How to enhance social protection for Singaporeans

(A) HEALTHCARE

- Currently, of the money that Singaporeans pay into the Medisave healthcare scheme every year, only about 10% is used for medical expenses.

- If the rest of the 90% is also spent on medical expenses less administrative charges and risk-pooled, like what other developed countries are doing, Singapore would have what constitutes as free healthcare, like in in these countries.

- Singaporeans would then only need to pay a few hundred dollars a year for healthcare. There would be no need to buy private insurance for public healthcare services.

- Currently, the surplus in Medisave and MediShield is part of the CPF which the government use to invest in the GIC and which can also be accessed by Temasek Holdings.

(B) RETIREMENT

- Currently, Singaporeans earn an interest of only 2.5% to 4% on the majority of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) retirement fund.

- The government takes the CPF to invest in the GIC and which can also be accessed by Temasek Holdings.

- GIC and Temasek Holdings currently earn interest rates of about 5% to 15%. If the interest earned is returned to Singaporeans, this would ensure that Singaporeans would be able to save enough inside their CPF on the compounded interest, and be able to retire.

- There would be no need to buy private insurance for retirement.

(C) RETIREMENT + HOUSING

- Currently, Singaporeans also have to use the CPF to pay for public Housing Development Board (HDB) flats. Young Singaporeans have to spend as much as all the CPF inside their Ordinary Account to pay for the HDB flat mortgage. And even for older Singaporeans, they have to spend more than half of their Ordinary Account on average for the mortgage.

- In the 1980s, land costs were included into HDB flat prices. The land is not owned by Singaporeans, and is estimated to make up as much as 60% of the flat price. The government takes the land sale profits earned to invest in the GIC and which can also be accessed by Temasek Holdings.

- If land costs are removed from flat prices, flat prices will become affordable as they were in the 1960s and 1970s. This would enable Singaporeans to be able to save enough inside the Ordinary Account of their CPF, and be able to retire.

- Singaporeans will then be able to both have a roof over their head and be able to retire. Currently, the majority of Singaporeans have to choose between having a roof over their heads or to retire.

(D) EDUCATION

- Currently, Singaporeans pay one of the most expensive public university fees in the world.

- The public universities keep surpluses every year in the millions and the government also provides scholarships to an estimated more than 50% of the international students while only about 6% of Singaporean students receive scholarships.

- If the surpluses are returned to Singaporeans to pay for their university fees and scholarships are given to Singaporean students instead, Singapore would have what constitutes as free education in the other developed countries.

- There would be no need to buy private insurance for university education.

- Currently, the government takes the surpluses by government agencies to invest in the GIC and which can also be accessed by Temasek Holdings.

(E) WAGES

- Currently, the wage share in Singapore is slightly above 40% of the GDP. In other words, only about 40% of the GDP goes into paying the wages of Singaporeans, while the rest go into profits. In other developed countries, the average wage share is about 50% to 60%.

- If wages are returned to Singaporeans such that Singapore’s wage share is on par with the 50% to 60% in other countries, Singaporeans would be able to earn a minimum wage of at least about S$1,500 to S$2,000 for a start.

- When a new government takes over, it should aim to implement a minimum wage and increase it by about 8% to 9% to at least S$1,500 in 5 years, and to at least S$2,000 in another 5 years, while evaluating its impact every 3 to 5 years. The increase can be faster depending on the impact to the economy. Wages should be adjusted upwards annually in accordance to the increase in the cost of living.

- The corresponding increase in social protection affordability will ensure that the incremental increase in wages will still be able to afford an increasing purchasing power among workers. The increased wages will also increase domestic expenditure which would drive economic growth while ensuring job growth.

(F) IS THERE CURRENTLY ENOUGH MONEY TO ENHANCE SOCIAL PROTECTION?

Yes.

There is no need to increase taxes as Singaporeans are already paying high taxes, if you look at the money collected from these various sources. The interest earned by the GIC and Temasek Holdings not returned to the CPF have been called by economists as an implicit tax.

The current situation in Singapore is lopsided because:
- Singaporeans are being paid comparatively low wages
- And the money that we pay into these social protection schemes
- Are not being returned to us to let us use for social protection
- Which has thereby required Singaporeans to buy private insurance in order to have enough to cover for social protection
- Even though we already pay enough to the government without having the need to buy private insurance
- And the poor who cannot afford to buy private insurance therefore have to forgo social protection to some extent

But the situation can be reversed by:
- Ensuring that Singaporeans are paid higher wages that are on par with the cost of living in Singapore
- And that the money that we pay into the social protection schemes are returned to let us use for social protection

Just that. It is that simple.

The situation in Singapore is not that there is not enough money. It is that the government has taken too much money to invest in the GIC and Temasek Holdings without returning them to Singaporeans.

(G) CONCLUSION

There are currently multiple sources of funding from various channels which would enable social protection affordability to be enhanced.

