The danger when a future Prime Minister does not understand economics

Speaking at the Public Sector Transformation Awards ceremony on Wednesday (4 Jun), Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that a new mindset is required for civil servants to transform Singapore’s public service.

“If we keep doing things the same way, we will do injustice to ourselves and our country. If we are not careful, we will be left behind in the dustbin of history.”

Minister Chan outlined 4 key principles that he believed should be adopted: first, to keep up with a digital age, to apply design thinking to enhance the end-user’s experience, to apply systems thinking for and to collaborate with Singaporeans to solve Singaporean’s problems.

He also talked about how Singapore’s economic growth is “rather depressing” at 2% to 3% a year.

“Many people say that we have reached a certain level of growth, that going forward, it will be 2 to 3 per cent growth on average. That sounds rather depressing. If it’s 2 to 3 per cent growth on average, what does it mean for the economy, what does it mean for opportunities for our people?”

He then added that the 3% was an average and there are sectors which are growing while there are also sectors which are declining. The role of the public service is therefore to enhance those fast growing sectors while helping the contracting sectors.

He added: “If each of us continues to aspire in our respective sectors to work on the plus 5 per cent, then actually there is no reason to believe that we will be always 2 to 3 per cent. I say this with a heavy heart because we should not get into a mode whereby we think that the average is sufficient”.

Can developed economies grow as fast as developing economies?

While economies such as China, India, Cambodia, Myanmar, and even the Philippines have recorded astounding growth rates of 6% to 8% a year, economists have said that it is much harder for developed economies to attain that rate. This is because the high growth rate of developing economies is due to “catch up growth” which is not afforded to developed economies.

“In a developed country – the [Infrastructure, Technology, Education, Healthcare etc etc] has already been completed. [After all of these have been done], it becomes more and more difficult to progress. The game gets harder and harder as you move up the value chain [By contrast, developing countries] still have to build good infrastructure [such as] a manufacturing base, education, and healthcare”.

“Developing countries have the potential to grow faster because they are in a position to pursue ’catch-up growth’ by applying technologies previously invented in the developed countries. In contrast, developed countries are already operating at, or close to, the technological frontier, and as a result have no one to catch up with”.

Singapore’s own benchmark?

Last Jan, ST editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang had asked at a forum why Singapore’s economy was growing at a slower rate. PM Lee Hsien Loong then acknowledged that Singapore’s economy is in a different phase at present as compared to the time when it saw annual growth of 5 per cent to 6 per cent.

He added that the government was “closely monitoring” Singapore’s economy, which is on a “steady path” as a whole. By PM Lee’s yardstick, the economy will have done well if it continues to grow by 2% to 3% every year for the next 10 years decade.

This was late echoed by the Committee for Future Economy the following month, when it laid out 7 steps that Singapore could adopt for future expansion. It was there and then that the committee similarly set a growth target of 2% to 3% per annum for the future.

So, given that the economy is set to grow with a rate that is below 3%, would Chan still say that his boss’s performance is “rather depressing” and “insufficient”?

 

Kwok FangJie

 

 

 

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27 Responses to “The danger when a future Prime Minister does not understand economics”

  • N.Jungne:

    The Suzhou Industrial Park investment from 65% down to 35%, to him is progress. Mati lah don’t how will be enough if he is chosen.

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    If NOT for the UNNECESSARY building of all the rubbish and MORE to come in Paya Lebar…Jewel??? or shitpot we would be in Recession or Technical recession as the PAP like to address the issue of RECESSION…Stop the IMPORTS of FTs & FWs and we can declare ourselves as a Possible Failed State with all the MIW Running Road

    The Future really looks BLEAK with the Dynasty using the squabble as a Reason to Run Road first and the Owl claiming its 2nd Member @ Istana after a Final Visit in August 2017…Two Years that is all the Sashaying dragon has got NO MORE most likely less!!!

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  • Bapak:

    Do not send a boy to do a man’s job.

