SINGAPORE IS A WEALTHY COUNTRY, BUT FOR WHOM?

Many people have gone to absurd extents to worship the dying old man LKY, thanking the him and PAP for building up Singapore. From an outsider’s perspective, this would seem to have some prima facie truth in it given the gleaming skyscrapers and luxurious condominiums in Singapore. However, the reality stands out like a glaring contrast when we consider the perspectives of an average man.

There was once upon a time 20 years ago where the average man on the street earned $2,000 as a fresh graduate and could purchase a 5-room flat for $90,000. Even a 1987-88 household expenditure survey showed that 1/3 of middle class households ($2000-$2499 income range) could afford to own a car. If such a state continues, then we must certainly thank the PAP but things have obviously changed.

While our GDP growth has been stellar, this certainly does not translate into better conditions for the average person. According to the South China Morning Post, Personal Consumption as a portion of GDP in Singapore fell from approximately 60% in 1977 to 35% today. Concurrently, local ownership of manufacturing and service sector fell to approximately 30% from 50% in the past 15 years.

The reality here is that we are getting richer as a country, but the main beneficiaries are foreigners and not Singapore. Instead, Singaporeans are subject to unfair policies which include a 2-year conscription term, a CPF system largely perceived as unfair, and depressing productivity and wages. A netizen commented that we “should just get any Tom, Dick and Harry to lead the country if the PAP ministers get paid millions for such a simple growth model.”

Singapore’s shares of private properties have also continued to slip since the last General Elections, making up a mere 71% of purchases in 2014. While the motives of such foreigners are not clearly known, it would appear to be largely speculative given Japanese billionaire Katsumi Tada’s $15.8 million loss on his St. Regis penthouse, something described by the media as “small change” to him.

This has obvious impact on middle-class Singaporeans. Today, Singapore has deteriorated to where 9 in 15 youths feel they cannot afford a house and a car after BTO prices have shot up to $400,000 for a new 4-room flat and COE prices hit $100,000 at their peak. When we talk about being a rich and successful nation, do our youths and middle class think the same? Or are we talking about the many gleaming condos and luxury cars owned by foreigners?

Please decide for yourself if this is the kind of government you want.

JL

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