The Online Citizen

Question Time with the Prime Minister

April 09
12:50 2011

The following article was first published on Ravi Philemon’s blog.

Ravi Philemon/

I sent in this question toChannel NewsAsia for their ‘Question Time’ programme where the Prime Minister of SIngapore has promised to answer the questions of Singaporeans.

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

A large segment of Singaporeans have secondary school or lower education. Many in this segment have such lower qualifications because higher education was not encouraged in the past as there were fewer industries which would support graduates of tertiary institutions. These people now have poor marketable skills, which will mean lower salaries and which is further mitigated by the lower salaries that foreign workers ask for doing a similar job. The lower earning capacity of this segment of Singaporeans, contributes very little to their upward social mobility.

In your 2009 National Day Rally Speech, you mentioned 3 areas of future growth which may create jobs and hence benefit this segment of population:

1. Interactive Digital Media (IDM)
2. High-end manufacturing
3. Integrated resorts

The IDM is a niche industry and this segment of Singaporeans may not adequately benefit from job creation in this sector. The high-end manufacturing industry may employ fewer workers than the traditional manufacturing sector, because of their greater reliance on automation and technology. Which leaves the integrated resorts as the only industry from which a major portion of this segment of population expect to find employment in in the future.

Against this backdrop, my questions are these:

1. Is there a forecast for other growth industries to come to Singapore, to create future jobs for the benefit this segment of Singaporeans? If so, what industries are these?

2. How many jobs have the two integrated resorts created so far, how many more jobs will they create in the future and what percentage of these jobs have gone to Singaporeans and will go to Singaporeans from this segment of the population.

3. The new jobs created, will they provide better salaries, with better yearly increments for the Singaporean workers, so that these workers median wage can rise by thirty per cent in ten years as indicated by the Finance Minister in this year’s Budget debate in Parliament?

I personally know of people who have post graduate qualifications but are now applying for jobs which would pay them less then $1500. I also know of people who have upgraded and re-skilled under the Workforce Development Authority’s WSQ programme only to find that they are unable to land a job or if they landed one, that the new job pays them significantly lower than their previous job.

My concern is that these talks of better salary for a better life through upgrading, re-skilling and higher productivity, must turn out to be empty promises which will only serve to dash the futures of these people.

What are the questions you would like the Prime Minister to answer? Please send them to under the subject “Questions for the Prime Minister”. We will compile and publish them next Tuesday.

  • edb and Mom

    Excellent question. EDB and MOM claimed they have created thousands of jobs every year, but as to whether Singaporeans got the jobs, this is not released. What is released is a combined figure of Singaporeans+PRs. Additionally, the no. of jobs taken away from Singaporeans whether by Foreigners is not released. So, there is no way to show a Net Gain in Singaporeans being employed.

    EDB and MOM will continue to trumpet their tens of thousands of jobs, meeting their KPIs and getting 8 to 12 months bonus, or more. Is this RIGHT?

    No independent body to perform sanity check, no one can questions. PAP Govt continue to use these ‘good facts’, not ‘real facts’ to say how good they are, and non-PAP people are stupid.

  • Ant

    Will GST go up?
    Will more FT be brought in?
    Will HDB prices go up further?
    When will our pay go up?
    Is there a conflict of interest that GLC are working on government project?
    Is there anything done to alleviate traffic jams other then increasing ERP?
    Anything to alleviate the congestion on public transport?
    So many questions but no direct answer

  • They and We

    That is why PAP is so disconnected from reality.

    They said “we have created jobs”, we say “where are the jobs?”. We say “our jobs are taken away by foreigners”, they say “you don’t have skills, go for WSQ training.” We say “after training, still no jobs.” They say “go for more WSQ training.” We say “jobs are going to foreigners”, they say “go for more WSQ training.”

    We say “can you limit foreign PMETs from coming in.” They say “CANNOT, because they can create GDP so that PAP can have million-dollar salaries and 8-12 month bonuses, and we need to give 4.267 million to Nathan.”

    We say “but Nathan, being a ceremonial and non-executive, and a nice people-person did not and will not ask for such a high salary. he doesn’t need so much money.” They say, “BUT it is the salary formula we (PAP) have decided.” We say, “BUT times have changed, formula is not morally right.”

    They say, “Sorry, it is the formula, President’s pay must be higher than PM’s pay. It’s the formula, already decided, cannot change at all. If we change the formula, all PAP cabinet ministers will become corrupt. Cannot change.”

  • ethan

    You already claim to be an IDM, high end manufacturing and IR expert, I don’t know any ministers more quslified than you. Why are you not joining the government to serve the nation?

  • Questions

    Will GST go up? YES. The last time it went to 5% was after election.

    Will more FT be brought in? YES, PAP needs taxation revenue to feed hefty salaries of Cabinet Ministers and ‘Elite’ Admin Service.

    Will HDB prices go up further? YES, MBT and LHL already said it doesn’t make sense for HDB prices to go down. They will ensure it will go up further.

    When will our pay go up? NO, NO. We will become uncompetitive, and our jobs will be shifted to other neighboring countries.

    Is there a conflict of interest that GLC are working on government project? YES, but PAP will say “What’s the problem?”

