Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Income Gap is not important : PM Lee

Singapore has the biggest income gap among developed nations. Instead of treating this serious problem with priority, our PM trivialises it by saying it is not important:

"What's important is not the absolute gap between the top and the bottom, but whether those at the bottom are being helped to move up. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made this point at a dialogue yesterday with contributors to the Government feedback" - Straits Times Article, A lot done to help needy : PM

A lot done to help the needy? Bottom helped to move up? We not only have the biggest income gap, the PAP govt is also doing the least for poor people among all developed countries by any measure - social safety nets, unemployment benefits, welfare, etc. So PM Lee's govt failed to live up to his own assertion that what is important is helping the poor - since Singapore's inequality is the highest, help for the poor should also be the highest but it is actually lowest among all developed countries. This is something like his justification for GST - GST is to help the poor (by taxing them?)....saying one thing and doing another. His policy to import cheaper foreign labor in large numbers is a major factor in depressing the wages of the lower income. Singapore has no minimum wage, independent unions and during his leadership, we saw retrenchment benefits & healthcare benefits for lower echelons in the civil service disappear. He increased his ministers' pay which was already the highest in the world to new record levels. It is obvious that he cares little about the large income gap and will not be adopting policies to bring about greater equality in our society.

"'Supposing the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, comes to live in Singapore. The Gini coefficient will get worse. But I think Singapore will be better off. Even for the lower income Singaporeans, it will be better,"
- PM Lee

Carlos Slim? If Carlos Slim comes to Singapore, every good thing he does will cause the Gini to fall and every negative thing he does for ordinary Singaporeans will cause the Gini rise. If he comes to Singapore and gives a large part of his wealth to the poor here, the Gini Index will fall instantly. If he comes here with 100,000 low cost workers from Mexico hiring no Singaporean in his business it will depresses the wages of our workers, the Gini Index will shoot up. If Carlos Slim comes here with 10,000 rich relatives and start snapping up property using his billions, that will drive up the cost of living for ordinary Singaporeans and cause wealth of richest Singaporeans with multiple properties to go up, thereby increasing the Gini. PM Lee does not even understand his own example....
Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story Mar 27, 2010
A lot done to help needy: PM

WORRIED about income inequality? What's important is not the absolute gap between the tops and the bottom, but whether those at the bottom are being helped to move up. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made this point at a dialogue on Saturday, in response to a question on income inequality in Singapore. 'Supposing the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, comes to live in Singapore. The Gini coefficient will get worse. But I think Singapore will be better off. Even for the lower income Singaporeans, it will be better,' he said. This is because people like Mr Slim, a businessman and philantrophist, could start businesses here and create more jobs and prosperity for Singaporeans. The Mexican tycoon heads this year's Forbes list of the world's top 100 billionaires. He beat Americans Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. The Gini coefficient measures the income distribution within a country. Singapore's has been inching up in recent years but government aid measures have also brought it down somewhat. Mr Lee pointed out: 'What really matters is whether we can benefit the low income Singaporeans so that they have a decent standard of living, and hope for a better future, for themselves and their children.' Read the full story in tomorrow's edition of The Sunday Times.
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sgcynic said...

So our brilliant PM Lee has huge holes in his claim that Carlos Slim's coming to Singapore will be good for Singapore.
1. How will Carlos Slim's presence benefit Singapore?
2. Even if Singapore benefits from his presence, will it necessarily be "better" "for the lower income Singaporeans"?
World class "logical" inferences. Maybe he's bring himself down to the level of us lesser mortals.

Anonymous said...

carlos slim benefitted from near monopoly businesses in Mexico, although he was shrewd to buy them at low prices during mexico crisis.

Anonymous said...

lucky is getting more and more paranoid

Anonymous said...

I think PM Lee is as deluded as Dr Vivian Balakrishnan

Anonymous said...

PM Lee looks at bright side if Carlos Slim come to Singapore.

Lucky looks at the dark side.

