~by: Leong Sze Hian~

Consistent rhetoric vs outcomes

Like in school, we always say we will do better, but at the end of the day, we have to look at the report card.

The almost consistent rhetoric in past Budgets, has been along the lines of – we have these problems – these are our solutions – this is what we aim to achieve. Well, let's look at some of the outcomes.

Productivity growth?

“We will focus on productivity growth because it will raise real wages” – productivity grew by only 1% last year

Wage growth?

“We will grow real wages” – last year, the real median income of Singaporeans in full-time employment excluding the employers' CPF contributions, declined by – 0.7%.

For the last decade, the real median income grew by just 1.1% per annum

At the 20th percentile, it grew by only 0.2% per annum In the past, I understand that when foreign worker levies were raised, some employers reduced the wage for lower-income jobs. For example, the 25th percentile gross wage of waiters decreased from $930 to $819, from 2009 to 2010, according to the Job vacancies 2009 and 2010 reports, and has now further declined to only $800, according to the 2011 report.  And we have not even factored in inflation for the last three years!

Reduce foreign workers?

“We will reduce the inflow of foreign workers … increase foreign worker levies … raise the eligibility criteria for employment pass holders” – Local employment grew by 36,600 in 2011, against foreign employment growing by 84,800.

In fact, local employment growth declined by 35 per cent, from 56,200 in 2010. And of these, how many “locals” were Singaporeans.

In contrast, foreign employment growth increased by 42 per cent, from 59,700 in 2010

Promote more training?

“We will give more funding and help for training as better skilled and trained workers will get better wages” – Training participation fell in 2011 ……. 27% of residents aged 15 to 64 in the labour force participated in job-related structured training during the 12-month period ending June 2011.  This was down from 29% a year ago ….. fall over the year in average (mean) training duration from 17 to 16 days per trainee ….. average training days per trainee declined from 4.9 to 4.3 training days per adult

Help the disabled?

“We will help the disabled”. – If the Government can provide funding of $1.1 billion for a Bus Services Enhancement Fund, to provide funding for 550 buses to help the transport operators, why isn't a single cent being spent to give concessionary public transport fares for the disabled?

It is good to help the disabled get employed by giving incentives to employers, but can't we help to make it more affordable for them to travel to and from work in the first place?

More hospital beds?

“We will expand public hospital capacity” – According to the Department of Statistics’ Yearbook of Statistics 2010, the number of hospital beds in Singapore, has hardly changed – from 11,742 to 11,663, from 1999 to 2009.

The number of hospitals only increased by one, from 28 to 29.

During the same 10-year period, the population grew from 3.96 to 4.99 million.

In this connection, according to the article “Shortage of hospital beds, so some ops delayed” (Straits Times, Feb 17), “Changi General Hospital (CGH), for instance, has had to postpone some of its scheduled surgical operations at the end of last month and early this month as all its beds were taken.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) is once again putting patients in beds in corridors, where they usually spend a night before moving to a ward.

On Feb 2, half the inpatients at its emergency department had to wait more than six hours to get a bed. On three other days that week, half had to wait more than four hours, according to figures released by the Ministry of Health (MOH)”

Perhaps this is a case of too late too little.

Health-care spending increase?

“Health-care expenditure will double from $4 billion to $8 billion a year for the next five years” – Since the revised Budget Surplus of $2.3 billion is 0.7% of GDP, does it mean that the current $4 billion spending on healthcare is only about 1.2% of GDP and the increased $8 billion is only about 2.4% of GDP?  Does this put Singapore's public healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP as one of the lowest in the world?

Conclusion

Need to cut  rhetoric, and do something, anything, if the government wants to regain some credibility.


Part 1 HERE.

 

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

没剩多少时间 陈振声:明年1月国会需解散

在接受彭博社访问时,贸工部长陈振声表示,很多人以为我们还有很多时间,但实际上国会必须在明年1月解散,也就是本届政府的第一个国会议事的五年后。 我国需在明年四月前大选,陈振声称技术上这是正确的,但人们忘了,从本届政府第一个国会议事开始五年后,国会就必须解散。 “我们希望在时机出现时,能获得强大的委托,这是因为未来纪念我们将面的挑战,将是整个世代人们的挑战。” 目前,我国累计确诊病例已达到2万9364例。但当局鉴于社区病例减少,将在6月2日阻断措施结束,后分阶段放宽管制。 早前,政府在国会推出国会选举(冠状病毒19特别安排)法案,允许当局指定临时措施,如选举在疫情下举行,如何保障选民和候选人安全。

何晶:不应下定论群聚拥挤 造成客工宿舍疫情扩散

总理夫人何晶又发表“伟论”!她在周六(5月30日)发文,指出我们不应武断地定论,客工宿舍“群聚、拥挤”的情况,就是造成客工宿舍疫情爆发的主因之一。 何晶也是淡马锡首席执行长。淡马锡控股在疫情爆发后,也与盛裕控股集团寻找并确认博览中心,设立为社区护理设施。 何晶在贴文中解释,例如豪华游轮即便乘客都有独立的客房,但还是造成了疫情爆发;疗养院也不拥挤,监狱同样把囚犯区隔开来,但这些地方都出现了疫情。 社区护理设施(CCF)分为红黄绿区。一些隔离设施的“黄区”仍转变为感染群。她指出,在经过调查后,当局发现这可能是因为他们习惯把食物集中在一起,集体进食的社交习惯。 何晶提及分享食物的社交习惯存在于不同文化,也指她也认为防疫应着重在防止飞沫传播。 故此,她认为在大家反对拥挤客工宿舍、在仓促落实应对疫情的改变前,应先理解病毒的传播途径,以及人们社交习惯的本能。 “听起来像精英口气?” 不过,也有网民留言对何晶这番言论嗤之以鼻,“听起来像精英居高临下的口气,客工群体对我国经济社会作出重大贡献,这种论述似乎严重缺乏同情心。” 网民认为,即便客工的习俗可能造成疫情传播,但暗示这就是主要原因是谬误的,也缺乏基于事实的证明,反而促成分化我者与他者(因文化等)的区别。 杨莉明曾指工地共用工具也可能是传播途径 事实上,人力部长杨莉明在4月25日接受《联合早报》直播访谈, 曾提及专家研究也得知客工之间感染不仅是宿舍问题,他们也有共同工作场所如建筑工地等,而工地中工友间共用工具也可能是传染渠道之一。

Raising a question without an answer does not a complainer or grumbler make

Reading an article by Augustine Low entitled “Are grumblers losers?”, I wonder…

COVID-19 crisis amplified economic and sociopolitical weaknesses in Singapore – Academia.SG webinar

On 1 May, Academia.SG held a webinar titled “Beyond the pandemic: what…