    Is there anything done to alleviate traffic jams other then increasing ERP? NO, PAP will say they will adjust the rates higher to reduce traffic jams; and make $$$ at the same time to feed hefty salaries of PAP. Also need to pay to train ‘intern-MP’ TPL and under-study Generals to fight Opposing voices.

  • Jus

    Why can’t our medical and health system be modified into a system similar to UK or Aus?

    people generally do not pay anything for their doctor visits, nursing services, surgical procedures or appliances, consumables such as medications and bandages, plasters, medical tests, and investigations, x-rays, CT or MRI scans etc. Hospital inpatient and outpatient services are free, both medical and mental health services. This is because these services are all pre-paid from taxation.

    This will benefit more people. A lot people with illness refused to see doctor because the medicial costs is very high. There a saying “you can die but not fall sick in Singapore”.

  • Try to be self employed

    “I personally know of people who have post graduate qualifications but are now applying for jobs which would pay them less then $1500″

    I feel sorry for these individuals who upgraded themselves only to find out that only $1500 a month awaits them.

    However, I also think Singaporeans need to be more daring and try to be self-employed. When a person spends 6 years earning multiple degrees isn’t cunning enough to even earn $2000 as a self-employed person, it really reflects badly on their resourcefulness.

    I myself do not possess a post graduate degree or even an undergraduate degree. However, as a self-employed person, I easily earn more than $2000 a month; so why are these post graduates settling for only $1500?

    If I were an employer and faced such passive interviewees, I’m not sure I would want to hire them. How can I count on them to bring in money for the company, when they don’t know how to bring in money for themselves?

    It is not all the individuals’ fault, of course. Parents and society are to blame for instilling such a strong aversion to risk and failure. As a result, far too many of our youths dream of APPLYING for lucrative jobs, and far too few are in the business of CREATING those jobs.

  • imike

    frankly i dont see any effort to CREATE jobs for t many
    baby boomers in theri 50/60″s.

    i am one of them.

    tes r t people who worked “hard labour” jobs-
    their contribution laid t foundation stone to modern spore today.

    with longer life expectancy to age 80+-many of us-have little cfp left to last till we die.bcos we earn only few hundreds a mth tos years.

    around 30 years jobless-we need ard $10,000 a year to live.
    x 30 years = $300,000.

    how many no grad sporean have $300,000 in cpf @ age 55??
    perhaps t govt can enlighten.thk q

    perhaps a blessing to die younger in spore??

    or t government can pass a bill to PAY all senior citizens -
    with less than $300,000 a mthly allowance of $600 a mth-
    $20 a day -to pay for our 3 basic meals n some fruits n pub charges

    our cpf savings is pittance versus today’s cost of living.

    we worked very hard tos early years.

    now have to live our golden years -day to day with jus simple meals, no holidays.

    our only treats- are from temples n church gatherings.

    spore is very a rich country by reserves BUT few hundreds thousands of us r jus scrouging daily.
    trying not to borrow .n to live our final years
    in tis country with dignity..

    sad but true..
    the forgotten pioneers versus foreign talents

  • Peter Sellers

    This Q&A with the PM will be another farce.

    With 12 participants, a moderator, LHL and commercial breaks, each question will probably get half a minute or a minute at most. This is assuming the questions get answered in the first place. Another PAP window-dressing and electioneering opportunity.

  • HaiGong

    1)MBT says HDB flats are affordable, why I still cannot afford it?

    2) Are we expecting all the youth to work all their lives just to pay up their HDB flats.

    3) Why after attended all the trainings recommended by WDA, I am still unemployed?

    4) Why foreigners can withdraw all their CPF money, Singaporean cannot?

    5) HDB flats are built using public funds. Why is the public housing offer to the PRs?

  • sunny

    Just received a frightening letter, the type of letter most singaporeans receive just before an election.

    Will receive Growth Dividend/election bonus- $700 (before election)but not mentioned in letter is
    Will pay back Growth Dividend/election bonus with interest- $7000 (after election)

  • sunny

    Before election- receive growth dividend.

    After election- Increase GST to 10%
    – Full day car usage system
    (now under study)
    – increase in PUB bill
    (Oil prices will go up)
    – increase in population
    (5 million to targeted 6.5
    – increase in medical bill
    (demand for beds go up)
    – increase in public bus/mrt fares ( cost of fuel and maintenance too high)
    – Decrease in pay structure for all workers ( another 1.5 million cheaper FT labour replace locals or compete with locals for jobs)

  • Sad Boy

    I have doubt that the 12 Singaporeans are a fair representation of our voices. If the selected Singaporeans are only people who have benefited from the PAP system, the questions they ask will be very different from Singaporeans who are marginalised by the PAP system. This will be just a free advertisement for the PAP !!

  • Abungus

    how can we the people check what is the real progress of the reskilling for the unemployed?

    or just trust as usual?

    very high tech ah?

  • Lee Ran Pah

    Question for PM.

    Are citizens who have given up job search after years searching considered in the statistics?

    Are citizens who have registered a sole proprietary but inactive company considered in your stats?

    Are citizens aged 65 or older considered in your stats?

    Are citizens disabled but looking for job considered?

    Are citizens locked up considered ?

