SM Goh highlighted 10 challenges for the next generation of Singaporeans
1 High growth: Amid global competition, can you maintain Singapore’s high economic growth and keep on improving our standard of living?
In 1959, thousands of Singaporeans lived in slums and squalor. Today, more than 90 per cent own their homes.
Why do we equate high growth to rising standard of living and quality of life? We should be thinking long term and going for sustainable growth that benefits Singaporeans. In pursuing high growth, the PAP had to open the floodgates for imported labor causing wages of the lower income Singaporeans to be depressed and structural unemployment. Today we are seeing an increase in poverty as the GDP grows and cost of living goes up. The basic necessities are price beyond the reach of an increasing segment of our population. That is the price we pay for high growth.
2 Life will get better: How do you, as leaders, convince Singaporeans of that when they are already living in good-quality public and private housing?
They can convince the populace the same way one of our leaders convince us we were headed for Swiss standard of living. The message can be repeated on the state on media until 66.6% of the population believes it is true. In fact the newspapers have on a daily basis been convincing us that our lives are better than what they really are - yes the MRT trains are not that crowded, HDB flats are affordable, medical care is affordable, there are no poor people in Singapore, jobs are plentiful and Singaporeans are just fussy.
3 Transport: How does the Transport Minister satisfy the demands for comfort, convenience, congestion-free travel and punctuality of services and expectation of affordable fares, ERP and parking charges?
How? Is SM Goh pretending not to know? SMRT just reported record profits again[Link] in a recession year. The profit motive of the transport monopolies conflicts with the need to provide comfortable and affordable service. Profit is enhanced when trains are packed like sardine cans. Profit is enhanced when frequency is low and air-con is turned down.
As for cars, it is allocated based on the ability to pay. A disable person or a person who needs to bring his aged parents to hospital everyday can be denied a car by a person who uses it to go play golf. Such is the rule of money in our society many things are allocated based on the ability to pay. The fact that cars are considered a luxury tells you something about the quality of life living in an overcrowded island whose population continues to expand due to imported residents.
4 Health care: Can the Health Minister stamp out diseases linked to an affluent lifestyle, such as diabetes and cancer? And keep health-care costs down and affordable?
If we live till 90, we would probably have to work till 75 to have enough savings for a cosy retirement of 15 years.
Cancer is linked to lifestyle?? ..The risk is higher for smokers but cancer can strike anyone.
In a previous article, I showed that Singaporeans shoulder a disproportionate part of the cost of healthcare compared with citizens of other countries. The govt does this by forcing citizens to save for healthcare i.e. medisave + medishield. The govt continues to shift the burden of healthcare costs to Singaporeans by implementing means testing. So when SM Goh talks about keeping healthcare cost down and affordable - he talking about keeping it down and affordable for the govt. ...and the way it is done in Singapore is shifting the burden to those who get sick in our society.
SM Goh said "we would have to work till 75"...the use of the word 'we' is incorrect. It should be 'you'. SM Goh has a large pension and so do all the other members of the elite...they don't have to work. You wonder why they have to be paid millions every year and still get pension when they stop working.
5 Worker training: Can the Manpower Minister and the labour chief design a new training programme, Workfare (a wage supplement for working low-income Singaporeans) and a Jobs Credit wage subsidy scheme for grandparents and maybe even great-grandparents?
The message is very clear - you work until you die. You work even when you're a great-grand parent! Retirement is history in Singapore. That will absolve CPF from being a failed scheme unable to take care of Singaporeans' retirement because Singaporeans don't retire. They can rename CPF to CHS : Contribute to HDB Scheme.
6 More babies: What will get our young to marry and have children? Any creative ideas on procreation, Mr Goh asks parents and the young.
This is a real challenge especially after they spent two decades convincing Singaporeans to have fewer children. It will probably take another 2 to undo the brainwashing....this is a classic case of a govt creating its own problem.
7 Ageing: Today, 9 per cent of our population are over 65 years of age. By 2030, it will more than double to 20 per cent. How do we support so many senior citizens, he asks the chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Ageing.How will we look after our parents and grandparents? Will you build more community hospitals, nursing and old folk’s homes, and keep them affordable?
Given the PAP penchant for manipulating the demographics by 2-child policy, import of foreign residents, etc., we are in for big trouble because of the large intake of people these few years to avoid the effects of an ageing population will hit us later. These new citizens will grow old in 2030 and we will have an even bigger ageing population and problem to solve. What the PAP has done to postpone the effects of an ageing population which is slower economy growth is to bring in new citizens from other countries. The problem is these new citizens will add to the pool of the aged in 2030 and we will be facing a bigger problem at that time. Yet another self-created problem by the PAP.
8 Scarce land: In the last 50 years, land area has been expanded by more than 20 per cent, through reclamation. How much more land can Singapore reclaim over the next 50 years, he asks the Minister for National Development.As the population and the economy grow, how will Singapore deal with the potential over-crowding problem?
Isn't the solution obvious? Stop growing the population beyond the physical constraints of our small island just to achieve high GDP growth.
9 Education: Bright students will be sought after internationally, chipping away at Singapore’s talent pyramid at the top. Mr Goh considers this one of the most serious threats to Singapore’s long-term survival and says it has to be solved now. His questions for the Prime Minister, Education Minister, schools and families: How do we bond students going abroad to Singapore, physically if possible, and if not, at least emotionally? How do we ensure most will return home and contribute to Singapore? How do we ensure there will always be a core of honest, able and dedicated Singaporeans to look after the country and their fellow men?
It helps if the govt can set the example. If Singapore is just Singapore Inc, what is there to hold people back. If it is run like a big corporation, people will go where the pay is highest. That is why this nation has to be de-corporatised. Democracy and equality are not features of a corporation.
10 Religious harmony: For four decades, Singapore has enjoyed racial and religious harmony. How do the people of Singapore ensure that Singaporeans of different faiths will continue to mix with one another and respect one another’s faith?
I guess we have to watch the fanatics and extremists closely. I don't think we are doing too badly here. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of some other parts of this world where bigotry is on the rise.
Actually SM Goh missed out the biggest challenges in Singapore one of which is the rising income gap leading to rising poverty among the bottom 30% of the population. The other challenge is how to close the gap between the govt and aspirations the people for greater democracy. What about the erosion of our ideals and values as we seek high economic growth allowing the pursuit of money to take precedence over equality and justice.