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  • Concerned:

    Based on what he says, Chan is clueless about Most things.
    He also does not know his basics or check his facts.
    Neither is he aware when he should keep his mouth shut.
    It would be dangerous to have such a person as a leader.

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  • oxygen:

    KEE CHIU REALLY LIVES IN FANTASY WORLD OF NO REALITY – civil service is stuck in the cocoon of selective communication with peasants – they respond to peasants’ pleading with email which is designed with DO NOT REPLY EXCLUSION. In other words, DON’T CONTACT US, WE CONTACT YOU with information/response we like you to hear or COMPELLED TO ACCEPT, LIKE IT OR NOT.

    MY RELIABLE INFORMED SOURCE TOLD ME. Netizens with experience in dealing with public service know whether this is TRUE OR FALSE.I believe my source is 100% correct of accuracy.

    Some parts of statutory service is blatantly hostile to truth and reality – remember Fernvale Lea debacle? It was a ganged up against peasants’ objection contrary to law application and reality. One month after implosion, Penang hara kiri cow confessed – the collective public service were wrong – Life Corporation is unlawfully awarded the land-use contract. EVEN SIGNED CONTRACT GOT REVERSED AFTER THE FACT.

    WHAT FIACKING LAW -forget responsive or irresponsible public service in hiding and cover-up for one month before silly cow reversed decision!

    PUBLIC SERVICE IS NEAR DEAD WORM OF MIND INDPEPENDENCE AND BLIND TO LAW AND REALITY – OBEDIENT DOGS COLLECTING PAY ONLY GIVING LIP SERVICE.

    AM I WRONG???

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  • oxygen:

    KEE CHIU GOT THIS ONE WRONG AGAIN – want more than 3% growth WITHOUT A DOMESTIC ECONOMIC PILLAR?

    HE IS IGNORANT OF ECONOMIC REALITY – Present Tense failed for nearly 15 years now flooding in EXOGENOUS GROWTH STIMULUS via foreign labor influx. So he thinks he can do better?

    HOW?

    BY DOUBLING THE RATE OF FOREIGN INFLUX AS ECONOMIC STEROID STIMULUS TO GENERATE CONSUMPTION and collect more GTS (tax from mouth to anus) to fund more infrastructure construction and creating beautifuly GDP statistics for theatical showbiz?

    GLOBAL AGING DEMOGRAPHIC WILL KILL OF HIS STUPID IDEA – lack of demand in aging population profile, no jobs/income for unemployed to fund consumption spending and dearth of investment.

    KEE CHIU IS CHASING HIS ECONOMIC GHOST OF FICTION.

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  • oxygen:

    OF THE 4Gs ONLY ONE IS ECONOMIC LITERATE but lacks hands on experience as an architect of reform. He might be like that tragic Thai Navy SEAL diver trying to navigate through narrow, dark channels and deep treacherous water flows, expended all his oxygen supply ending in tragic circumstances of outcome to himself and the trapped subjects not rescued and facing rising dangers of cave flooding and DEPLETED OXYGEN LEVELS.

    3G really screwed up this country, 4G either clueless of economics or virgin of economic architectural skills for reform and transformation.

    70% idiots voted in bigger but VERY VERY EXPENSIVE idiots, AND WE ARE STARING AT COLLAPSE INTO THAT DUSTBIN OF HISTORY (a cliche I used in TRE years ago!)

