Ten ugly facts about PM Lee National Day rally speech:
1. No change at all – nothing much has changed about the PAP’s philosophy and way of governance, you are pretty much on your own and no one owes you a living. If you don’t have enough CPF to retire, pledge your house, if you have no house to pledge, haul cardboards or clean tables till you die. The government won’t give you a dollar for your retirement but reward themselves handsomely from the coffers by the millions each year. The people want to see some change in the system but the speech seems to perpetuate the PAP’s way of life – you are pretty much on your own come what may.
2. CPF minimum sum – this sum will increase to $161,000 by next year even though less than 50% of the population now are not able to meet this annual moving target and it will get worst as more locals find it difficult to look for work with the increasing foreigner influx. The withdrawal mechanism still stays the same despite protests earlier this year for a more flexible withdrawal method than a permanent fund lock-in that will only return your money at age 63 similar to a annuity mode.
3. Pledge your home and retire – this is not something new as NTUC Income has being assisting in this “home remortgage” programme for the past decade but the complexity of the programme makes it difficult for many people to want to participate in this scheme as a mold for retirement. At best, less than 10% of the population will benefit from home pledging as a means to supplement retirement.
4. Pioneer generation rugged – the PM talks about a rugged pioneer generation which can take much knock and hardship signalling the fact that this vulnerable group will likely be pretty much on their own. For all the fanfare raised on the $9-billion Pioneer Generation Package, it’s all but a hollow propaganda bonanza that promises nothing much in reality.
5. Talk about Roy – PM talked about Roy but not the one he sues, its about someone who struggled and made it in life. Using such life example to encourage Singaporeans help but not all are like him and there are alot of other people struggling right now with low wages and fail to see the light for themselves.
6. More assistance for young people to get jobs – he talks about a co-ordinated effort by government agencies to ensure that our younger generation will get better assistance along the way in a more challenging work environment as more foreigners are coming into the picture. But this has being going on for a while and the struggles seem real as we are starting to see graduates as young as in their 20s struggling to find employment opportunities. Most work in one or two year contract and have to look for another job when their contract ends.
7. No mention of 6.9 million PWP – strangely for the second year running, there is not much talk of the population white paper even though it fuelled two large protests last year and a local hostile resistance against the Filipino national day celebration at Ngee Ann city earlier this year. Perhaps, our PM deliberately avoids talking about it for fear that it will make matters worse.The overcrowding and job competition should be at its worst now since independence and many Singaporeans are eyeing migration as a way of escape.
8. Low wages not addressed – the most pressing issue on low wages against runaway increase in food prices is not addressed though 40% of our working population currently earns $2000 and below. This factor alone is enough to turn many PAP supporters into vote swingers. If you can’t survive properly with the current regime, there is no point to continue supporting one.
9. Loss of hope – the entire speech does not resonate with hope but seems to hollowly repeat what the government is trying to do all along but always falling short. The execution of some ingenious ideas is still not there and somehow after a while people get cynical and question the validity of some PAP scheme. For example, the CPF scheme is a wonderful co-savings plan for retirement purpose but along the way it gets muddled up with housing and investment purposes. The government also over-depends on the CPF idea to push its own agenda of self sufficiency for the population at all cost.
10. 50th year anniversary celebration – all eyes will be on next year’s 50th year anniversary as the government currently struggles with a feisty population wanting more say on how their CPF money is being used. We expect some goodies will be released and maybe hopefully even the entire CPF retirement scheme is being overhauled. After the massive gala year-long celebration, the election should come very soon…