Multi-party political system could ruin Singapore

I refer to the article “Multi-party political system could ruin Singapore: Ong Ye Kung” (Today, Jan 24).

“Formula for success” – one-party system

It states that “The Republic’s formula for success, noted Mr Ong, who is among those touted to be Singapore’s fourth-generation of leaders, could well be a one-party system.

One major long-term risk, he noted, is that a multi-party system could slow down decision-making and nimbleness while navigating an “ever-changing world and environment”.

Outcomes of “formula for success”?

So, let’s look at what our “formula of success” has become and mean to us, particularly for ordinary Singaporeans:

… most expensive city in the world (The Economist)

… in the 2nd quarter of 2016, household debt reached a record 61.1% of GDP in Singapore, which is higher than is currently found in the Euro Zone (58.9%) or China (41.85%)

… probably the highest percentage contribution (40 or 44 to 49 per cent) to the sinking fund of service and conservancy charges for public housing in the world

… probably the largest public housing sinking finds (on a per capita basis) in the world paid by residents

… arguably, the most number of restrictve laws to silence freedom of expression in the world – Sedition Act, Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill), Protection from Harassment Act, Defamation Act, may not write about or use Lee Kuan Yew’s name or image or likeness in such a way as may be construed as “(not) accorded dignity and respect” (Guidelines of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY)), cannot write about anything that may be construed as in some way, be related to “any evidence given, or any documents presented to (a Parliamentary Select) committee, or extracts“

… probably the lowest historical real rate of return of all national pension funds in the world since 1999

… probably the weakest protection of workers’ rights among all the developed countries in the world

… one of the lowest productivity growth in the world in the last decade or so

… probably the most liberal foreign labour policies and the highest influx of non-Singaporean workers (on a percentage to total labour force basis), among developed countries in the world, in the last decade or so

… one of the lowest real increase in starting salaries of tertiary graduates in the world in the last eight years or so

… Singapore’s ranking for Social Protection is 29 out of the 30 countries that make up the advanced economies in the world (WEF Index)
… almost certainly the lowest social welfare spending as a percentage of total government spending in the world

… probably the lowest claims to premiums ratio and highest accumulated surplus – national long-term care insurance scheme in the world

… probably the lowest claims to premiums ratio and highest accumulated surplus – national health insurance scheme in the world

… the highest pension contribution rate in the world (up to 38 per cent of income goes to the contribution to CPF, which reduces disposable income)

… From a cashflow perspective – we may not be spending any money on CPF (Government keeps some of the returns), HDB (land cost at market rates) or healthcare (Medisave contributions and interest on account balances every year exceeds public healthcare spending and withdrawals for medical expenses and premiums)

… Average annual cash budget surpluses (under IMF fiscal reporting guidelines) of about $20 billion a year – less spending by the Government may translate into greater spending by citizens on basic essentials of living – and less disposable income

“Formula for success” not sustainable?

Finally, looking at the above issues and problems – do you think Singapore’s “formula for success” and unique economic and social development model is still sustainable?

Leong Sze Hian

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