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    In the Digital Age, the Paramount State withers as the human endeavour begin to take charge. S’pore under the late LKY’s will had imposed a Paramount State Economy but alas, the whole economy is dying a slow death because it is against the economic laws & the laws of nature. The State being a dinosaur, can’t manuever against the nature of climate change. Instead it was the smaller mammals who survived & took over. The same analogy & principles apply, the bigger you get, the slower you adapt to minute changes. Until the changes become evident but by then, it will be too late.
    Under the PAP, every individual is subjugated to the state. The PAP undermines the people’s rights & freedoms shackling them to a mere peasant & an indentured labourer. The economy is so politicised that any out-of-turn political actions re: Dr. Chee, Roy Ngerng could leave you unemployable. S’pore under the PAP douses the human endeavour & replaced them with Authoritarian work regime no different from communist collective farms & factories.
    The political machinery in S’pore had converted to an ancient aristocracy based on land rights, fiefdom & economic privilege based on nepotism & birthright. But that was 2 generations ago because landed aristocracy/hieritary fiefdom had been made redundant with the dawn of the Industrial Age in early 20th Century. And the Industrial Age itself was replaced at the turn of the 21st Century by the current Knowledge Economy.
    The present day Knowledge era is a landscape shrewn with obsolete remnants of a once-plentiful middle-class era; a jobs mindset, an education = job equation & a Brick ‘n Mortar lifestyle from housing to malls once created through the Industrial Age. The Knowledge Economy, on the other hand, is a fluid & an individualized type of global economy. It is reliant to clusters of independently minded individuals who value their freedom to speak, their human rights & their ability to agitate for change. They are the changers & innovators of the new economy. Could they survive in the suffocating & stifling eco-system of the PAP?
    Ask yourself this question, is the PAP the major reason for S’pore generating only 2%-3% growth or it “is because the high growth rate of developing economies is due to “catch up growth” which is not afforded to developed economies” like S’pore. When you think hard enough, you’ll understand why S’pore can only ‘think’ 2%-3% growth. Then you’ll have your answer.

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  • clown pap and S$m gang:

    the title does not make the man, nor woman.

    just because title is prime minister means can do anything such as chairman gic chairman pap PA? surely NOT. perhaps the only reason chairman roles are cornered is to ensure no hand of others is in the cookie jar.

    just because husband is prime minister means can chief of temasick? surely NOT. perhaps the only reason no hand of others is involved is to ensure lucrative jobs are rewarded to loyal balls suckers cunts lickers only by the two pair of hands.

    in any truly democratic society such incest nepotism cronyism legal corruption would have raised ruckus in parliament. unfortunately not so in clown pap and S$m gang parleement. truly 70% sheep is WTF.

    najib is finally caught only after regime change. because before regime change, cpib ag police bank negara all report to najib. so no truth comes out. only when Dr Mahatir PH took power, then, only najib rot can be investigated and najib wrong can be indicted. so Singapore needs same regime change in order for truth to come out and indictments to be made if abuse of power is established in truth.

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  • ahkong:

    CCS only talk rubbish and cock stories only to entertain the CLOWN with a clownly smile.

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  • RDB:

    Aiyah! Don’t listen to lhl’s Dumb-Star he had earmarked for PM lah. As he had to movement Chan Chun Sing from his first ministry to another in hast! What else need to said about CCSing?

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  • opposition dude:

    All this 2% and 3% growth nonsense only mans the monkeys get their annual GDP bonuses. Nothing more nothing less.

    And before we know it, they will announce a 6 months bonus for themselves if the economy grows by 5% a year. Just you wait.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Rabble-rouser

    BRILLIANT INSIGHTS into man, politics and survival in the new digital economy.

    3Gs and 4Gs are ALL CLUELESS or in holocaust denial or both.

