In the midst of public concerns over the minimum wage, Taiwanese-based Singaporean activist and blogger Roy Ngerng Yi Ling took to his Facebook earlier today (16 July) to comment on Singapore ministers getting paid with the “highest salaries in the world” yet refusing to implement minimum wage, saying that this is “not normal” and constitute as an “abuse to Singapore’s workers”.
Mr Ngerng regarded this practice by the ministers as “selfish entitled hypocrisy”, given that the ministers are reluctant to pay higher wages to Singaporeans but at the same time, allow themselves to have high salaries.
“Why do they allow themselves to have the highest minimum ministerial salaries in the world, but refuse to implement minimum wage for Singaporeans? Then why should they have a minimum salary? Why such selfish entitled hypocrisy?
“What the PAP is doing is not normal. In fact, it is abuse to Singapore’s workers.”
He mentioned that in other countries where ministers are paid higher salaries, the citizens are also paid higher wages and have higher minimum wages.
In his post, Mr Ngerng shared a chart which shows a comparison between the salary of political leaders and minimum wages that are implemented in other countries.
The chart was published by The News Lens in an article titled, “The Crazy Rich Salaries of Singapore’s Ministers Versus the Poor Peasants Who Support Them” which compares the salaries earned by the Singapore ministers with other countries’ political leaders.
The article also noted that Singapore pays the highest salary for its political leaders as compared to other countries but at the same time, also pays the lowest wages among other similarly high-income countries.
Addressing those who are complaining about the minimum wage policy, Mr Ngerng asked, “Have you seen these countries collapse? Have they lost their productivity? Have they lost their ability to innovate? Have they been wiped off the existence of this planet?”
“Only in Singapore are the PAP ministers paid the highest salaries in the world, while still refusing to implement minimum wage, and where workers earn so much lower salaries than them.”
Mr Ngerng went on to say that the salaries rate between Singaporeans and Singapore’s Ministers should be paid correspondingly; if not, then the ministerial salaries should at least be reduced to match Singaporeans’ salaries.
“Basically, if they want to earn their high salaries, then Singaporeans should be paid significantly higher wages correspondingly. If they are unwilling to let Singaporeans earn higher wages, then they should bring down their salaries to match Singaporeans, which at the rate Singaporeans are paid, means the prime minister should only earn S$200,000 a year – because this is what representing Singaporeans is about.
“Until now, we still do not know – if it is not S$99 million, then what it is?”
Subsequently, Mr Ngerng asserted that “those who lecture about the minimum wage” should “get off from their high horses” and try to have the same lower wages of Singaporeans before telling Singaporeans not to ask for more.
“Or maybe, we should set a maximum wage so that they do not keep siphoning off our money, while we do not know how it is being used.
“They tell us high salaries will make them not corrupt. In the end, what we get are much lower wages.”
Mr Ngerng has raised the same issue last year regarding how the Singapore Government has kept the wages low even though the locals are struggling to make ends meet.
He lambasted the remarks made by the Members of Parliaments (MPs) over the financial difficulties faced by low-income households, saying that it’s obvious that people cannot make their ends meet simply because their wages are too low.
Mr Ngerng stated that the majority of PAP MPs are “powerless” because they have to listen to the top leaders of the party.
The blogger also explained that PAP will not increase wages as some of the biggest companies are owned by Temasek. As one would presume for Temasek to continuously garner higher earnings, low wages have to be maintained for the people.
“This is the same reason why Singaporeans cannot earn enough inside their CPF to retire, because the GIC, which uses money funnelled from the CPF into bonds and reserves, can only earn higher earning when Singaporeans earn low CPF payouts.”
WP’s Jamus Lim: Min wages is not unabashedly good policy. But it is a good start that is also evidence-based
Responding to the negative reactions that have emerged about The Workers’ Party’s manifesto for GE2020, WP’s Jamus Lim on Tuesday (14 July) had said that implementing minimum wage in Singapore is “not unabashedly good policy”, but it’s rather a “good start that is also evidence-based”.
Dr Lim explained that there is rarely “unambiguous evidence” in social sciences, adding that studies can produce difference results, which is why continued research is important & policies should be based on the overall literature.
He went on to explain that nearly all meta-analyses in the UK and US “find little or no employment effects” from minimum wages.
“Of course, there are country-specific idiosyncrasies. That’s why before rolling out such a policy here, it is crucial that we have an evaluation framework in place, and an independent min wage-setting board, which can make on-the-fly adjustments in response to local conditions.”
Dr Lim, who is part of the winning team in Sengkang GRC for GE2020, also pointed out that consumers and firms pay for the minimum wage, and not the Government.
“Who pays for the minimum wage? Some people think this would cost the government. Actually, most min wage models have no fiscal impact, and the burden is borne mostly by higher prices consumers pay (3/4), and in part by firms (1/4).
“I see this as a feature, not a bug. The point is to redistribute some bargaining power from capital to labor, and I think we can afford to chip in a little to take care of the least well-off in society. With many more buyers than min wage workers, the price effect will be small.”