But currently, the common thread among all these is the money is not returned back to Singaporeans to enhance their social protection affordability.

Instead, the government has diverted the various sources of funds (CPF, Medisave land sales profits, surpluses in government agencies, etc) to invest in the GIC and which can also be accessed by Temasek Holdings.

There is no full transparency with how the GIC and Temasek Holdings are managed. GIC is controlled by the Singapore prime minister as its chairman and Temasek Holdings is controlled by his wife as the CEO.

In order to enhance social protection affordability, the prime minister and his wife have to step down from their positions in these entities, and the earnings that GIC and Temasek Holdings have to be returned to Singaporeans.

The only way that they will step down is when there is a change of government, to ensure a new government would ask them to leave. Only this will ensure social protection affordability in Singapore.

So that Singaporeans’ livelihoods will be protected.

(H) WHAT YOU CAN DO

At the upcoming general election this year, watch out for the political parties which can promise you policies that will enable you to have the above-mentioned social protection affordability.

Or try this. Write to the opposition parties and tell them that these are the policies that you want, and if they commit themselves to implementing these policies when they become government, then you commit yourself to voting for them at the next general election.

At the last general election, the parties which have policies closest to the above-mentioned social protection affordability are The Worker’s Party, the Singapore Democratic Party and SingFirst. Tean Lim from the People’s Voice party has also articulated similar policies.

At the next general election, vote for parties which have your interests at heart, and which will actually come out with policies to ensure social protection affordability for you.

You owe it to yourself to find out more, and to ensure that you vote for the right party to protect your interests.

 

Roy Ngerng

 

 

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14 Responses to “How to enhance social protection for Singaporeans”

  • NotMyProblem:

    @Roy; let me put it this way. If Malaysia voters were like Singapore voters, Najib would still be the PM of Malaysia. And nobody is any wiser about 1MDB.

    Just hope the next GE, Singaporean voters have some balls and vote wisely. We could also dig into Temasick and GIC;- the other two black holes of the Milky Way.

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  • que sera sera:

    Just a correction: “If land costs are removed from flat prices, flat prices will become affordable as they were in the 1960s and 1970s.”

    HDB was also affordable in the 1980s – I bought my 5 Room in Yishun in 1987 for $71,000 only. Salaries in 1987 are not far from that in 2019, considering that cost of living was much lower and there is no vehicle COE, ERP, etc.

    Life was definitely much better then. Thank you Roy, may I wish you a wonderful 2019. Take care.

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  • Jim:

    Why wreck our rains anymore? Just remove the Mother of all our problems.

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  • LIONS:

    As a FIRST STEP TOWARDS A FAIRER N COMPASSIONATE SOCIETY,REMOVE GST FOR MEDICALS for the SENIORS N JOBLESS.

    MEDICAL COSTS ARE RUNNING AWAY IRRATIONALLY N COUPLED WITH GST,IT CAN MEAN A POOR PERSON’S LIFETIME SAVINGS FOR A MAJOR OP.

    JOBLESS GET 0 INCOME N LOSE THE COMPANY BENEFITS LIKE MEDICAL.
    So,PAYING GST ON SELF-PAYING MEDICAL CARE CAN BE KILLING!

    GAN KIM YONG,ARE YOU THERE?

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  • Pakatan Singapura:

    NotMyProblem:
    @Roy; let me put it this way. If Malaysia voters were like Singapore voters, Najib would still be the PM of Malaysia. And nobody is any wiser about 1MDB.

    Just hope the next GE, Singaporean voters have some balls and vote wisely. We could also dig into Temasick and GIC;- the other two black holes of the Milky Way.

    many pap PA paid IBs say pap sure win one. we disagree. GE2015 was a fluke shot for pap due to stupidity of 70% sheep. it ain’t going to repeat this GE2019 since 70% sheep jobless in own land of birth saddled with NSF NSR while the alien FT PR have it so very good.

    que sera sera:
    Just a correction: “If land costs are removed from flat prices, flat prices will become affordable as they were in the 1960s and 1970s.”

    HDB was also affordable in the 1980s – I bought my 5 Room in Yishun in 1987 for $71,000 only. Salaries in 1987 are not far from that in 2019, considering that cost of living was much lower and there is no vehicle COE, ERP, etc.

    Life was definitely much better then. Thank you Roy, may I wish you a wonderful 2019. Take care.

    well said, bro. agree. in 1980s, first job after U was S$2,000. HDB 5-room point block was below S$100k. fast forward 2019, wage increase not in line with HDB rental flat price increase. because pap greediness raised land price for HDB rental flats way out of proportion to 70% sheep median wage. in the end, 70% sheep is at fault and ONLY 70% sheep can right the current pap wrongs.

    Jim:
    Why wreck our rains anymore? Just remove the Mother of all our problems.

    it shall happen. and very soon. this very GE2019. voters want the world to know how screwed up lky clown is.