Both are right and probable although who is more right or probable can't tell until Carlos Slim really come.

But one thing I can tell and for sure too.

Many "less richer Carlos" and also many more "worse than me" Joes have already come.

The net effect is the state we are in now. Has things been better than before?

Anonymous said...

think is better for them not to help cos whenever they offer to help, there are a lot of prices going as good as giving 1 spring chicken drumstick and taking back a whole chicken.....

Anonymous said...

He grew up with a silver spoon, protected and everything taken-care-of kind of environment & rode on a white horse along the golden pavement. What does he understand about hardship, trying to make ends meet, feeling down & out, worry about the next meal for the love ones, looked down upon by society & having problems seeking help?

Coupled with the ivy-leagues education and western influence of capitalism(winner takes all, dog eat dog world),
he understands ZERO about the poor, mid-class and less fortunate.

Anonymous said...

He don't even know mee siam does not have cockles or was he confused with laksa? Whatever it is, he is very deluded and he need a lot of senior ministers to help him.

Anonymous said...

i've since grown "deaf" to his least his union chief give us some comic relief

Anonymous said...

look, that guy has a degree in mathematics and not economics. what he says is mathematically correct, without considering the economics.

Anonymous said...

At least Lee Hsien Loong thinks that he has never been wrong about his cabinet members remunerations and that of his own. As they pull further away from their subjects; how in the World can we expect the Prime Minister to say the SIN Income Gap is important.

He may not be competent but, at least he knows self preservation.

Anonymous said...

slysioAt least Lee Hsien Loong thinks that he has never been wrong about his cabinet members remunerations and that of his own. As they pull further away from their subjects; how in the World can we expect the Prime Minister to say the SIN Income Gap is important.

He may not be competent but, at least he knows self preservation.

jamesbrown said...

Your blog makes alot of sense. Suggest you add in a social sharing buttons at the top every post so we can instantly share the post with our peers in facebook, twitter or other social media. Words will be spread faster and many more singaporean can have a better insights to the crap propaganda of the gahmen.

Anonymous said...

the situation is so sad here, and looks set to stay that way, which is even sadder.

Anonymous said...

If Carlos Slim's in S'pore, all ministers will peg their salary to his annual income!

We'll then have billion dollar ministers!

Pray hard he doesn't come here! Please, please, please! Carlos Slim please stay put in Mexico!

Anonymous said...

That PM Lee Monkey should move to Mexico then!

Anonymous said...

The PM should ask his wife whether she got any hum before he talk cock !

Ender said...

PM Lee's ideas about the widening income gap and helping the poor are mutually incompatible. He forgets about one important variable which is price of goods.

In any society, price of goods determine the cost of living and it is correlated with the mean and median incomes of the population.

If the income gap widens, a larger proportion of the population will become poor as they are less able to afford the basic necessities of life.

This is because they become worse off relative to the price level.

If PM Lee is sincere about helping the poor, he should seriously consider measures about reducing the income gap.

With better living and working conditions, the poorer members of our society will pick themselves up to better themselves without any other "help" or handouts from the government.

How can one consider about improving or advancing oneself if three meals and housing for one's family is in doubt?

What is happening is that the poorer members of our society is caught in a vicious race to the bottom.

This benefits no one except for the government and the corporations.


Conscious said...

Hey Lucky!

I concur what JamesBrown said. Add a link so that the citizens become informed voters. We need to spread the message. A mere reading of your block does this. I have seen some blogs and sites when you could add them to facebook, twitter or sorts. Since the election is coming, we need to do whatever we can to spread the message and we have about about a year to do this. So please make your blog more viable for raising consciousness to the larger audience. I'm sure there are many people who are no access nor avenue for a much alternative voice. Your blogs are more friendly and that is your niche and contribution to the critical thinking process. No elections are worthy without an informed mass.

Make the difference today!

Anonymous said...

The scary rich is a good read

Anonymous said...

Singapore Mind: "PM Lee does not even understand his own example..."

