DID SINGAPORE GO DOWNHILL AFTER LEE KUAN YEW LEFT OFFICE?

After writing “A tribute to Lee Kuan Yew: What next for Singapore?” (Mar 23), I did some research and found statistics to indicate that the key policies that were implemented during the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s tenure as Prime Minister – starting going downhill about a decade after he stepped down as Prime Minister in 1990.

Number of HDB flats

For example, whilst the total number of HDB flats grew by 201,755 or 25,219 per year, in the eight years from 661,163 in 1994 to 862,918 in 2002 – it only grew by 21,438 or 3,063 per year, in the seven years from 868,774 in 2003 to 890,212 in 2010.

In other words, the average increase in flats per annum declined by a whopping 88 per cent (3,063 divided by 25,219).

Huge population increase

During this seven-year period when very few HDB flats were built – the huge influx of foreigners increased the population by a whopping 961,906 or 23 per cent, from 4.1 million to 5.1 million, from 2003 to 2010.

HDB prices

With this huge increase in the population – the HDB Resale Price Index increased a whopping 66 per cent or 7.5 per cent per annum during the same period from 75.1 in 2003 to 124.4 in 2010.

CPF interest rates

CPF interest rates which were at 6.5 per cent from 1974 to 1985, started to decline more or less, gradually from 1986 to hit the current rock bottom of 2.5 per cent on the Ordinary Account since 1999 to today.

CPF Minimum Sum

When the CPF Minimum Sum scheme was implemented in 1987 – it was only $30,000. However, it was only raised to $40,000 in 1995, and has grown astronomically to $161,000 by July 2015.

Medisave

When the Medisave scheme first started in 1984, members who withdrew their savings at age 55 were required to set aside the Medisave Minimum Sum of $5,000 or the actual Medisave Account balance, whichever was lower.

However, it too grew astronomically to what is now the Basic Healthcare Sum (BHS) of $49,800 by January next year – to replace the previous Medisave Minimum Sum of $43,500.

The BHS “will also be fixed for each cohort when they turn 65 – even though it will continue to increase over the years for younger people”.

The Medisave contribution rate has also increased from six to as much as 10.5 per cent now.

Downhill after Mr Lee Kuan Yew?

So, you can see from the above statistics and analysis that arguably, things started going downhill about a decade after Mr Lee Kuan Yew stepped down as Prime Minister – from the cheapest public housing to the most expensive in the world; from 6.5 per cent CPF interest to 2.5 per cent (the lowest real return amongst national pension schemes in the world since 1999); huge influx of foreigners; hardly any real increase in wages; etc.

We should relook the “great” policies like HDB and CPF implemented during his tenure – in the context of how they may have convoluted to become the key problems that Singaporeans have today?

Win battles lose war

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