Singapore People’s Party (SPP) member Khan Osman Sulaiman took to his Facebook on Tuesday (23 June), saying that the lack of social safety net and the absence of minimum wages law make Singapore look more like a third world country.
In a video that was posted on his Facebook, Mr Osman questioned the capability of the People’s Action Party (PAP) in tackling the issues brought up by globalisation.
Although Singapore has “transformed from a third world country into a first world nation” during the PAP’s over 60 years of ruling, he pointed out that the label of first world nation “seems hollow” due to the country’s lack of social safety net and absence of minimum wages law.
“It’s nice to be associated as a First World Nation, but this label seems…hollow when a moment…. Because for a develop nation like us, the lack of social safety net and the absence of minimum wages law make us looking more like a third world country,” Mr Osman remarked.
Highlighting that the PAP has refused to set the country’s poverty line, he noted that it has caused the public assistance funds to continue being below the level of subsistence and thus cannot provide adequately to those in need.
“Our elderly generation is forced to selling tissue paper and cardboard boxes to put food on their table. So how can we – as one of the richest countries in the world, treat our elderly people in this manner? I think this is the biggest failure of this PAP government,” Mr Osman added.
Speaking about the local wages, he mentioned that the problem of wages’ stagnation was compounded further by the labour immigration policy as well as the refusal to implement minimum wages.
Mr Osman asserted that the PAP has failed to strengthen the labour law to protect local workforce, adding that the people can only depend on the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), which seemingly shows higher priority in setting up “more mini mart and collecting more membership fees rather than protecting the employees’ right”.
Other than that, he also addressed the issue on high cost of public housing, where houses are now smaller in size but the cost of flat “has gone through the roof”.
“As an example, in 90s, 3-room-flat will cost us average hundred thousand dollars, but now it’s three times amount, and our wages are not keeping up in line with the price increase. This is why we have to work a lifetime to finish paying our mortgage,” Mr Osman uttered in the video.
He went on to say that the PAP is “woefully inept to handle” the problems that are brought up by globalisation, while hinting the need for more alternative parties in Parliament to discuss the policy gaps robustly.
“The PAP has always speech globalization as a strategy that will raise the living standard in Singapore, and I believe so. But with globalization, comes different sets of problems that this current government is woefully inept to handle. We have waited many long years for this problem to be addressed, yet time and again, this government has failed us all.
“Until we vote for more opposition parties in Parliament to discuss policy robustly, I’m afraid nothing much will probably change. Policy gap robust stand without vigorously debated, and in the end, we suffer,” Mr Osman remarked.