    Are citizens abroad studying considered?

    Are citizens studying (locally, full time or part time or overseas) considered as employed?

    Are the UNDER-Employed, which means employed but under-employed, considered?

    What is the UNDER-employment rate of citizens?

  • What is wrong singapore

    Ask him what is the role of the government? Would they take care of the citizens’ well being regardless they are poor or rich, language, race or religion? Would the government take care of all citizens regardless who they had voted? Everyone pays tax, does the government has the right to channel taxpayers’ monies to improve facilities only in PAP MP estates?

  • nay1

    OMG….Ha Ha..truly funny….great joke.

    If dare SMS your rebellion with difficult questions.
    Kena traced.
    Yup, tat’s the reality.
    Better play computer games than join this farce.
    At least computer games will feel satisfied once u slay the assh*les

  • Why Why?

    The line-up does not look convincing. Think “Just for Laughs” and “The Noose” may get higher viewings. In any case, the question I have in mind will be the Prime Minister’s view on whether his cabinet colleagues will continue to stay in Singapore and contribute to the country should they lose the elections due to unforeseen circumstances or will they move to another country with their millions. Also, given the control held by the PAP, will Temasek-linked companies and GLCs similarly move out of Singapore citing worsening investment and business prospects with an opposition party in power? Maybe not all in one go, but over a period of 10 years? Trully, what are the stakes involved?

  • No news is good news

    Might as well just tell him: We will solve the problem ourselves for the next 5 years. Don’t worry, be happy.

  • wayang

    All wayang only. Don’t waste your time. Of course sweets will be used to temp you. Just vote them out and show them your real intention.

  • mice is nice

    how about a Q&A session with HDB? more meaningful than answers with lots of asterix***!

  • Peanuts Pay

    I got an 8 yrs working experience, i’m only getting paid for 1500 a month with family commitment. I’m a married man with such a pay working in a financial institution. But yet a malaysian who is holding a SPM level, with EP earns $1800 without deduction of CPF. I am wondering what is the benefits having to hold the pink card that foreigners are craving for??

  • mice is nice

    Peanuts Pay, 9 April 2011

    S’pore citizenship is coverted cos dun need to apply travel visa. i remember a Malaysian born (now Sg citizen) hairstylist say that.

    like the saying goes, the world is your oyster (if you can afford to eat fresh oysters everyday…).

  • popcorn

    Frankly, afraid that after voting in the Party, the GST would be increased to 9 or 10% immediately after. Our PM looks like a man in a hurry on death row, when he decides on something, he wants it done straight away, and do it at all costs. Looks like he is similar to Chee of SDP, brashly moving forward as if there is no tomorrow.

  • Jasmine Flower power

    Question for our PM :

    If GST is to help the poor, why is there no more help given to the poor by increasing gst to higher number like 50%?

    Certainly this would help the poor even more?

    I no no wan. I knnn failed sec 5.

  • JR

    Tharman said that the GST Rebates given to lower income people is more than the GST they have to pay. But what if these lower income people is sick and need serious medical treatment (cancer or other serious problems), surely the GST payable will be much more than the GST Rebates they receive?

  • Alienated

    @Peanuts Pay,
    What is unknown to u may be this – many in the pte sector(s) deduct mandatory empolyer’s cpf contribution from the employee.
    Other ”costs” are also deducted from this employee. On paper he/she is paid 1800. in reality, take home is not, cos of the aforementioned deductions.Proably he/she has to work longer hours n multi-task.

    Excepting govt jobs, this practice is rampant and do u think a foreigner would report such …. He will be sent packing or not even be considered for employment.

    To employ a Singaporean means cannot exploit, must incur costs, cannot pay peanuts. Have to be transparent?

    The winners are – 1 Employers cos they save operating costs and other costs. Hence, Singapoereans are shunned.
    Empolyers reap higher profits, hence the higher taxes.
    2 As Ministerial salaries are pegged to GDP growth, is there a need to go and explain, examplify any further?

    That foreigners create (save) jobs is a lie n deception. The incumbents care more of GDP growth then what or how negatively such a policy of unchecked immigration impacts Singaporeans.

    Singaporeans so bodoh, sleep-walking and now this unsavory aftertaste lah!

  • damage control show

    this will be a specially choreographed show with specially chosen actors/actresses to sing the praise of the dear leader just like any NOrth Korea production of “My dear leader”. If they want the truth, just televise the NUS show would be the real thing.

    my other questions for the PM:
    1. why is MBT throwing land parcels all over singapore just only when election is looming and the housing market has mess up for the locals? Before that, he is blind and deaf to the HDB housing problems that is creeping up?

    2. why is the discriminatory HDB singles ONLY policy being retracted on when election looms but PAP is deaf to such calls for many years?

    3. why is the influx of foreign PMETs allowed to flood singapore’s small economy for so many years under his watch and only now when election loom, he is making empty promises of singaporean first? Yet, he and his lobo MM & SM has kept insisting that singapore need FT to survive before this year.

    4. why is it only when election loom will you see TV tax removed when this has been raise for so many years?

    5. Does he truely believe in “justice and equality” when he so openly discriminate against people who does not vote for him? is it becoming of a prime minister to behave like a gangster (“if you don’t pay protection money to me, we will make things difficult for you”)

    many others.

