Blogger and activist Roy Ngerng rebutted PAP’s senior politician and MP Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s recent remark that unemployment insurance or benefits are needed in advanced countries with high structural unemployment, saying that it is “not very true”.
Mr Shanmugaratnam was quoted by Today on 23 July as saying that Singapore has managed to keep its unemployment rates relatively low so far despite the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy, meaning that it doesn’t need unemployment insurance for now.
He said, “We don’t need it in Singapore yet because our unemployment rates are very low and we’ve been able to get people back into jobs relatively quickly.”
Mr Ngerng, however, rebutted this statement in a Facebook post on the same day where he provided a chart showing the unemployment benefit rate and unemployment rates in several advanced countries.
The activist noted, “According to the World Bank, Singapore’s unemployment rate in 2019 was 4.1%.”
Pointing to the chart he shared in the post, Mr Ngerng added, “I also chart the net replacement rate of the unemployment insurance, or the proportion of unemployment insurance as a proportion of the last-drawn salary an unemployed person receives.”
He did this based on information from OECD statistics.
Mr Ngerng highlighted that while the article by Today said “advanced countries that need unemployment benefits so far are those with high structural unemployment,” there are still countries with lower unemployment rates than Singapore which still provide unemployment insurance.
“And when you look at the unemployment insurance in these advanced countries, some of them provide unemployment insurance at as high as 80% to 90% of the last-drawn salary of a worker,” he continued.
Mr Ngerng went on to say he is “disappointed” with Mr Shanmugaratnam for making the earlier statement, adding that “ this is a PAP statement he has to make because the PAP refuses to implement unemployment insurance, and he is not allowed to say otherwise.”
He added, “However, as you can see below, the evidence goes against Tharman’s claims and the PAP’s claims about unemployment insurance.”
The activist noted that the implementation of an unemployment insurance is up to “political will” and whether a government is willing to provide protection to is workers who have lost their jobs to help tide them through the high cost of living while they look for a new job,
“Basically, the PAP doesn’t want to implement it. It is selfish,” he slammed.
Moving on to Mr Shanmugaratnam specifically, Mr Ngerng said, “The longer Tharman is with the PAP, the longer he has to speak PAP, but this only further destroys his reputation, when he has to speak against the evidence.”
As for the PAP, he echoed a critique that has been said before, which is that “the PAP today is no longer the PAP of the past,” adding that “it will not implement the policies that are needed to protect Singaporeans.”