Taiwanese-based Singaporean activist and blogger Roy Ngerng Yi Ling took to his Facebook on Thursday (25 July) and called Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a “hypocrite”. He was responding to an earlier Facebook post put up by PM Lee.
Two days ago (24 July), Mr Lee shared a video by Gov.sg titled “P.S. In One’s Shoes” where it screened a story of a civil servant who worked as a cleaner in a hawker centre in order to understand the life of these cleaners.
Upon watching the video, Mr Lee said no one should judge a person until they “walk a mile in their shoes”.
“Would you spend a day clearing plates at a hawker centre to understand the job of the cleaner, or check 36,000 niches to help someone locate a departed relative’s ashes? These are just two real stories of how public officers have helped Singaporeans, featured in a series of short films,” PM Lee wrote.
In response to PM Lee’s post, the blogger slammed the country’s leader and said that if the Government even tried walking a mile in the citizens’ shoes, then they would know that “it’s not enough for cleaners to earn S$1,100 or other low-income workers to earn S$1,000 in Singapore”.
In addition, he pointed out that if the Government actually cared about the people, then they would have implemented a “minimum wage of S$1,500 to protect low-income workers today, and come out with a plan to increase minimum wage to S$2,000 in the next few years”.
In fact, Mr Ngerng highlighted that other countries with similar GDP per capita or cost of living like Singapore have minimum wages of S$2,000 or S$3,000, which is way above the city-state. Countries like Norway and Denmark even offer S$5,000 as their minimum wage, the blogger noted.
“And a study recently released shows that Singaporeans aged 65 and above would need about S$1,300 minimum to live on, and those 55-64 would need about S$1,800, which means the rest of Singaporeans would need S$2,000 or more,” he wrote.
If that is not bad enough, the blogger also mentioned that at least 35% of locals take home a salary that is under S$2,000, which indicates that they are “severely underpaid”.
Looking at how Singaporeans are poorly paid, Mr Ngerng lashed out at PM Lee for asking them to walk a mile in others’ shoes when he himself refused to implement a minimum wage.
“Had he even bothered to walk in ours?” he asked.
This is not the first time Mr Ngerng had been critical of PM Lee. Back in 2014, the premier sued the blogger for defamation after the latter accused PM Lee in a blog for misappropriating state pension funds.
The High Court found the blogger guilty and he was was ordered to pay the prime minister S$150,000 in damages, which his lawyer said would be in instalments, beginning from S$100 a month until April 2021, when he will pay S$1,000 a month until the compensation is complete.
This means that the blogger is still paying his fine to date.