  • dopplerganger

    Mubarak left his lucrative job. Gadaffi fights back with foreign mercenaries.

    Does foreign talent ring a bell?

  • Willie

    Tears for fear – everybody wants to rule the world. Nice song.

  • dopplerganger

    Do you really believe that the Parliamentarians in Singapore need to be paid those mind boggling salaries. In time, history will record the grand heist of this regime.

    The Parliamentarians here look after a small country with no global responsibility like those of the US, UK, Japan, China, India.

    If the big salaries is to insure against corruption, then is it an admittance of weakness?

    If the big salaries is to compensate for no handsome speaking and book authorship fee after their time in Parliament, then it is an admittance of mediocrity.

    If the big salaries is to be on par with top professionals of the business sector, then it is a bad argument because, businessmen have to contend with serious risk, while our parliamentarians are risk proof.

    Is the governing of Singapore so unique among all countries that such astronomical salaries are fitting reward for each one of them?

    I think that such out- of- this- world salaries blind them to the realities of earthly life. Since the unheard of salaries started to be paid out to them some 10 years ago, we encounter more and more difficult economic and social environment. Foreigners surround us, Jobs are scarce for citizens of every level of education. Places in universities and scholarships are freely given out to foreigners. And the list goes on…

  • grease monkey

    Question :

    1. Humans lifespan is different. Wealth different. Why is retirement age withdrawal 1 size fits all?

    2. Why is there no provision for withdrawal of more CPF for medical treatment? Die also cannot use before 65?
    correct me if wrong.

    The people is the problem because they deny the opposition.

  • ispyQATARagency

    ow many of you peeps know what is our prince maximum qualification if he find that he lost the ERECTIONs?
    the only availiable job offerred to him is in qatar, a country in the middleeast
    they only 1st him to be the qatar lookalike JTC corporation mployin him as CEO…

  • Curious

    I was wondering…… ministers pay Income Tax?

  • dopplerganger

    The Ministers’ salaries are getting out of this world. I think that these people are paid so much that they now imagine that they are in heaven. When defending their mind boggling salaries they have a few reasons which appear to me as mind boggling as the salaries. Reasons put up by them include: “We must have those large sums so as to prevent corruption from springing up amongst us.” This is an admittance that they have weakness a weakness for money. “After our term of service we are not going to get grand book royalties or fees for speeches like eg Clinton and Blair etc.” This merely reflects on their mediocrity on the world stage. “Singapore is unique and it takes large sums to induce us do the hard work to ensure its prosperity.” Singapore is unique indeed in having no global responsibilities now undertaken by US,UK, Japan etc yet the salaries of its ministers are several times more than the ministers of those countries. “We have equal responsibilities as top bankers and other top professionals.” True, but they do not have to bear the commercial risks borne by these top professionals. The job of a minister is totally riskless in Singapore as there is no accounting for lapse and mistakes.

    I think that the ministers’ salaries must be scaled back to normal proportions as they seem to operate more and more out of tune with the well- being of the rank and file of Singaporeans. When their salaries fairly reflect their capabilities and efforts, then their efforts and thought processes will become more down to earth. For example it will then not seem to them so necessary to import an overwhelming foreign population ( being a significant proportion of the local population), to increase the GNP of Singapore. I doubt you can find another country that does this in the same scale and time span.

    How are we to determine what are fair remuneration to the president, prime minister, ministers and other office holders? An opposition must be successfully elected who will be able to force the issue of an independent valuation of Ministers’ salaries. Business consultants routinely can do the assessments.

    Otherwise we will be in the grip of a vicious cycle of more foreigners, higher ministerial pay, higher GNP, more foreigners, higher GNP, higher ministerial pay……….

    I think the cycle is not sustainable for any citizen except the ministers.

  • pancake

    Got a question – Many civil servants resign and join NTUC months before contesting in the elections. NTUC somehow creates positions for them. How is NTUC funded, to be able to pay these people? Through union membership fees? Is this why there was a drive to increase membership? Or through government money?

  • Chis Lim

    I am a neutral party Singaporean.
    Globalisation had greatly impacted everyone. As Singapore is a red dot with no resources, a change in our industries and job opportunities affects our workforce greatly. Electronics manufacturing jobs used to be in high demand and almost non existence in Singapore and it is replaced with pharmaceutical manufacturing. However, these new industries are hiring people with related industry experienced or qualification. The easy way is for company to get foreign talent. I felt that Singapore govt should encourage companies to hire Singaporean whom are willing to engage these new industries as priority before they bring in these foreign talent. There should be a more tighter control of foreign policy and involving the companies to resolve this issue. More should be done to support the local workforce whom are displaced,especially those who are in 40 to 60 years range to re-engaged new industries. These are the generation that were brought up under the older industries landscape and now face a disadvantage position due to age.

