CHALLENGE OF THE "3 PEAKS" CAUSED BY PAST GOVT POLICIES?

According to the Straits Times news report S’pore faces challenge of ‘three peaks’: Swee Say“ (Aug 28) – “The leaders who emerge from the Sept 11 General Election will have to tackle key challenges posed by peaks in Singapore’s workforce, population and the elderly.

Calling them the “three peaks”, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said yesterday that much is at stake at the polls because strategies will have to be found to address the implications of these issues.”

Who caused the “three peaks” in the first place?

Arguably, the gravity of the situation now in regards to the “three peaks” may have been due in no small part to the Government’s policies.

“Singapore’s workforce”

For example, an estimated 47 per cent of the workforce is now non-Singaporean (38 per cent foreigners and 9 per cent permanent residents (PRs)), excluding new citizens.

153,923 new citizens were granted from 2007 to 2014.

There was hardly any real increase in the basic, gross and total wage (excluding employer CPF contribution) of all Singaporean workers (full-time and part-time), in the last 16 years or so.

“Population”

Increasing the non-Singaporean population to about 39 per cent (excluding new citizens) of the total population.

Allowing an estimated 150,000 new citizens, PRs, Dependent Pass (DPs), foreign workers, foreign students, etc, on the average, annually.

“The elderly”

The primary problems of the elderly may be in the areas of low retirement funds and healthcare.

The Government has been keeping an estimated 3 per cent of the annualised returns derived from our CPF funds historically, instead of returning it to CPF members, like all other national pension funds in the world.

The Government was not spending any money on healthcare from a cashflow perspective – as annual Medisave contributions and annual Medisave interest always exceed annual public healthcare spending and withdrawals from Medisave.

Perhaps, unless the policies are reviewed and changed – the “three peaks” may get even higher.

Leong Sze Hian

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