During People’s Voice (PV) chief Lim Tean‘s daily Facebook Live at 5pm earlier today, he had addressed several issues in Singapore such as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), the Government’s goal of achieving 10 million population as well as the pay equality in Singapore.
Starting off with his Live broadcast, Mr Lim expressed that Lee Hsien Yang joining the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) was a piece of “fantastic news” and it would be an “entire boost” to the alternative parties.
“It shows that the opposition is getting really good people and of course we know who he is, and the fact that he’s willing to stake a claim now in the political arena and to go head-to-head with the PAP the party that is led by his brother is going to create a real buzz in his election.”
People’s Voice wants to abolish CECA
He responded to the questions from the viewers who asked him about PV’s stance on CECA by declaring that the CECA was “absolutely disastrous” and a “one-way street”. He explained that it is a “one-way street” because there isn’t a reciprocal flow of Singaporean workers into India.
Following his view on CECA, he mentioned that this is a type of treaty that “gives globalisation a bad name”.
Mr Lim also noted that CECA had resulted in Singaporeans losing their income source to “cheaper imports” when the local citizens “shouldn’t have to suffer this indignity”.
He declared that if PV is in any part of the Government, the party would want to abolish CECA, and would not give any chance to review it.
Despite CECA benefits certain big companies that were investing in India, Mr Lim questioned how the alleged benefits from this agreement would “flow back” to an average Singaporean.
“It is trickle-down economics at its worse, thinking that a Singapore company that has managed to get a foothold in the Indian economy through investments is going to have that benefits trickle back to Singapore, and trickle down to our average Singapore worker.
I do not believe that has happened.”
Pledging that PV stands for Singaporeans’ best interests, he claimed that his party is not going to allow a Singaporean job “being lost to a foreigner”.
“If PV is in government, we will abolish CECA on the very first day. Don’t come and give me all the technicalities that you will be in breach of this agreement or that agreement. At the end of the day, we are talking about people’s interests. And we are not going to stand by idly and see a Singaporean job being lost to a foreigner.
That is not the duty of government. That is a breach of obligation by the government who should be protecting the interests of their citizens.”
Rushing towards a 10 million population
The PV chief expressed that the rush towards a 10 million population in Singapore is “madness”. Recalling how Lee Kuan Yew compared the population between Hong Kong and Singapore, Mr Lim’s understanding of the comparison implied that a strong domestic economy would rely on a big domestic population.
“Lee Kuan Yew said the population of Hong Kong was 7 million or 7 million-plus, and I think the population of Singapore then was only about 3 million or 3 million-plus. And the implication was that, in order to have a strong domestic economy, you need a big enough domestic population.”
Mr Lim believed this is the genesis of the Singaporean government’s “fatal march” towards growing the population. He also mentioned that a “crazy-sized population” is not required for the nation to prosper.
Following his views on the Singaporean economy, the lawyer claimed that his party believes in promoting micro businesses.
“They are the hub of our innovation and creativity going forward. You are not going to get these GLCs being creative and innovative. There is no incentive for them too. They have the backing of big money of government money of Temasek. They are not the small, nimble companies that have to scramble to find funding to survive.”
Mr Lim further described that the SMEs – the small and micro businesses – that employ 70 per cent of our workforce. He explained that the businesses were struggling when COVID-19 hit Singapore, and his party wanted the Government set up an emergency fund so that these small businesses could survive.
He also recalled how Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat revealed that the Government had approved 4,500 companies that applied for loans. The PV founder stated that there are approximately 145,000 small enterprises in Singapore, and it showed that about 140,000 of these businesses did not manage to get the necessary support to keep them going.
Pay inequality in Singapore
Mr Lim mentioned that Singapore today is the “most unequal society in the world”. He recalled how the Singaporean government has ranked the bottom 10 in the world in its commitment to fighting inequality.
He brought up the salary issue where the Prime Minister earns S$183,000 a month, which is 40 times more than that of a cleaner. The lawyer thought it was impossible for the Government to redress the inequality when it believed that inequality is a “sign of success”.
This situation creates job insecurity and the sense of hopelessness where the people in their 20s and 30s will have a hard time catching up to the top ranks of the earners.
On behalf of PV, Mr Lim believed that Singapore cannot have ministers who “think they deserve high salaries” and “look down on those who do not earn well”.
He also emphasised that the Singaporean civil servants had never been “paid badly” since the early 70s. The chief does not support the idea of further raising the ministers’ salaries in order to “attract talents”.
Therefore, Mr Lim revealed that his party would push to slash the Prime Minister’s salary by 70 per cent, and readjust other ministers’ and top civil servants’ pay.