then someone must be making double profit!

And the MAS head who is responsible for this policy is our next generation minister....

Anonymous said...


What you have said is so true!!

Anonymous said...


87:0 if Low ever finds the balls to leave Hougang.

Anonymous said...

Oh Low Thia Khiang has balls alright. He has three smart kids to show.

But if the PAP people have marbles, they should abolish GRCs, not resort to vote buying with goodies, and contest all wards as SMCs. Then we can really say that the 87:0 in favour of the PAP are all won on merit.

DnYeo said...

Still on the topic on inflation.

It sometimes amazes me that SGD has strengthened 30 pct against HKD and yet it is cheaper to buy imported goods in HK when we convert it back to SGD. Not forgetting that cost of rental is also higher is HK. There is absolutely no consumer protection in Singapore. Just as an example, I bought a pair of shoes at "Herringshoes UK" online at 40 percent cheaper than Takashimaya. So much for shoppers paradise.

SGD protection against inflation? something must be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Wang

I refer to the following comment on this issue,

'The PAP gave themselves too much credit for our success. If we had been some African state, I do not think the PAP can replicate same success. It is all down to S'pore citizens who heed the government's call to work hard and scarifice. Now that all this is done by our early pionners and current citizens/workforce, keep to your end of the bargain and do not betray the trust, which I believe they already had. We have given them enough chances, do not push us too far.'

I agree with the writer. I always tell people from my generation, we have nothing to be ashamed of. We built up Singapore. We contributed and slavrd for the country. My mother took part in a Lee Kuan Yew led strike against the British. She has since passed away but I remember her telling me how frightened she was ebecause her employers threaten to sack them. But they stuck on with the strike FOR THE SAKE OF SINGAPORE. My brother in law was burnt in a shipyard fire in those days when pay was bad and people were slaving.We all did National service and to his credit Dr Goh Keng Swee has written about how out of place the early NS men felt. But we did it because it was a job. Is the Government saying now that they did everything and we owe them our prosperity?

Come, come we are not that stupid.?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

I think the key cause of rising cost of living in Singapore is the price of property - something which is wholly within the control of the Government.

People do not see it, but property price is the key to the bulk of price inflation in Singapore. Everything you consume, every service you use has a land-related component to it.

Shops selling goods have to pay rent, warehouses storing them pay rent, the people working in shops have to live somewhere. Trace back everything and you will find land price in there.

When land prices go up, everything has to go up with it. Land price influences cost of living almost as much, if not more than, oil price.

Hence Government cannot disclaim responsibility for rising cost of living because the biggest component of it is well within their control!

Anonymous said...

I voted the for the opposite party for the past election.
However, I am out of job now , at
the age of 50,It is not easy to get a new job.

The PAP candidate visited my house
said he could assist.

I am wondering whether I should vote for him since I am need a job desperately.

Anonymous said...

Lost your job? Poor thing. Did you lose it to a cheaper foreigner from China imported by the PAP? Don't worry, the PAP will help you to find another job. A lower-paying one, of course, but you should still be grateful, right? After all, the PAP has "helped" you.

WAKE UP, LAH. Read Mr Wang's post again. This is exactly what he was writing about.

Anonymous said...

On the issue of employing foreign workers, my friend who is in a manufacturing company shared that her company tried to employ Sg workers but to no avail. They even tried engaging the help of agents but was still unsuccessful. The potential Sg workers turned down the jobs because they are required to go on shifts. Finally, her company had no choice but to hire PRC and Malaysian workers. In view of such an example, the increased number of foreign workers cannot be attributed to the government policy alone. I have heard of other cases when jobs are being turned down by Singaporeans coz of long working hours or they find the jobs too tough.

Anonymous said...

Ask your friend, how much is she offering the Sg workers. If it's the same rate as the ft, then the same above signature is for her : WAKE UP, LAH.

*The old saying : You Pay Peanuts .. You Get Monkeys!

Raelynn said...

hahaha the "WAKE UP, LAH"s are very funny.

but i agree that employers have to realise that singaporean workers have a lot to bear on their shoulders. i believe that singaporeans are willing to do shift work, as long as the salary that they are paid compensates their sacrifice of doing shift work and working on weekends. singaporeans are unlike FTs who come to singapore to work. singaporeans have mouths to feed, have children to bring up, have families whom they have to spend time with, have parents to take care, have maids to pay for when both parents are working, have medical bills to foot, all in singaporean dollars. not to forget that when you say that you are hiring engineers, you are looking at a candidate who possesses most likely an engineering degree from NUS or NTU. like it or not, it is a degree. hiring singaporeans may not be the cheapest option, yes, it may turn out to be the most expensive option as well, but you walk away knowing that you help put food on a fellow citizen's table.

i mean, there must be a darn good reason why you see australian construction workers but not singaporean construction workers right. and i'm not talking about supervisors. i mean the actual real workers. and the only reason why they are willing to do the job instead of giving it to foreigners, is that the salary puts food relatively comfortably on the table, they have a public welfare system in place to take care of medical needs, the companies hiring the workers realise that the only way to attract australians is if the salary is acceptable. oh, and not forgetting that there probably is a construction worker's union to bargain for minimum wage.

but before you think that all these things that you see in australia is terrible, a minimum wage is going to bring down singapore's economy, a public welfare system is going to throw us into the depths of the sea, hey, australia's still standing right. we still see malls in australia being built. we still see companies going to australia to increase their global exposure.

