Senior Minister of State (Health) and Deputy Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Koh Poh Koon came under fire over his comments about minimum wage. He disagreed with The Workers’ Party (WP) proposal for a $1,300 monthly minimum wage and chose to defend his PAP’s Progressive Wage Model (PWM) as a better alternative. He quoted statistics that around 56,000 workers (of whom 32,000 are full-time workers) earn less than $1,300 monthly after Workfare disbursements and CPF contributions by employers.
Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh gave a fiery response asking why the PAP cannot consider covering these low-wage workers immediately because 32,000 is a significant number and they are also Singaporeans who need help. Koh Poh Koon claimed that retraining and upskilling these low-wage workers will benefit them more than implementing a minimum wage. Perhaps he thinks earning anything below $1,300 monthly at this moment is acceptable?
As a sign of how disconnected from reality Koh Poh Koon is, even CPF millionaire guru Loo Cheng Chuan has spoken out against bringing home anything less than $1,300. In a recent blog post, Loo Cheng Chuan was surprised to learn that retiree HDB households get an average of $1,522 monthly for their retirement needs. He views that a $1,522 monthly retirement income is barely enough even for a retiree couple due to Singapore’s high cost of living.
If millionaires like Loo Cheng Chuan feel $1,522 monthly is barely enough for a retiree couple, it is questionable how elite minister Koh Poh Koon feels low-wage Singaporean employees can survive with less than $1,300 monthly.