Friday, July 31, 2009

Research Paper on Singapore's policy responses to ageing, inequality and poverty

Here's a research paper by Mukul G. Asher and Amarendu Nandy from the LKY School of Public Policy, NUS on Singapore's Policy responses:

This link provides a ppt presentation of the paper:
The entire paper (20 pages) can be found here if you have access:

I got the link to this paper from Mathia Lee's site [Link]. She has a copy of the 20 page paper and you can request a copy from her (email :

If you have time, read the ppt presentation yourself and form your own opinion. The conclusion you MUST read....given this fellers come from LKY School of Public Policy, it is surprising what the paper says about our govt's policies. Many of my postings attempt to shed light on what the govt is trying to accomplish with its policy's a paper by academics that discusses the same issues with greater rigor. After reading what they wrote, you'll think our govt and its policies are far worse than what I describe them to be. I've been too kind to the PAP with my postings!

Here is a highlight of the main points on each area, the statements are all taken from the slides:


" CPF system will not be adequate to meet the ageing challenges."
"There are several reasons for this inadequacy. A single‐tier, involving mandatory‐savings, can never provide adequate replacement rate; or address inflation and longevity risks; or provide survivand disability benefits (Asher and Nandy, 2006b)."

"A well designed multi‐tier system is needed, as has recently been recognized in Chile."
"Design and governance issues also act against the adequacy objective; and so does the tendency to use the CPF system as short‐term stabilization instrument."

"Given its multiple focus, the proportion of contributions withdrawn during the pre‐retirement period is very high, averaging 81.8% during 2001‐2005 period (Table 4).
The share of contributions devoted to retirement is therefore low"

On Welfare and Poverty

"Ad‐hoc social welfare schemes of Singapore are also inequitable (Ramesh, 2004)."

"Singapore has no official poverty line".

"Relative poverty is half of the median per capita household income. Approx. 27% households".

"Less than 5% of households in the low income group are beneficiaries of state funded systems; and only 0.07% of the population received public assistance in 2004."

"The amount of assistance is kept deliberately extremely low at around 5‐8% of per capita income."


"It has relied on single tier mandatory savings scheme (CPF) for housing (primarily); for health care (minor importance quantitatively but major ideologically); and retirement".

"It has many schemes, designed to increase social‐political control of the ruling party, with stringent means‐testing".

"The end result of these social policies has been to make individuals and their families bear disproportionate risks of old‐age and low incomes with grossly inadequate social risk pooling which is the hallmark of the OECD countries"

"The CPF system, and the current extensive set of schemes will become even more inadequate, inefficient, and inequitable".


Anonymous said...

I say kudos to the academia for daring to speak up.

Hopefully they will not get clamped down by our media - but I guess it will!

And I hope those academia donch lose their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucky,

it's telling that, even academicians from LKY School of Public Policy is heavily critical of a scheme that has endlessly been touted by the ruling government as "World-Class".

I just hope they won't lose their permanent residency or citizenship(if they are formerly Indian Nationals) for speaking out boldly.

by Typically Timid Singaporean

Anonymous said...

I think these Indian academics have received better job offers elsewhere.

That is why they dared to write the truth about the government.

Anonymous said...

" I've been too kind to the PAP with my postings!"

Now then you know ...
And these are helicoptor views.

But hey, doesn't affect u.

Anonymous said...

So what is PAP gonna about it?

The problem might be that PAP is unable to do anything to correct it because it requires the dismantling of its investment arms particularly Temasek to release the money back to the national coffers in order to recreate a more viable collective welfare system similar to those practised in other countries.

However to do so will endanger the elite structure because Temasek companies will have to downsize or close shop resulting in retrenchment of elite and employees who used to be loyal to PAP electorally and otherwise.

Anonymous said...

15 years ago, NUS political science lecturer Bilveer Singh also wrote that most Singaporeans were "living hand-to-mouth" (yes, even back then the statistics were obvious). He was forced by the PAP government to apologize and withdraw his allegations.

Anonymous said...

Here's the link.

Anonymous said...

People can research, analyse, criticise, shout, scream or whatever. As long as on paper and blogs or as armchair critics, most likely to no avail.

Even Tan Kin Lian who took the fight to Hong Lim Park for Minibond victims and with a record turnout, also did not achieve much or if anything at all.

The only way is for an alternative party of enough credible and got guts people with credible alternative solutions to contest the next elections for almost all the seats.

Only then may we see a turning point in Singapore political history.

As this is most unlikely, this may just be only a dream and fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Sometime I feel sorry for Lucky because despite working so hard to inform readers, there are always those who come here to insult him here.

If blogs like this mean nothing why even come and comment.

And who is Tan Kin Lian but a PAP man, a retired CEO of Income. He told his audience at Hong Lim Park that they can get back around 10% only. I am afraid many believe him and signed on the dotted line for that meagre 10%.

Now they come to know the vast majority of minibond victims in Hongkong can get back 70% and more of their investment.

Anyway, immediately after his speeches Tan Kin Lian had a website asking people to nominate him as the future President of Singapore. Imagine!

Fortunately, he got a low support through his online poll.

Anonymous said...

I am not aware of such research until now. I suppose as long as it remains in the academia, it will be rather inaccessible to the public, and the PAP is not so worried. But I doubt the ST will publish such an analysis in its paper.

Onlooker said...

It depend on whether the decision makers want to face the deficiency of their policy.
That is the pitfall of a one party system.
They can never see the blind spot until it is too late.

Anonymous said...

It may surprise you, but many academics in our local universities do not have a glowing view of the establishment. Many academics I know love to wax lyrical about the stupidity of govt policies: how they are poorly grounded, based on discredited/outdated theories, driven purely by ideology etc... None of which is surprising as most of our policymakers are mere elites and not domain experts.

I have yet to meet a single academic who is actually supportive of our govt.

Anonymous said...

Anon 21.27

I think Lucky is not so small minded and easy to feel insulted like you, especially where there is sense and reality in the comment.

That's why he even allow postings before moderation, ignore if he don't like it or just delete it.

That should be the way, otherwise don't allow comments at all like some blogs.

Blogs and comments (not vulgar or defamatory ones of course) are to stimulate and exchange ideas. This may trigger even something beyond the blog and for the better.

Anonymous said...

Anon 22:33

Assuming Anon 21.27 is such a small minded fellow, where is the sense & reality that Tan Kin Lian is such a champion of minibond investors given what Anon 21:27 had pointed out?

So clearly the orginal poster was not well informed and have fallen into the deception of PAP that he/she tried to oppose in the first place. A fool cannot presume to enlighten others!

Anonymous said...

Anon 22.45

Anon 21.27 got his facts wrong. Tan Kin Lian did not say 10%. He fight for 50%.

Anon 21.27 if he/she is gentleman/lady should publish a correction/apology to his posting on this.

And Anon 22.45 should do likwise on his comment.

Anonymous said...

speaking of local academia, I have some experiences with Tan Khee Giap. Can't tell whether he's pro or anti establishment. Not simple.

Anonymous said...

Tan Khee Giap,

The Largest Parrot i have seen and he sang after the Leaders.

Pretty unlucky to have him and academias liked him in Sg. Btw, who the hell need those parrots in the Policy Study School ? Do they or are they able to improve the wellbeing of the country and the people ?

BehindTheScenes said...

Anon at 23.06

Doesn't matter 10% or 50%, the fact remains that Tan Kian Lian is actually a PAP man, he was very active in PAP's Marine Parade grassroot activities and is very close to Woody Goh CT. It is not hard to see what his motives were for the wayang show he put up at Hong Lim Park when he asked people to support him for President.

Why would we want to support him for President when he can't even get the gahmen to help the minibond victims. Small thing cannot do, how to do big things ??

Anonymous said...

Anon 1/8/09 00:04,

yes my personal experiences with him seems to suggest he's pro establishment.

However, I read that he got into trouble with the establishment years back.

That's why I was confused.

Anonymous said...


From his blog posts, I personally wouldn't trust him nor anyone related to him.

There're pro-consumer arguments, and then there're "pro-consumer" arguments that probably will be thrown out of a US court if he files a lawsuit based on that logic.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Anon 00:06!

Some fools just cannot see through PAP's wiles and continue to be conned by it. Of course lah when PAP sent Tan Kin Lian to "help" the minibond victims, he must know how to play like he was a genuine independent individual.

The following videos of his speeches at YouTube just show how he tried to mislead the victims:

'Mr Tan Kin Lian speaks on minibond issue at Speakers' Corner. Oct 18, 2008 LINK'

From the time of the video 6:45 onwards you can see that he was telling the victims that what they can get was dependent on what little was left in Lehman Brothers after its collapse.

He was telling them take whatever little you can get now or else when all Lehman's assets are liquidated you will get next to nothing.

Where was the help he was offering them to tackle the local banks like DBS to compensate the investors?


In another video 'Mr Tan Kin Lian speaks on minibond issue at Speakers' Corner. Oct 25, 2008 LINK'

From 00:57 to 1:03 he told the audience that "whether you dont lodge or lodge complaint you get nothing, then correct himself that lodging a complaint might get something"

From 9:00 - 9:03 he again reiterated "compensation could be nothing or could be something"


Clearly his speeches were to dissuade victims from demanding better compensation.

Of course when news of Hongkong victims were get 70% and more, he change his tune.

Tan Kin Lian is a PAP man pretending to be the champion of the people.

In fact at one time he proposed an CPF annuity scheme for Singaporeans on ST that was worse than what PAP had in mind.

Only retards cannot see through his facade after so much evidence.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1/8/09 01:15:

if you're in the loop, you might hear stories of his "pro-consumer" decisions while he was at NTUC.

Might be worth a laugh.

Anonymous said...

Anon 01:15

What so bravo about Anon 00:06?

Anybody who speak under Anon and conduct personal attacks on others in comments and who don't correct themselves on their errors and even say doesn't matter are cowards!

Anonymous said...

Anon 07:39 that applies to you too, haha!

Thien Rong said...

Interesting paper and information, will be glad if Singapore open up and be more transparent in both the policy-making and decision making. The GIC also recognise the need to be more transparent too.

However, the majority of Singaporeans are probably still don't care about politics.

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Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

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Jennifer said...

It depend on whether the decision makers want to face the deficiency of their policy. That is the pitfall of a one party system. They can never see the blind spot until it is too late.