    Rabble-rouser: In the Digital Age, the Paramount State withers as the human endeavour begin to take charge. S’pore under the late LKY’s will had imposed a Paramount State Economy but alas, the whole economy is dying a slow death because it is against the economic laws & the laws of nature. The State being a dinosaur, can’t manuever against the nature of climate change. Instead it was the smaller mammals who survived & took over. The same analogy & principles apply, the bigger you get, the slower you adapt to minute changes. Until the changes become evident but by then, it will be too late.
    Under the PAP, every individual is subjugated to the state. The PAP undermines the people’s rights & freedoms shackling them to a mere peasant & an indentured labourer. The economy is so politicised that any out-of-turn political actions re: Dr. Chee, Roy Ngerng could leave you unemployable. S’pore under the PAP douses the human endeavour & replaced them with Authoritarian work regime no different from communist collective farms & factories.
    The political machinery in S’pore had converted to an ancient aristocracy based on land rights, fiefdom & economic privilege based on nepotism & birthright. But that was 2 generations ago because landed aristocracy/hieritary fiefdom had been made redundant with the dawn of the Industrial Age in early 20th Century. And the Industrial Age itself was replaced at the turn of the 21st Century by the current Knowledge Economy.
    The present day Knowledge era is a landscape shrewn with obsolete remnants of a once-plentiful middle-class era; a jobs mindset, an education = job equation & a Brick ‘n Mortar lifestyle from housing to malls once created through the Industrial Age. The Knowledge Economy, on the other hand, is a fluid & an individualized type of global economy. It is reliant to clusters of independently minded individuals who value their freedom to speak, their human rights & their ability to agitate for change. They are the changers & innovators of the new economy. Could they survive in the suffocating & stifling eco-system of the PAP?
    Ask yourself this question, is the PAP the major reason for S’pore generating only 2%-3% growth or it “is because the high growth rate of developing economies is due to “catch up growth” which is not afforded to developed economies” like S’pore. When you think hard enough, you’ll understand why S’pore can only ‘think’ 2%-3% growth. Then you’ll have your answer…

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  • jadine:

    always rem.a no brain leader will bring many peple into trouble.

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  • Haigen-diaz:

    Our institutions have been subverted and our Constitution trampled. The last 10 years have shown that we are a nation in serious decline and vast majority of Singaporeans are worse off.
    Virtually every quality of life indicator is pointed in the wrong direction. It’s because 69.99% are supporting an intellectually bankrupt political party that no longer has any coherent philosophy or moral foundation.
    Year 2014 our national debt was 97.9% of GDP and for the fiscal year 2016 it will be close to 111.5%. Analyze that and you will probably end up with prospects for the next decade that make this new year looks gloomier with 110.6% in 3Q of 2017. While other nations were producing new technologies or new manufacturing capacities, we were busy counting our fake real estate money. We should take a hard look at our nation as a whole. We are a hubristic people who use the CNA “luxe asia” mantra as an increasingly feeble crutch to mask what is a marked downward economic spiral.
    PAP elites are totally disconnected from the realities of the people they supposedly represent.. They look for comfort, hoping the status quo stays; ignoring pain and strife, except as it tantalizes the sheeps with far-off grandiose pictures of “trust & humility”
    Our ‘blinkered’ sheeps also avoid grappling; that avoidance is a prescription for decay and worse.
    Once the last bubble burst, they will wake up to reality and that reality is that the goose which laid the golden eggs was cooked and picked clean a long time ago. Is it surprising then that we have seen even more of what Mahatma Gandhi called the “seven deadly sins”: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, business without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle?

    Rabble-rouser:
    Under the PAP, every individual is subjugated to the state. The PAP undermines the people’s rights & freedoms shackling them to a mere peasant & an indentured labourer.
    The present day Knowledge era is a landscape shrewn with obsolete remnants of a once-plentiful middle-class era; a jobs mindset, an education = job equation & a Brick ‘n Mortar lifestyle from housing to malls once created through the Industrial Age. The Knowledge Economy, on the other hand, is a fluid & an individualized type of global economy. It is reliant to clusters of independently minded individuals who value their freedom to speak, their human rights & their ability to agitate for change.

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  • oxygen:

    @jadine

    70% DAFTS IN LEE-JIAPORE IS BLIND – meritocracy = nepotism + cronyism APPRENTICESHIP starting at 40s to near retirement age, HOW NOT TO FAIL?

    jadine: always rem.a no brain leader will bring many peple into trouble.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Jadine

    POLITICAL CULTURE IN LEE-JIAPORE is like simplicity of dumb vegetable farming – throw in the seeds and add a humonguous overload of money manure, a RICH HARVEST AWAITS.

    WHAT GUTTER RUBBISH!

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  • John Lim:

    He must have been reading Deepak Chopra, the “new age guru”, CCS’s “4 key principles” sounds profound but is meaningless. Here’s some of Deepak Chopra’s quotes:

    “The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.” (?)

    “Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.”(?)

    “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” (?)

    “You are not the drop in the ocean, but the ocean in the drop.” (? ? ?)

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    @ Haigen-diaz:
    Last 2 decades eversince the so-called recovery from the devastating 1997/98 Asian Currency Crisis wasn’t an economic “recovery” at all. If you do a thorough dissection & a forensic analysis, it was basically;
    1. An explosion of foreigners with lower-wage expectations sprinkled with “engineered” imports of a few higher level expatriates ie. “FOREIGN TALENTS” given the predominance of GLCs in S’pore to mask the FT situation a-la CNA’s propaganda programming. The first is to douse the natural wage inflation instinct of the masses given PAP predilection for govt cost-push inflation of the S’pore Economy. The second was to raise the salary benchmarks for the you-know-who’s in calculating their salary measures;
    2. The extremely loose monetary conditions stemming from 3 sources of flows which reinflated & nominally expanded the S’pore’s economy – 1. Accumulated MNC profits, royalties & transfer pricing capture through Globalisation; 2. Capital flight from China & from regional neighbours seeking a safe haven; & 3. Illicit Funds flows (re:1MBD, casinos) diverting funds for money laundry.
    It was the beginning of an epic debt bubble (parallel to the real estate bubble) disguised as an economic recovery which was further masked through “engineered” rising GDP growth – the metrics could be easily manipulated using the expanding real estate activities & the PAP-favourite Infrastructural Spending (both “I” & “G” in GDP Expenditure calculations).
    The Economic Recovery for the S’pore Economy actually had a smoke-&-mirror effect. In truth, if you do an inflation-adjusted tracking (don’t never used official CPI figures – they grossly underestimated), it was the high inflationary effects that create the so-called growth conditions.

    Haigen-diaz: Year 2014 our national debt was 97.9% of GDP and for the fiscal year 2016 it will be close to 111.5%. Analyze that and you will probably end up with prospects for the next decade that make this new year looks gloomier with 110.6% in 3Q of 2017. While other nations were producing new technologies or new manufacturing capacities, we were busy counting our fake real estate money. We should take a hard look at our nation as a whole. We are a hubristic people who use the CNA “luxe asia” mantra as an increasingly feeble crutch to mask what is a marked downward economic spiral.

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  • Yoda:

    After more than 50 years of independence and the constant declaration of “punching above our weight” and we are still looking for “principles” to adopt???

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  • Get Rid of This Party Immediat:

    Do anyone remember that Khaw Boon Wan once said that Education is not IMPORTANT and now this idiot wants us to go digital.

    The confused Party that will lead us to nowhere. They confused us with Indian becoming Malay within a split of second. Disgraceful Party.

    Dishonourable Party that we must get rid off.

    https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/university-degree-not-vital-for-success-khaw-boon-wan

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    @ Haigen-diaz:
    Stripped off the inflationary factors, S’pore economy never really grew at all. What grew instead was the Nexus/combination of uncontrollable inflation (govt-initiated, business follow-up), a growing debt bubble situation (internal imbalances) & a highly liquid situation (external inflows). That is why the Y-o-Y GDP corresponds with a rising debt level re: % debt to GDP ratio. The S’pore Economy is thoroughly reconfigured to run on debt in order to have any forward momentum. 3 “truths” confirms this observation:
    1. The high level of external debt in S’pore where corporations & households are heavily indebted to the banking system;
    2. EIU’s ranking of S’pore as the most-expensive Global city in their universe of cities;
    3. SGX bourse Capitalization had declined by half since 2008 (the stockmarket’s last peak). Taken as the proxy for the S’pore Economy, the economy drifted for over a decade!
    We’re also seeing China’s role in Asset-inflation to the global real estate markets. And like S’pore, they have a parallel in the own domestic debt markets where many Chinese are heavily indebted to the shadow banking system. HK property market is even worse than S’pore as Chinese buyers had pushed the HK property market up to the stratosphere. The end is near as Trump beats the drum to rally support for a Trade War with China. Like a surfer who rode a tsunami wave all the way to the top, looking down will be a scary prospect!
    The next decade will be an Age Of Austerity!