  • ispyQATARagency

    Q&Afor the PRIME Minister…
    are you ready? are you comfortable? is your mic loud & clear? if not
    try tappin the mic 3 Times..not sayin open seasame 3 times..
    1) why is YOUR 2 sons in canada studying?
    if you hav boosted so loud so much ow good our singapoor universities is…
    2) why did gohchoktongue daughter become a quitter and lived in england? when there is not even 1 casino royale in london?
    now the answer is?
    do you needs to poll the audience?
    do you need a lifeline(i give you 2 lark)
    do you need a 70/30 chance(afterall we ALL know ow greedy/stupid you are…


    i don’t mind paying GST, Taxes or minister pay, provided they landed me a decent pay job …cos i really, really cannot afford to pay them now cos nobody wants me. i feel so useless and ashamed…

  • prettyplace


    Your question is too tough and will take along time to answer in this short period of time. Please listen to the next speech. I might give hints.

    Thank You for asking anyway.

    If you had asked Bilahari Kuasikan, this question, it would have been an entirly diffrent answer.


    i don’t want an opposition party, anyway ruling party will justify and implemented it.
    i don’t want no PR to come my country to complete with me cos i need them as little as they want to contribute to the company.
    i don’t want to complaint anymore before they implemented something new without thinking of the consequences.
    i don’t want to have no faith in them cos PAP is the ruling party.
    i have learned..

  • bORN tHIS wAY

    Ha !

    He didn’t know that why 33.4% voter in GE 2006 don’t want ” A” Team ???


    Prime Minister Cancer Lee, my question :

    If LEE KUAN YEW, your father DIE before you….do u think u can still continue to rule Singapore n co-operate with all “elites” ministers?

    Your Sincerely

  • hardeepak

    I don’t understand the FT/FW bashing. They get paid a pittance so that the services to the public remain affordable. Deport all foreigners and employers will pay a premium for all the lower skilled jobs (that is if Singaporeans want to take up these jobs). The cost will then be transferred to the people (more expensive fried noodles) and people will complain again.

    So what’s the solution? What are the policy options the government have?

  • mice is nice

    hardeepak, 11 April 2011

    you too extreme case lah, no S’porean demand govt to deport all foreigners. anyway companies have been all along defering any cost increase, even if govt dun let in 1 foreign worker. just look at our public buses, got no foreign worker? still cost go up, along with their profits.

    same goes for food at heartland eateries, retail shops, etc. if people cannot afford to earn decent wages, den money gotta be had, by hook or by crook. that makes a crook legit doesn’t it, more legit than superscale $$ civil servants? for survival’s sake mah, no choice.

  • eaglefly

    the trouble is, there is no “level playing field”.

    many so called, investments, come in on FREE RIDE, due to the many subsidies the gov hands out to these freeloaders.

    schemes, like EDB,productivity incentives, AIS, rent subsidies (JTC), land subsidies(URA) and many more from the MANY gov machinery, given out to ATTRACT such investments,are at the expense of locals(money given to create jobs but then the jobs and high wages goes to someone else).

    how in the world would another company somewhere else be able to compete with such companies here, given the current low tax rate, plus tax free incentives for pioneering or regional hq and other so called wonderful names.

    they certainly have it all, in job credits during lean years, subsidies in all kinds, even electricity and water, for wafer plants.






  • ispyQATARagency

    eaglefly 11 April 2011
    the trouble is, there is no “level playing field”.

    many so called, investments, come in on FREE RIDE, due to the many subsidies the gov hands out to these freeloaders.
    yeap freeloaders liked crazyhorse saloon where topless bardancin was shioked in the eyes of leekingyou(he simply cannot goes overseas without his BODYGUARD wife)
    the lastest university from australia was subsidied with 50/50 or just closed down within 3 months…
    virgin groups investments? ow much did richard brandson(i know richard branson PERSONALY in his houseboat by little venice) thrown in? ow much was lost by singapoor inc?
    now would the PRIME minister cared to answer?

  • sturmtruppen

    Think please…

    Why only when GE is around the corner…now the leeder wants to come out and “talk” to the so called “ground” level folks…

    Why now?

    Why not 4 years ago…

    Why not 3 years ago…

    Why not 2 years ago…

    Why oh why not 1 year ago…

    The PIGS think all other people more stoopigder than them lah…

    It seems the animals in the farm are more productive, more hard working and more self sacrificing than the PIGs & their “pets”…

    Now how silly is that…with short term view and even shorter term gains…haiz…

    Oi Leeder…or leecher…go look up this place National Ignition Facility…than think big…not small like peanuts lah…else u do diff from woody’s wife.



    let’s go privatisation. no responsibility, no finger pointing, no subsidy and all problem solved..finally, no ruling party and no opposition party..cheers,

  • iamtheboss

    Think please…

    Why only when GE is around the corner…now the leeder wants to come out and “talk” to the so called “ground” level folks…

    Ans: No yearly appraisal for them.

  • Peanuts pay

    Thanks to the people who have given me guidance on the issue i face. I totally agree n believe in what is ‘gai chao huan dai’-Means time to have a change of dynasty that rule the city. If i will to ask everyone eat the same food for 5 years? 10 years or more? Would you eat? Definately not..right..i felt that the cost of living and our daily necessities will shoot high up like the stock market after the GE.

  • Robert Teh

    9 April 2011,

    I hope PM Lee will be sincere and answer to my question at live form on 12.4.2011 (see below)

    Dear Prime Minister Lee,

    I believe that it is important to settle the basics and fundamentals of nation building.

