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PRs earn 46% more than Singaporeans?

By Leong Sze Hian

Don’t you sometimes get the “lingering feeling after doing something, that you may have missed something. In the matter of fact, as I am looking forward to get my Senior Citizens’ concessionary travel pass in 4 months’ time, this feeling has been occuring more often of late.

Well, I felt this after writing “Parliamentary reply on incomes: No “all workers”, “excluding employer CPF” data?”, Jul 9)

As I was early for my usual volunteer work doing financial counseling for bankrupts, I decided to go buy my favourite 50 cents you tiao, which I have not had for quite some time.

Like they say – munching on a you tiao can do wonders!

The sparks began to fly inside my mind – and I began to postulate – perhaps finally I can try to estimate the income of PRs relative to Singaporeans (Thanks to NCMP Mrs Lina Chiam).

Why thank Mrs Lina Chiam? You see, NCMP Mrs Lina Chiam had asked for the income of Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners in her Parliamentary question.

The reply to her question only gave the statistics for Singaporeans and Residents (Singaporeans and PRs).

So since there is no answer given, I shall attempt to estimate or even guess!

I may be wrong, but who can blame me right?

So, here goes:

Source: Comprehensive Labour Force Survey
Source: Comprehensive Labour Force Survey

The median income for Singaporeans and Residents was $3,248 and $3,480, respectively, in 2012.

(Singaporeans’ income $3,248 x 0.85) + (PRs’ income A x 0.15) = Residents’ $3,480 (assuming that the proportion of PR workers is about the same 15 % as that in the population)

Therefore PRs’ income A = $3,480 – $2,760.80 / 0.15
= $4,794.67

$4,794.67 / $3,248 = 1.476

So, does it mean that PRs earn about 47.6 % more than Singaporeans?

Perhaps the more significant question to ask is – does it indicate perhaps that most of the better paying jobs may be going to PRs, relative to Singaporeans?

Since the reply did not provide the Employment Pass and S-Pass median incomes (which I’m sure they have) – perhaps there can be a follow-up question in Parliament for the median income of Employment Pass, S-Pass and total foreign passes (Employment Pass and S-Pass combined). And for good measure – might as well ask for the income of PRs to verify my estimate computed above.

Finally, why is it that we can break-down some of the labour data into Singaporeans and PRs, like the unemployment rate, number of unemployed, but not for the total workforce, employment change, long-term unemployed, and of course now the median incomes?

Editor note :

Why is it important that answers are to be given for such questions asked? Not because PRs should be targeted upon nor complain against just because they are earning more than Singaporeans, but it is to have the truth revealed behind all these smokescreen so that real issues with policies on employment, immigration and benefits/cons for the citizens can be clearly defined.

Because only with real figures and clear statistics can we find out the implications of policies and plans set for the future, whether is it good or bad. Because should there be any hindsight by justifying current policies with half truths or just words of assurance, our next generation will be the ones carrying the burden of any side effects then.