Mr Leong Sze Hian takes a look at the recently-released People’s Action Party election manifesto and shares his thoughts – from a statistic point of view.
PAP Manifesto :
“CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR HIGHER INCOMES FOR ALL”
“Work with unions and firms to raise productivity and upgrade jobs in every line of work, so that all workers can raise their skills and earn more”
“Invest $2.5 billion in Continuous Education and Training, so that everyone has the chance to develop their skills and expertise or enter new fields throughout their working lives.”
My analysis of the Department of Statistics’ Average Monthly Household Income from Work among Resident Employed Households By Deciles, indicates that for the last five years, real incomes only increased by about between 1.4 and 2.9 per cent per annum among the different categories.
It may also be important to note that the definition of “Resident Employed Households” is “households headed by a Singapore citizen or permanent resident with at least one working person”.
Therefore, it excludes households that do not have any employed person. Examples of such households are the unemployed (66,400 as of December last year), discouraged unemployed (10,900) and those undergoing full-time training with some funding under Government schemes (number unknown).
If an adjustment is made for these ‘excluded’ households, real income growth may be lower.
My analysis of the MOM’s Report on the Labour Force in Singapore 2010 also indicates that workers’ real median wage only grew by about 1.2 per cent per annum from 1999 to 2010 – from $1,840 in 1999 to $2,500 in 2010.
“Now our economy has rebounded, and many more good jobs have been created”
A total of 115 900 jobs were created last year. Local employment (Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs)) grew by 56,200 and foreign employment grew by 59,700. This means that the rate of change of growth in foreign employment over the previous year’s was about four times more than that for locals over the previous year’s 41,800.
This is despite the consistent rhetoric that the influx of foreign workers into Singapore will be curtailed. Also, since the data for locals includes both Singaporeans and PRs, how many of the jobs created actually went to Singaporeans?
“IMPROVE THE LIVES OF LOWER-INCOME SINGAPOREANS”
“Provide new, high-quality and affordable HDB homes“
“Help them own their homes through the Additional Housing Grants and the new Special Housing Grants, and provide them more housing options including two-room flats”
With HDB prices increasing by about 69 per cent over the last five years, how helpful are the housing grants? They may not be able to catch up with the increase in HDB prices? We should also note that many Singaporean HDB flat buyers do not qualify for any of the housing grants – those who qualify may only qualify for some of them, and the moment your household income exceeds $1,500 a month, your grant, even if you qualify, reduces in quantum.
“Build new General Hospitals in Jurong and Sengkang, and keep health services affordable to all Singaporeans through the ‘3 Ms’ of Medisave, MediShield and Medifund.”
According to Credit Counseling Singapore’s (CCS) annual report, medical expenses was one of the top three reasons for indebtedness in 2010.
20.9 and 36.6 per cent of Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) respectively, sought help from CCS for their medical debts.
In the first quarter of this year alone, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has had to respond six times in the Straits Times Forum to writers with queries pertaining to the affordability of healthcare.
MOH’s replies repeat the consistent rhetoric that healthcare is affordable in Singapore, through the ‘3Ms’.
If so, why do the CCS statistics seem to indicate otherwise?
According to the Department of Statistics’ Yearbook of Statistics 2010, the total number of hospital beds in Singapore increased by 0 per cent, from 11,742 in 1999, to 11,663 in 2009. The number of polyclinics, at 18, has also remained unchanged during this 10 year period.
“Strengthen the safety net for the needy, ill or disabled through Medifund and Public Assistance, as well as ComCare and the many helping hands of the community”
The number of Singaporeans who qualify under the Public Assistance Scheme (PA) has hardly increased, from 2714 in December 2004, to 2,890 and 2,920, in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
When the question was last asked in Parliament as to the rejection rate for applications for Public Assistance, the answer was that about 50 per cent were rejected.
Singapore’s ratio of PA receipients relative to the population may be one of the lowest in the world.