    In the current form, such basics and fundamentals as the PAP government has adopted are perhaps too conceptual. They are open to differing interpretations with people tending to talk in circles and rhetorics instead of going down to the root causes and solutions.

    I wonder if you could offer insight into how PAP will in future work towards making concepts like leadership, talent, creativity and entrepreneurship manageable, quantifiable and measurable for acceptable monitoring of progress. I beliieve that the addressing of problems and finding of solutions at the basics and fundamentals will help to avoid creating high costs of living and rich-poor divide due to conceptual policies like pragmatism, anti-welfarism, which have government resort to privatizations of essential government services and pricing of HDB housing at market prices less a bit of discounts that create a significant rich-poor divide in our little red dot. Such policies also lead to exodus of our talent and lowering of birth rates. Leadership and one-party system due to our lack of talent may look good but they may lead to other serious problems. Don’t you think we should change such conceptual approach in order to bring about your vision to build a cohesive and inclusive society.

    Thank you.

    Robert Teh Kok Hua
    A Hougang Resident

  • Mrs Tan

    Cash incentives and matching deposits to encourage couples to have more babies. Good scheme but short-lived effects, especially to the lower-income group. If the scheme is meant to help parents with the rising costs of raising a child, it definitely does more help to the middle or high-income groups. Also, certain ethnic group will benefit more from this scheme as with or without the cash incentive, they are already making more babies as compared to other ethnic groups. They sure welcome this extra incentive! In fact more and more of them are driving bigger cars and becoming more well-to-do.
    Now you get to see more and more of them entering politics, thus people belonging to this ethnic group can get their voices and grievances heard and problems attended to more quickly as we know they are VERY UNITED.
    Talking about illegal parking when going to holy places for praying, this group of people seems to be able to get away with fines easier then any other ethnic group, because HDB hire carpark attendants mostly belonging to this group of people.

    Talking about bringing in more foreigners to work in Singapore, we have to accept the fact that this is a move that Singapore government has to make. Singaporeans are not willing to take up dishwashers, toilet cleaners, coffeeshop waiter jobs as we are too “pampered” growing up in Singapore. However, you get to see pretty chinese faces cleaning up the shopping malls’ toilets and clearing away tables at coffeshops. We have to do some soul-searching regarding this aspect. Nowadays we can see many chinese nationals taking up the jobs of bus captains. I must say there isn’t much to complain about their driving skill and attitude but in term of linguistic skills, there is room for improvement as tourists may have difficulty communicating with them in English should they need to ask for directions or about the route. Most of the tourists might think that Singaporeans are not bilingual afterall as widely known across the globe.

    About housing issues, I am one of the many who can’t afford even a 3-room flat. I am cooped up in a 1-room rental flat as I have taken up a housing grant of $40,000 before and am considered a second-time and incentives are mostly for first-timers. I made a loss when I sold my walk-up 4-room flat due to ignorance. Therefore, with little cash on hand (not even enough to pay COV), I doubt I will be able to move for the next few years. I am paying for my wrong decision and I shan’t complain as long as I have a shelter for my kids and family.

    To conclude, nobody’s perfect, so is the government. So long as Singapore continues to progress, I am contented. Thank you for hearing our little voices out here.

  • DTx

    Don’t understand the program and why it should be “Live” since all the question are filtered before hand and the people chosen are also filtered. Answers are obviously well thought out before hand as well. Wayang also no need to be so obvious, no need to waste people’s time. Just go to web site and do a compilation and he would have known what question people like to have answers to and just publish them.

  • Rockdevlin

    There’s no harm in trying Mr Ravi.I don’t think your question will be aired anyway.This show was put up to counter the earlier ambush during the kent ridge’s forum.I believe this is a damage control measures that the PM is taking to boost back his credibility that’s all!Its just a WAYANG!

  • katie

    What I am trying to ask that hopefully that after the GE later of the month, nothing will increase such as household supply,as such that rumour saying there will increased after the payout of the grow and share. I think that our Government should take a “break” on the increase, as we public need a break to breathe better. I think that they should think that they had been gradually increase things too fast for us to absorb. Please look back for the lower income and middle income earners, having difficulty to breathe.
    I hope you will answer my questions.

  • David

    Watch the show yesterday night and strongly feel that the indian unionist who was presence is a waste of resources because he appeared to help PM answer questions instead of posing questions on him.

    Another indian FT turned citizen really confused us as to what he was trying to say. His englang sucks!

  • sian

    I am not against bringing in more foreigners to work in Singapore to take up dishwashers, toilet cleaners, coffeeshop waiter jobs as well as CEO, MD, Managers and good mid-level jobs.

    All are WELCOME afterall Singapore is a emigration country.

  • mice is nice

    sian, 13 April 2011

    actually i am quite against foreigners taking up toilet cleaner jobs, any cleaning jobs for that matter.

    cos they not 1st world hygiene standard, no one see them do job then they maybe anyhow “clean”. table cloth wipe toilet bowl then wipe basin counter….

    when got health epidemic then you know what difference it makes. golden tape oso cannot save you…


  • Robert Teh

    Without true leadership based to transparency and accountability, there will be more NKFs, More Mas Selamats, and Nuclear generators now pending decision by the one-man rule causing radiations to be escaped will be convengiently explained away by such form of live forum.

  • Lim Kai Hin

    Dear Prime Minister,

    You promise to increase average worker’s salary and improve productivity.

    May I know how many Ministers, MPs and secretaries are there in the PM’s office? And how much needed per month to keep them? How then do you measure the productivity in the PM’s office?

  • dopplerganger

    When I turned on my TV a few days ago I heard the PM explaining why bringing in foreign talents does not affect us in our jobs in Singapore. I want to tell you that I am mighty surprised that a Cambridge scholar in Mathematics can tell the people of Singapore such a story;

    That whether the talents are in Singapore or in some other countries, Singaporeans will still feel the same level of heat of their competition. He seems to ignore the fact that the bulk of jobs for which all these great talents are engaged at need almost daily face to face interaction with colleagues. In such situations, proximity counts. Proximity affects the frequency of meetings and the facilitation of supervision and management. The saying goes,”You can’t fax a handshake.”

    The local resident will have local knowledge of local peoples’ preferences, affordability, culture and other fine details that long time residency informs him.

    So although, the talent located away from Singapore will be in competition with me, the intensity of the competition will be reduced. Thus as a local I should have many advantages for a job located in Singapore, so a higher probability of being employed for a particular job as against a foreigner of equal merit. In most jurisdictions the foreigner has no free access to jobs in other countries as there are strict rules for his employment when there are similarly qualified people locally. Check with the UK and US conditions for the employment of foreigners, and you will find that there is not such an easy path to be employed in these countries. This barrier will increase the cost of employing a foreigner, both for the country and for the applying foreigner.The foreign talent should be orders of magnitude more qualified for the job, in order to equalize his competitive pull to get the job, as is the case in UK and US.

    Perhaps what PM means is that he has removed all barriers for foreigners to work in Singapore. If all barriers are removed, then indeed the force of competition whether actual or potential is the same whether the talent is in Singapore or outside it. In this way, the fact of distance, culture, local knowledge, personal contact are removed at one stroke by our Prime Minister.

    Why do such a bad thing to your own people, I hear you ask. Hubris. When you are paid millions more than Presidents and Prime Ministers of every other country, you lose touch with your people and your compact with them is thrown to the winds.

    However, a case can be made for inviting foreign talents as nuclei to grow the body of our own expertise. In the beginning that may be the philosophy. But as soon as the Cabinet of Ministers got paid those enormous, obscene sums, some ten or fifteen years ago, with salaries proportional to the GNP, such strategical purpose was abandoned.

    How did the indiscriminate entry of foreign talents get pass Parliament? The reason is that, with the one party rule,Parliament becomes a stamping machine in Singapore. The monolithic structure admits no countervailing forces to spoil the PM’s concentration. This is what he himself said about how the impact of opposition parties will affect his own decision making process. Incidently, this argument I outline above to you on why the Government allows almost everyone talent or not to come to work in Singapore has become a mantra of the Ruling Party. There are many other mantras, which collectively brought us to our present condition

    A number of mantras are cooked up by the Ruling Party. We shall examine another one. A mantra which flashes in my head is this one: “We have to pay the PM, President, Cabinet Ministers very high because after their tenure of service they will not be getting grand fees through talks and book royalties, unlike their counterparts in America, Russia, Europe and Britain.”

    Well the quick explanation is that: it is because of their mediocrity on the world stage that they are not sought after to be heard. We the suffering citizenry of Singapore do not have to compensate them for their lack of stature, do we? -in millions of Dollars per annum at that. Their inability to make their mark on the people of the world shows up as the true valuation of their jobs in dollar value. At present these Parliamentary jobs are much too much over valued. The almost exponential increase of their salaries must stop and be reversed. A grand heist is actually in progress.

    An earlier mantra is that we have to give up such exorbitant sums to them to compensate them for not being corrupt!
    Don’t you think that their moral fibre is really very fragile if this is a sincere reason for insisting for a remuneration over the moon. Is this the threat of corruption itself?

  • LT

    I guess this GE 2011, we may see a kind of “Jasmine Evolution” in Singapore (not that of Jasmine Revolution in ME) but disquiet Singaporean hoping to see a first world parliament where the interest of the citizens are well represented. If PAP win 60% vote and Opp 40%, then we should hope to see some 40 opp members in Parliament. This will not be the case because of this GRC system. PAP stance is clearly making this not at level playing field. So some kind of Jasmine Evolution may occur and the parliament can really move towards a first world standard. For me, i hope a good fair numbers of opp can be elected – Chen / Sylvia / Low / Chiam / etc. NCMP system is crap!

  • Alex Har, SINGAPORE

    Foreigners love Singapore as they are protected by minimum wage laws. Many Singaporeans especially older ones are not inclined to work as often get exploited since they do not have minimum wage protection.

  • Robert Teh

    Now that all the big-banner government policies have been abused as double-edge sword to stay in power with hypocrisy and justification LHL is seen to begin to change his tune.

