by Simon Lim
Last year, Singapore lost Broadcom, a Fortune 500 company, when it redomiciled to the United States. With that move, not only many local employees lost their jobs, the pap government loses much tax revenues and many of its local suppliers and vendors lost a major customer too.
This year, IBM manufacturing will be leaving Singapore, Kinokuniya book store at Liang Court has closed after operating there for 36 years and Orchard Road is so quiet almost every weekday evenings. The latest business bombshell failure was the Singapore Tourism Board’s announcement that “it is no longer pursuing medical tourism as a travel strategy.”
For about 3 decades, Singapore has been a very successful medical tourism centre. Wealthy international patients from Indonesia, Brunei, China and India etc came each year for a range of medical care and treatments. Along with them, many other businesses benefited such as travel, hotels and the retail trades etc. The multiplier effects were substantial and our economy and people benefited in no small ways. Singapore was able to offer well-trained, well- respected doctors with internationally accredited hospitals and quality assured treatments but all that has changed. Let me explain.
Today, Thailand and Malaysia have quietly made huge strides and inroads into the medical tourism pie at our expense. In lay man’s parlance, their medical tourism standards maybe 90% of Singapore’s but their costs may be only 50% of ours. Currency exchange in general and high costs, in particular, are surely killing our medical tourism golden goose and not forgetting that a lot of the costs of doing business in Singapore are government related costs. In other words, it is totally within their control if they are not so greedy or mercenary.
Today, under a very incompetent and greedy pap government, instead of further strengthening our pole position as an international premier health-care centre of choice that we have established and enjoyed over our neighbouring countries almost exclusively for years, Singapore Tourism Board has decided to give it all up and concluded that it is no longer worth our while to even try to savage it, that alone compete.
To add insult to injury, Singapore’s quality healthcare was ranked first for the most efficient healthcare system out of 51 countries by Bloomberg in 2014. It was ranked second in the world for healthcare outcomes according to the Economic Intelligence Unit ( EIU) in 2014 and last but not least, ranked first as a global favourite medical tourism destination in PHD Chamber and Medical Wellness Tourism Report of 2013 etc.
How times and fortune have changed hands under an undeniably useless Lee Hsien Long government. It is so very, very sad, unfortunate and needlessly so if only our electorates are smarter and more street-wise and not fell so easily for connections, impressive pap candidates’ paper qualifications but hardly any real life or relevant experiences, election ang-pows of a couple of hundreds of dollars, succumb to threats or clever political rhetoric lalala, etc only. Eventually, the people who will lose the biggest and lose out the most will be Singaporeans. Us and our children! Think.
This was first published on Simon Lim’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission.