by Dr Chee Soon Juan, Secretary General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)
“The current climate of persistent inflation and dampened economic growth looks set to continue in 2023.” – TODAY, 3 Jan 2023
“…professional forecasters raised their forecast for inflation in Singapore for both 2022 and 2023.” – Straits Times, 14 Dec 2022
“Inflation will remain higher in 2023 than the historical average. Monetary Authority of Singapore” Straits Times, 27 Oct 2022
Yet, the People’s Action Party (PAP), in all its infinite greed, has raised the Goods & Service Tax (GST) to 8 per cent.
Welcome to 2023, my friends. It doesn’t end there; a year from now, it’ll be 9 per cent.
The tragedy is that through all this, S’poreans have never found it easy to make a buck. We scrimp and scrape, that dollar getting ever more difficult to earn.
But ensconced in their gilded offices and aided by coteries of civil servants catering to their every whim – all paid for by public funds – the PAP, with a stroke of the pen, continues to keep up their regimen of raising the cost of living for the people.
1% here, $2 there may not seem like much to wealthy ministers. But for the rest of us, it’s a gruelling existence.
But in a parallel universe, times have never been so good for the ruling few.
Take, for instance, the mayors. Low Yen Ling, Denise Phua, Desmond Choo, Alex Yam, Mohd Fahmi Aliman, all mayors, are paid $660,000 plus another $192,500 (MP allowance) annually.
That’s a grand total of $852,000 or 4 million big ones over a 5-year parliamentary term. And it’s all coming right out of your pocket.
Quick question: how long does it take you to make $4 million?
Now take a look at how much the Mayor of London gets: $250,000 a year. And he takes care of a constituency of 2.5 million voters, roughly the same number of voters in the whole of Singapore.
And what do our Singapore mayors do? Damned if anyone knows.
In the meantime, they dish out construction projects that are quite inexplicable. I’ve pointed on innumerous occasions wasteful spending on projects that have little benefit to the people: walkways that lead to nowhere, amphitheatres that no one uses, million-dollar rubbish centres that no one gets.
I have one more. The picture attached shows what looks to be a make-shift bus-stop erected next to an existing one that looks perfectly serviceable. That was several weeks ago when it was cordoned off but nothing has yet been done.
It’s easy for the PAP to knock down, tear up, build again projects that cost huge amounts of money and then increase taxes and fees to pay for them. For the government, it’s easy money.
On a more astronomical scale, we recently “wrote down” $275 million over the FTX cryptocurrency collapse. But according to future-PM Lawrence Wong, we suffered a “reputational damage”. It’s ok, we’ll just move on, plenty of those $$ where it came from.
But even that amount is dwarfed by what we lost in the 2008 Financial Crisis, where losses in investments in Western banks amounted to hundreds of billions. Again, all is well as we just move on.
For years, the SDP has warned hard on this matter. We’ll continue to do so. The only way that we’re to bring the PAP under control is for the country to elect more opposition MPs – ones who will take the PAP to task.
This opinion piece was first published on Dr Chee Soon Juan’s Facebook page