A ‘sia suay’ moment for Singapore

The recent hullabaloo in parliament about minimum wage and the bench mark of $1300 is in my opinion really a “sia suay” moment for Singapore. Let’s get the facts right. Firstly, $1300 per month is not a figure pluck from the air by WP MPs, it is a figure that came out from a survey by LKY School of Public Policy. The survey concluded that the minimum amount required to achieve a basic standard of living for elderly households is $1379. The largest share of that budget goes to food, followed by the cost of housing maintenance fee and utilities. Of course, the high paying minister and member of parliament would not be able to understand or picture that, even at $1300, the one concerned would have to forgo 20 meals of noodle (if price can be maintained at $3.50 per meal) a month because he is $79 short. Secondly, if that is going to cause a runaway hike in cost of living and less profitability and therefore less attractive for companies to invest here, here are some more numbers to help remove the blockage in the head of those who subscribed to that notion.

Singapore GNI per capita is about $80,000, that is to say that each resident population of Singapore creates about a value of $6700 per month for the Singapore economy. $1300 is less than 20% of that value created while in EU the average wage component of GDP is about 47.5, 52% in Germany and more in Hong Kong.

More relevant, however is the disclosure in Parliament that there are only 32,000 people who make less than that bench mark. So, what are we talking about? If the government were simply top up $500 for those who earned less than 1.3K (since 1.3K is deemed to be the minimum required amount of earnings to survive in Singapore), the maximum amount of money spent per month is at most $16 million per month – $192 million a year, less than 0.2% of annual budget. To me, for a government that cannot solve the most fundamental aspiration of the society, “To build a democratic society based on Justice and Equality” should died of shame looking at the pay slips every month not “happy” as a former minister would have us believed.

From the utterances full of platitudes of the PAP MPs in the parliament, it became clear that there is a huge difference between the governing party, PAP and the Opposition. The matter was raised in parliament by Workers’ Party (WP) as it was one of their agenda in the party’s recent election manifesto. In fact, many of the political parties had listed “Minimum Wage” as a key agenda in their political campaign in the recent general election. The government’s responses were however, not to concede on their governing principles and a decent living standard for all isn’t a priority. The gist of the government philosophy is illuminated by Prof Tay Kheng Soon remark in one of his recent Facebook post. A few days ago, he posted:

“The minimum wage model is an entitlement, it diminishes political control on which the progressive wage model depends…”

PAP’s governance is that entitlements and rights are ideals that must be expunged from the society consciousness and all social services are privileges accorded to citizenship by the government. The very basis of the foundation of our society, “To build a democratic society based on justice and equality” which we made everyone in school to pledged everyday can be relegated as highfalutin ideals. Legislations were enacted not to protect or enshrine civil rights but to provide further strangle hold on a society already choked to stasis. Recent events such as the use of POFMA law and persecution of individuals points disturbingly to such state of affair.


Tan Tee Seng




18 Responses to “A ‘sia suay’ moment for Singapore”

  • Down-trodden:

    It’s a shame that they should expect to be paid millions each year but are opposed to a minimum living wage of $1,300 a month which is really “peanuts” by comparison to the salaries of Ministers, MPs and Top Civil Servants. It would seem that the poor are down-trodden by the rich. These old people also contribute to the employer’s money-making enterprise and should be protected from exploitation.

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  • Boh Kia See:

    The stats being bandied about may be wrong and the PAP has the correct set of stats which may indicate more than the 32,000 earning less than $1300 a month.

    That is why there is a reluctance to initiate such a move. if it is correct, such a move to minimum wage would have only a minor impact on the budget but a big boost to the economy as the extra funds would generally be used for consumption.

    So it seems to be that the stats are incorrect hence the reluctance to provide this minimum wage.

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  • Scared n paralysed:





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  • oxygen:

    PAPpypolitics IS STUCK IN THESE TWO SILOS – the “path dependency” of we do what we like, never mind what the people think which progressed to “we do what we like, never mind what the law says”

    It is also stuck in the quagmire of “sunken costs” (political) because if it changes its anchor and dogma, it would means admission they were wrong for far too long.

    Family is said to need two cars, how much is the costs/upkeep of just one car per month? If $1,300 is not enough for just one car, and paid at wage of $1,300 per month, ANY MONEY LEFT TO SPEND ON TOILET PAPER (other than last $10 spent on chopstick, not takeaway food perhaps from a hawker stall perhaps)??

    The logic/illogic too hard to comprehend??

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  • uselesstankl:

    Indian media reported that Singapore High Commissioner to India, Simon Wong flew from Delhi to Chennai for a series of meetings with Tamil Nadu officials including the state’s chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Wed (Oct 21).

