With all the changes in the election rules, reassuring words about Singaporeans being 1st and promise to moderate the influx of foreign workers, it is likely that the next elections will be held soon. All the sweet talk, promises and reassurance are all just part of an election strategy. Remember what was said before the last elections? Did they tell you they intended to raise the GST and their own salaries? After they won a landslide victory of all but 2 parliamentary seats, what happened? No more sweet talk, no more reassurance. Its back to the usual 'you die, your business'.
"If native Singaporeans are falling behind because "the spurs are not stuck into the hide," that is their problem" - MM Lee.
A few days ago, Deputy Secretary-General, NTUC, Madam Halimah said she's seen many cases where middle-aged degree-holders who lost jobs during the downturn become taxi drivers. She said that "under-employment is unavoidable as with slow economic growth"[Link]. That is only partially true because employers are also reluctant to hire these degree holders even during the good times. The structural unemployment problem existed in 2006 & 2007 when the economy was a lot stronger because the govt's policy to import foreigners meant that employers had endless supply of young workers. If they had been able to secure employment opportunities in 2006 & 2007 that made full use of the skills, they would have been in better shape financially when the economy tanked. By saying that this underemployment is unavoildable (how can underemployment be unavoidable when we are importing so much foreign labor), the PAP denies that its policies have had detrimental effects on ordinary Singaporeans and we know that this is not true - denial means they will keep repeating what they have done in the recent past. If you think it is sad that many of our graduates have ended up driving taxis, the situation among many of the old who cannot afford to retire and have to continue working is just tragic. Leong Sze Hian's thorough analysis of the statistics show that a large number are unemployed (they can't afford to retire and have no jobs) as the influx of foreigners to low end jobs intensified.
[Leong Sze Hian's Interview]
While job security is reduced among older workers, the cost of living has gone up. Housing prices have risen to the highest level in 20 years - rising 35% since the 1st quarter of 2007. Minister Mah said last week that he expects the rise to continue. Throughout the rise, HDB's standard response is that flats are affordable. Affordable became one of the most abused word in 2009. Higher housing prices will lead to bigger debt burdens for households and longer repayment periods. This bigger debt burden means greater vulnerability to loss of home when jobs are lost or incomes are reduced. Already, one in 12 mortgages are in default in Singapore[Link]. The recent increase in HDB prices is likely result in even higher default rates in the future. Without the safety nets that exist in all other develop countries, Singaporeans are so financially stretched, they have little ability to protect themselves against these uncertainties hence a widespread feeling of insecurity about the future.
As we go into the next decade, we have to ask ourselves why and how we end up having the biggest income inequality among all developed countries. This large inequality reflects the imbalance in policy making over the past 2 decades. We have evolved into a society where power and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a power-elite that dominate an undemocractic society using propaganda. The PAP govt has interests other that those of ordinary citizens as it taps its leadership mainly from its GLCs, arm services and civil services to which it is inextricably linked. At the end of the day, equality is intertwined with freedom and democracy because only when the power returns to the people and they are able to speak up for themselves and assert their rights, only then, will we be able to see the interest of ordinary Singaporeans coming first in the govt. So when they tell you that Singaporeans come first without any real political progress towards democracy, it is all just election talk. You're 1st before the election and somewhere else after the elections .........unless you vote wisely.
Singaporeans come first for Govt: PM
By Kor Kian Beng, Political Correspondent
SINGAPOREANS are top priority for the Government, which will aim to grow the economy in a way that allows all citizens to share in the benefits, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has emphasised in his New Year message for 2010.
It will do this in two ways: by growing Singapore's external wing, and raising per capita income by boosting the skills level of workers.
At the same time, the Government will also 'manage and moderate' the inflow of foreign workers so that Singaporeans are not overwhelmed by the sheer numbers, he said.