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  • S$32,600 For 4 Rm Flat:

    I bought my 4 room flat at Bedok for only S$32,600/- in 1981. My salary then was S$1,500/- pm and I took 5 years to settle my loan.

    Now a new graduate can earn S$3,000 pm that is double my salary in 1981. But my same 4 room flat at Bedok cost at least S$500,000/- with interest which about 17 times what I had paid. You may need more than 30 years to pay the full loan.

    Mah Boh Tan is talking cock when he mentioned that the flat is very affordable

    All great liars KNNBCCB

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  • Skin Problems:

    I went to the Skin Centre for severe skin rashes problems several months and found out that I cannot use Medisave to pay for the consultation and medication. I was informed that if I am over 65 years I can use the S$200/- Flexi Medisave. or else I have to pay cash.

    I was informed that Skin problems is not a chronic disease that can cause death and it is mainly for van reason. The cost of treatment for skin problems is very high. What happen if a person cannot afford cash ?Then he will have to bear with it ?

    Whats the point of having a huge amount of money in Medisave and yet cannot use it to pay for a Medical condition ?

    Is the cash required to be used for Temasek/GIC gamble investment ?

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  • medisave S$ is our S$:

    Skin Problems:
    I went to the Skin Centre for severe skin rashes problems several months and found out that I cannot use Medisave to pay for the consultation and medication. I was informed that if I am over 65 years I can use the S$200/- Flexi Medisave. or else I have to pay cash.

    I was informed that Skin problems is not a chronic disease that can cause death and it is mainly for van reason. The cost of treatment for skin problems is very high. What happen if a person cannot afford cash ?Then he will have to bear with it ?

    Whats the point of having a huge amount of money in Medisave and yet cannot use it to pay for a Medical condition ?

    Is the cash required to be used for Temasek/GIC gamble investment ?

    cannot use own money. 70% sheep truly WTF. own money cannot use.

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  • Crux of the issue?:

    The separation of powers is a model for the governance of a state. Under this model, a state’s government is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with the powers associated with the other branches. The typical division is into three branches: a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary, which is the trias politica model. It can be contrasted with the fusion of powers in some parliamentary systems where the executive and legislative branches overlap.

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  • Crux of the issue??:

    Separation of powers, therefore, refers to the division of responsibilities into distinct branches to limit any one branch from exercising the core functions of another. The intent of separation of powers is to prevent the concentration of unchecked power by providing for “checks” and “balances” to avoid autocracy, over-reaching by one branch over another, and the attending efficiency of governing by one actor without need for negotiation and compromise with any other.

    The separation of powers model is often imprecisely and metonymically used interchangeably with the trias politica principle. While the trias politica is a common type of model, there are governments which utilize bipartite, rather than tripartite, systems.

    *So what phenomena do we get when “corporate” is amalgamated with the legislative-executive-judiciary?

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  • True facts:

    Time for change.

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  • ST:

    What is missing in this article is about the escalating Basic Healthcare Sum (BHS)of the Medisave account. This account keeps increasing until a person reaches 65 years old. After the retirement account is established at 55 years old, this BHS is being used to continue to lock down more money from the citizens. I wondered why there isn’t anyone speaking against this policy? Our Minimum sum + this BHS keeps increasing year on year, is it fair to ordinary citizens where our money keeps locking into this CPF scheme? I hope our oppositions can do something about it.

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  • to 'educate' the average:

    //Mah Boh Tan is talking cock when he mentioned that the flat is very affordable

    All great liars KNNBCCB//

    well the white idiots are not really here to ‘educate’ the average daft sinkies about a lot of things. they are here (very 151th media standard) to keep all the daft sinkies as daft as possible so they can manage daft sinkies as easy as possible and they could happily implement their talented policies.

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  • BTO the only solution:

    Aiya kpkb for already. Not enough or tire meh. Jhealth also thrown in
    Worth it or not? r u reslly that bloooming stupid as the lauziliao said u r. To save your, job, your children from becoming aggressive like the siaohum told u so n yoir health bto n elect a new gov these shits r only dedicated if they know u r bto tjem n they cannot stsy longer the moment they show signs of arrogance n start hidinng info n above all threatening u. So vto n bevhealthy when u decide their fate not thet decide your by threatening bully bad wayang.

    BTO the pimps and prostitutes. All oppo must have first on their agenfa is reduceimsister salary to interbational ave n 2nd extend tenancy of old hdb for another 10y for a token sum of $1 n 5 y bar on sale, next medicare thru sibsids, remove family members from public service unless they join before spouse become minister
    how to get money back Chopping Minister salary to not more than $200k with cpf no benefits n no pensiom with same bonus scheme as the rest will save at least 250m, go on hunting trip for fat pigs n us companies with fuzzy ties, abuse of power hunting tripdetail money checks, check $28 m n similar spending habits n eg like SAm way of hammering payer more than takeore effective. many more nit must work oit first no wayang or con the god promises

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