    Speaking to the media, Wong said that despite the restrictions during COVID-19, Singapore investments are still going to India. “In the last one year, between August of last year (2019) to August of this year (2020), we have about close to US$2 billion worth of investments (going to India),” he said.




    Your CPF, will go CRISP !!!


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  • Tremendous:

    Which idiot village chief will bring an ass surgeon through the GRC coattail after he kenna whacked with his ‘two cars’ story, and raise him to a chief status ?

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  • TREisINcahootsWITHpap:

    BBC News: Harley-Davidson to exit world’s biggest bike market
    BBC News – Harley-Davidson to exit world’s biggest bike market


    Do the american, japanese, manufactuers know something


    I dared you all to ” THINK ” about….

    Kick out PAP, or your children will die a ” HORRIBLE” DEATH….

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  • $1500 = The Right MinWage:

    Well, well…
    The Right MinWage is $1500/mth.
    It’s so simple!
    Why be at loggerheads?

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  • TREisINcahootsWITHpap:


    Did our uni’s really ” Think ”

    Has ” BRAINS ” like japanese ???

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  • liew mun leong must be jailed:

    such an easy problem to solve yet it is taking so long and still nothing doing.

    just vote out pap.

    in other words, as long as NOT pap, that is, as long as PSP or WP or such vote them into parliament.

    rename parleement back to parliament.

    and reverse all, actually every, pap policy which is all wrong anyway.

    BUT so simple yet so hard?’

    how come?

    because from kindergarten to nus ntu smu, 61% sheep and 61% sheep children educated under pap lies so because so filled with pap lies cannot see outside the pap pile of shit.

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  • Don't be an employer!!!:

    To all Employers!!!

    If you cannot afford to pay a decent and living wage, stay out of business.
    Keep your money and do not exploit the dignity of the human race.

    $1300 is still low. Very low It should be at least $2000 to $2500/-.

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  • Harder Truths:

    Go ahead and make this into law. See who wants to hire an $G a worker for more than the minimum market rate.

    Is the government going to enforce keeping or hiring $G citizens on minimum wage? No.
    Is the government going to set workers’ market rates? No.
    Is the government going to stop FT coming in? No.
    Is the government going to somehow pay the difference between market rate and minimum wage? If they have to – with your money after increasing your taxes and other levies to pay for it.
    Will this minimum wage increase over time? Of course, everything inflates.
    Will other occupations also demand a minimum rate? Of course this will happen.

    The only question is – re those workers who are not affected by minimum wage willing to subsidise those that are. Are tey willing to work all those long extra hours and give up that pay for others?

    This is not a solution – just another way for the government to rob Peter more to pay Paul, while taking a cut for themselves..

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  • xoxo:

    Frankly,a minimum wage sounds good in THEORY.
    What good comes out of a $X MINIMUM WAGE WHEN THERE IS NO CAP$ ON *MAXIMUM* salarie$$$?

    Say,we up from $1000 to $1300.
    On paper,it looks nice.
    But,if we up the salaries by a higher multiple,arent the POOR worse off?
    THIS HAS BEEN THE CASE here and with irrational ever-increasing COST OF LIVING ,generally, ordinary sgs are left further and further behind.

    * Cha$e that rainbow* or more like crushing under the rainy storm???

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  • NATO:

    Ministers peg their salaries to the top levels of earners whereas the low wage has nothing to peg on.

    It is really a “sia suay” gesture not standing in solidarity with the low wage earners by the govt!

    We just humbly ask to have a minimum wage peg to sustain a basic standard of living!

    No Action Talk Only!

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  • Halimah Totally USELESS:

    You are talking to a dud who declared that everyone needs a car, and “we have 2 cars, my wife and I drove ” !!
    So how do you talk to people who are self entitled, and don’t forget that Vivian guy who ask you what do you want, a meal in a hawker center, a food court or a restaurant .
    These PAPIGS are just a bunch of self entitled Cronies and while they continue to raid the Treasury with their obscene salaries, they just have no decency to look at those who have fallen through the crack.

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  • Do you want a $Pappy$ degree?:

    “We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without… Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made….
    How then is perfection to be sought? Wherein lies our hope?
    In education, and in nothing else. Without man and his potential for moral progress, the whole of reality would be a mere wilderness, a thing in vain, and have no final purpose.”

    Immanuel Kant, “The Metaphysics of Morals”

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  • pay lah:

    Pay lah..

    $1300 pm is not too much to ask…

    No need to waste time arguing.

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    Looks like SGs are acceleratedly boiled in a Gig Economy, engaged as PrivateCarHireDrivers, Food Deliverers, SecurityGuards, Cleaners and TissuePacketPeddlers.

    All waiting for an Eclapse (Economic Collapse)?

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