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  • Prediction For 2019!:

    GDP will report steep growth in 2019. Civil Servants will get one month bonus in July and two months bonuses in Dec.

    Singaporeans will get special ‘any pows’to celebrate 200 years centennial.

    You may ask why?

    It is Election Year!

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  • rukidding:

    In my honest fair opinion,…this fellow “kee chui”…cannot and not suitable to be the next PM !

    But,..what can you do,…when it seems clearly that “ka ki Lang” matters more than capability !

    Blame those 70% dafts lor !

    Are they happy with a “milo” president that “hides” away from Trump and Kim??

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  • conned by company:

    back in the 90s i invented something.. a private company tha tworked for took my creation and claimed it as their own.. I will not forget this idiots.. call themselves talents when the actual work is done by others ..painstakingly and claim credit for that.. shameless spore MNC companies ..

    it a done deal now. I am out of that hell shit and living cmfotably in another country where IP rights are respected.

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  • Haigen-diaz:

    @ Rabble-rouser
    What is now driving the economy is pushing paper or bits back and forth. Any way you look at it that is a bubble that can and will burst. The need to grow the economy to service debt sure, are in the end choices, not the result of fiscal chain yanking. Why can’t we just balance this thing? Here’s why: Declines in savings along with expansion of debt with rising interest rates indicate an aging economic cycle. Using FRED data, full-time wages, hourly and salary for all workers, in the last ten years ranged from 21.52 (in 2008) to currently, 26.98 last quarter. Clearly, working wages have been tightly controlled, which can explain the lack of savings. Wages remain low, largely due to increasing capital investment in automation and offshoring and outsourcing of jobs and there is also the ‘insourcing’ of jobs by importing low income workers, which results in depressed wages for the average worker. Assuming authenticated statistics, from 2008 to 2017, nominal GDP rose by US$131.68 from US$192.23 billion (2008) to US$323.91 billion (2018); compare that with the increase in external debt of US$1.766 trillion. It seems like our increase in GDP is very debt-dependent, mirroring the personal savings numbers, personal debt is alarmingly high. The debt-to-GDP ratio measures the financial leverage of a country. I think that as more baby boomers retire, the shift from saving to spending will increase. I can think of a lot of things wrong with the economy. But the one about household savings I knew without even looking up the numbers. Another bubble we have is the stock market. Housing is getting troublesome again given the lack of reasonable wage growth. FRED shows stock market trades as a percentage of GDP from 222.87 (2008) to 227. 69 in 2017. Stock market capitalization had also stagnated and trending down, as a percentage of GDP, yet share prices are increasing–signs of a bubble.

    Rabble-rouser:
    @ Haigen-diaz:

    1. The first is to douse the natural wage inflation instinct of the masses given PAP predilection for govt cost-push inflation of the S’pore Economy. The second was to raise the salary benchmarks for the you-know-who’s in calculating their salary measures;
    2. The extremely loose monetary conditions stemming from 3 sources of flows which reinflated & nominally expanded the S’pore’s economy – 1. Accumulated MNC profits, royalties & transfer pricing capture through Globalisation; 2. Capital flight from China & from regional neighbours seeking a safe haven; & 3. Illicit Funds flows (re:1MBD, casinos) diverting funds for money laundry.
    Stripped off the inflationary factors, S’pore economy never…

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  • Singaporeans Will Vote for L*Y:

    Many of the 69.9% voted to thank the late L*Y for his contribution to Singapore at the last GE.

    Many Singaporeans will vote for the late L*Y again at the next GE to ensure that his last wish (to demolish his house at 38 Oxley) will be realised.

    Last Wishes must always be respected!

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