Anonymous said...

Yep .....

The PAP feeds Singaporeans with lots of myths, and unfortunately many Singaporeans believe many of these myths.

"Singapore cannot have a two-party system, we must have one party." Goodness gracious, what absurdity! Almost every other country in the world, whether big or small, has more than one party, why can't Singapore??

Only communist countries like China, and dictatorships like North Korea and Iraq (under Saddam Hussein), have one party.

Anonymous said...

@Fw issue

I have checked with my friend about the pay. They offered higher pay for singaporeans and gave priority to them. The reasons singaporeans gave for turning down the job besides shift work, are the jobs are dirty and oily. Our forefathers wouldn't have minded all these as long as they could bring home food for their families and pay for all other expenses. If one needs to support one's family, wouldn't one grab the first job that comes by? SIGH

Raelynn said...

@Anon April 26, 2011 2:03 PM

if the pay was indeed sufficient to put food on the table and pay for the expenses and yet singaporeans turned the job down because of the reasons you stated, then indeed maybe the ones who responded to the hiring exercise were being picky. as a third party who has no information on the actual job description and the remuneration in return, this is the best conclusion that i can come to. you have my curiosity piqued though, about what was the hiring exercise about, and also what was the academic calibre of the candidates who responded to the hiring exercise.

Anonymous said...

@ Raelynn

Checked with my friend about the academic qualifications of the people. They are fresh polytechnic grads, which means most of them do not have as much financial responsibilities as a person with a family to support and most likely they live with their parents which means they can save on rental.

Raelynn said...

@Anon April 26, 2011 5:49 PM

ahhh i see. do you mind leaving an initial for response?? easier to reply, dont have to copy and paste etc. hahaha.

i hope you do not take what i'm going to say the wrong way, i am merely describing what i see based on my experience, an alternative possibility. i'm currently studying in SIM, and quite a large proportion of SIM students come from poly dip background, from IT dip to engineering dip to law dip to biz and mgmt dip. in singapore,with academic inflation, it is not easy to go anywhere with just a poly dip hence a significant proportion of them come to SIM to study for a bachelor degree right after finishing their dip. it is common to see SIM students whom are full time students who are working part time to help their parents pay for their fees or part time students who have a full time day job. tuition and course materials and exam fees are not cheap, and a shift routine is very likely going to hinder their degree studies. just my two cents worth about the issue, it is totally possible that they simply do not want to commit to a job that they perceive to be dirty and oily and i am very impressed that your friend had offered higher pay to singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Which government's salaries is the highest in the world?
Which country has the most old people still working in a fast food restaurant?
Which citizen in a democratic country has not voted for 20 years?

Anonymous said...

some MP & minister have not served the NS...

Anonymous said...

SINGAPORE .. SINGAPORE .. SINGAPORE .. Graduates .. All your Papers you collected now will be as good as toilet Papers in 15 years time. You will be replace by young FT.

Pls don't be in our shoes .. We in our 40's - 65's ... struggling to put food on our table.

Whenever we brought up the issue .. they will response that their so called TRYPANTAT (Consist of some of their goons department) going to look into it. So far no help given but the problem getting worst.

Give them another 5 years .. Prepare for these :

Lee Kuan Yew: Singapore needs 900,000 foreign workers on work permits (only)

*PAP strongman Lee Kuan Yew announced lately that Singapore still needs 900,000 foreign workers on work permits and the number does not include those on S and E passes who are potential Singapore PRs and citizens in the making.


How the train experience so far? .. Only blokes doesn't realize that PRC and foreigner would rush in like a pack of wolfs as soon as the train arrive. Don't worry .. our garmen has prepared the roof top for Singaporean .. Reminds me of trains in India, Indonesia ..etc..

You're are not forever young .. remember that ..

I rest my case

Ps...I got children of my own ... Right now .. I'm so worried about their future ... With hdb flat costing about $200-$300 ... and they got to compete with cheap FT.

May God bless you young Singaporean.

Anonymous said...

Corrected my posting : With hdb 3 rm flat costing about $200-$300$200-$300

Anonymous said...

I agree that much of the cost in Singapore is attributed to cost of rentals. The issue is also demand & supply. With limited land space, and increased population, price of space invariably goes up. But I shudder to think that MM lee thinks there is still room for 900k foreigners and we could have 6.5 million on this island. I am feeling the strain as it is... How much population is enough?!

Anonymous said...

I deeply apologized for the typo errors .. It should be : With hdb 3 rm flat costing about $200K - $300K

Anonymous said...

Garbled thinking by many of those posting here, and with regard to foreigners, predictably racist. How many of the pampered young wish to repair roads, build buildings, serve tables and collect the trash? And does anyone really think that global companies would really employ foreigners if there was local talent available? Fully 40% of the population is from overseas, yet the local labor market is tight (2.2% unemployment). Foreigners are taking nobody's jobs, they are merely filling the demand (at both ends of the salary spectrum) which the Singapore labor market cannot or will not supply. If all the foreigners left, does anyone posting here really believe that the locals could take up the slack....? Singapore's success is founded upon an open arms policy to allow the world's best companies a secure and stable environment to do business. It has worked brilliantly, to the benefit of them and also most Singaporeans. Disaster and poverty await anyone who tampers with it....