    He is seen as avoiding talking about talents and leadership of his ministers like BBT but are more humble with a new approach: “Election ir not about arguments who is right or wrong, but who forms the better team”

    The folloowing major policies of the one-man rule system have not worked)see abuses as shown in brackets)

    “anti-welfaism”, (tax citizens but charge citizens for every service)
    “asset enhancement” (freehand to make monies for ministers to make huge profits to pay over-inflated ministers’ salaries and bonues and retirements)
    “tax-and-privatize” (e.g. medical and public housing charged at market prices)
    “multi-racialism (GRCs to eliminate one-man-one-vote fair election)
    “meritocracy” (elitism and rich-poor divide)
    “foreigner talent creates jobs” (import one millions foreigners to push up property prices by 60 & to enrich the rich and government)

    Ideas and policies of the kind we have seen have been used as double-edge sword to justify self-centered one-man democracy.

    Let’s not give up people’s fight for open and accounable first-world governing system and not to be decieved by MBT’s so-called asset enhancement policy.

  • Robert Teh

    Khaw has started off his campaining today by denying that the rising cost of housing and living is a worldwide phenomenon.

    Perhaps, he can confirm with facts that the public housing cost has not been increased phenomenally due to Mah Bow Tan’s market-pricing and the rising costs of living have not been caused by government taxing and privatizing system which double-tax the people.

    He can also tell people with fact that the import of one million of foreign labor in such an indicriminate manner as posted in many people’s feedbacks has not resulted in pushing up our housing costs by 65% over the last one year or so?

    The government’s ministers like him being paid millions are in a denial state trying to cover up shortcomings and mistakes due to their own lack of understanding of plight of ordinary people.

    His own transfering of medical charges which have been going up over the years due to the taxing and privatizing of essential services to the CPF medical shield and medisave have resulted in people’s losing their retirement sum in their CPF.

    Is he not prepared to answer these problems caused by the whole tax and privatizing system of governing.

  • Lih CH

    Well said! I think you reflect the reality of all this “job recreation” policy. Sometimes policy looks nice on paper but when come to implementation produces unintended results. I suppose then the policy makers try to “cover up” by picking up one or two successful “victims” to present to the public through “controlled” media.

  • passerby

    LKY Condemns Politician Who Apologizes:

  • Robert Teh

    Lih CH,

    The ministers follow a fixed format or stereotype replies to criticisms as posted in the News thread to typical pap forummers like Devagi.

    They would just repeat standard replies like “we are the best”, “look at our track records and good policies on this and that”, “we know what to do and will look into this or that”. These are all motherhood statements quite meaningless and rhetorical.

    The root cause of our loss of economic competitiveness and problems facing the middle and lower-income groups today like rising costs of housing and living, is attributable to MM Lee’s anti-welfare stance he took since the early 1960s.

    It is good to support an anti-welfare system of governing due to our lack of resources.

    However, other than this policy, if we look closely, he has no other strategies except in legalistic wrangling of laws and regulations and control illusions to keep himself and his party in power.

    He has overkilled this anti-welfare policy. Today, he has imposed this policy on the second and third generation leaders until the government has become a taxing and money-making Singapore Inc only interested in making monies from people. There is a loss of direction in implementing a strategic economic master plan to grow the economy.

    By taxing and recovering all possible costs from people with privatization government becomes rich with no necessity to worry about economic development.

    With so much reserves being accumulated, and lands being sold to the highest bidders for commercial development even for public housing, people end up paying higher and higher taxes and fees for even basic services like medical, transportation, and housing.

    They have little disposable incomes to live normal lives and retirements or get married and bring up families except the top earners and elites who are enjoying first world standards of living.

    The worse happens when the economic started going downhill and shortcuts are taken like going for IR and importing of millions of foreign labor on the pretext of job creation are imported to increase their votes that further drive up costs of housing and living.

    Facts must be told as they are – calling a spade a spade – by netizens. Ministers are losing direction how to increase economic competitiveness through moderating costs of doing business. Ministers are not interested in lowering costs of living or doing business and kept quiet on MBT anti-competitive asset enhancing which is non-productive from the economic management perspective. That is why we are not becoming a vibrant economy for many years now.

    Newspapers and state media cannot be counted upon to bring up such social problems.

    The defenders of justice are not PAP MPs or ministers but the netizens. MM Lee after election is again trying to impose his control mentality on the party by saying that auto-pilot will not do, leadership is essential to Singapore success.

    The social problems which we witnessed in this election which PM Lee acknowledged as problems he will look into are not understood by MM. He reserve on the post election conference with remarks like economic competitiveness will have to be looked at as a whom by looking at case-by-case study with approaches and trade-offs. He is saying that he is adopting a contingent ad hoc approach unlike Goh Keng Swee who knew his strategic Sun Tzu Art of War fairly well.

    Despite PM Lee promise not to follow MM Lee’s style MM Lee again is seen to be asserting his control illusions on post-election thank-you tour to emphasise need for his leadership which has basically created the big problems today.

    People have to closely watch how PM Lee will become his own man in the face of such interference.

  • TK

    Why do we even bother to ask our government anything? They will deny everything.

    I don’t think anything will change due to they high mandate for the GE.

    I am moving to Germany to be discriminated there. At least, I get discriminated in Germany, not in Singapore.

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