Blogger and activist Roy Yi Ling Ngerng took to Facebook on Thursday (6 Aug) to question Temasek CEO Ho Ching’s implication that Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth has benefited the country’s wages.
He is referring to a post she has shared on her Facebook page which made that claim.
Countering that assumption, Mr Ngerng went on to compare Singapore’s GDP to that of other countries in relation to wages as shown in a graph.
For example, he noted that the median wages of New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Canada are at about 85 to 95 per cent of the respective country’s GDP per capita. In comparison, Singapore’s is at only 50 per cent.
On top of that, the level of Singapore’s median wage in relation to its GDP is equivalent to the minimum wage of these other countries in relation to GDP per capita — that is about 50 to 60 per cent.
Mr Ngerng went on to highlight that Singapore also does not have a minimum wage. However, the wage earned by outsourced resident cleaners in the country is less than 20 per cent of the GDP per capita.
He answers the question of whether Singapore’s GDP per capita benefits Singaporeans and grows local wages with another question: “Why is the middle-income in Singapore earning a median wage that is at the rate of minimum wage in other countries?”
The blogger went on to note that if Singapore workers were to earn wages on par with that of other countries, middle-income workers here would be earning a median wage of about S$5,000 — which is roughly S$1,000 more than the current figure. He added that the minimum wage should also be set to S$3,000.
In fact, Mr Ngerng said that S$3,000 is the minimum wage in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. While in Canada, the minimum wage is S$2,500.
He continued, “And yet, Singapore has a GDP per capita that is higher than all of them, but Singapore’s workers earn lower than them.
“As such, when Ho Ching shared the article claiming that Singapore’s GDP growth has benefited Singaporeans, is this really true?”
Mr Ngerng also shared a link to an article by The New Lens which dissects the salary differential between Singapore’s Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, and cabinet ministers, in comparison to their counterparts in other nations.