That's why I think he is really an average guy who landed his job thanks to being the right sperm. His frequent public slips of tongue prove that he is not there due to MERITocracy alone. There are many more brilliant speakers, policy makers, etc out there, yet he's the one with the world-record paycheck.

Anonymous said...

A thought about productivity crossed my mind when I observed many Indian foreign workers renovating the landscape in my neighbourhood. Firstly a hot sweaty Indian pushing a wheelbarrow of wet cement, which has it's front tyre almost flat. Of course pushing a wheelbarrow with a flat tyre is hard work and surprisingly he did not change to another parked in an enclosed space used as storage.

The renovation work has taken some months since and I guess many more months more to complete. The contractor obviously is doing it the old fashioned way, with outdated equipment and a big labour force. This contract that can be done in half the time using the latest modern equipment and with less manpower has taken a backseat because of cheap foreign labour.

Take for example the contractors re-paving the expressway. It takes them less than a day to complete a long stretch, and perhaps a few days to plan and get everything ready before H-Hour.
Obviously, the town councils wants to award contracts to the lowest bidder, and if it takes twice as long, never mind as it is not their problem. The entire neighbourhood has to suffer the inconveniences and noise and the use of the areas just so the town councils can save on expenditures. Is this not penny wise pound foolish? Why don't they take a leaf out of our clever ministers spouting all this productivity baloney? Is this the reason for bringing in cheap foreign labour? Productivity is measured in the time taken to complete a process without any loss in quality using less manpower or manhours.

Anonymous said...

PM Lee is an idiot.

The huge income gap did not happen by chance. Nor did it happen suddenly.

The huge income gap happened because the government did very little for the poor and low-wage earners.

To PM Lee, of course the income gap is not important. After all, from his point of view, he draws a salary of $3million a year, and he stays in a posh bungalow. For the low-wage earners, the income gap is a big issue, as it directly affects their ability to pay bills, see their kids through schooling and put food on the table.

PM Lee talks like a Wee-Shu-Min, a classic example of a snob living in an ivory tower.

Anonymous said...

income gap not important to him.

his pay increase more important!

Anonymous said...

Vote wisely, vote meesiam with hum.

Anonymous said...

In contrast with SDP's philosophy, CEC member Mr Sylvester Lim took the floor next and presented facts and figures on the income divide in Singapore. He then proceeded to spell out the SDP's proposals to level up society and reduce income inequality.

He introduced several ideas including the SDP's hallmark proposal of minimun wage and retrenchment entitlements. A minimum wage of $6.80 per hour should be legislated and a programme of providing retrenched workers temporary income for up to 18 months should be introduced.

Mr Lim also called for the raising of taxes for the most wealthy to pay for social programmes for the poor and needy. He also pointed out that the Government needed to increase its national expenditure on the poor, especially the elderly.

Anonymous said...

Anon 14:42 "He grew up with a silver spoon, protected and everything taken-care-of kind of environment & rode on a white horse along the golden pavement. What does he understand about hardship, trying to make ends meet, feeling down & out, worry about the next meal for the love ones, looked down upon by society & having problems seeking help?"

Alamak please don't give the running dogs reading this blog ideas! Wait the Shit Times churn out some sob personal tales of his struggles with cancer, loss of wife etc etc. After GCT and MBT's 1 room HDB upbringing, enough crap already.

Anonymous said...

"Income gap is not important"

Well the rest of the world leaders and economist and the people doing the work of creating the Gini index must be a bunch of stupid idiots then. Why the hell are they concerned about income gap. Stupid idiots, be like our PM who has universally declared that it is not important and that takes guts. This is such a breakthrough thinking that I hope he will get the noble price for economics soon.
He is really a great leader, lets do our part and nominate him for the noble price.

Anonymous said...


curse not a sickly man who sacrifies for the nation and the people.

You people should know that he could very well enjoy his entire life without doing anything and still have plenty for his offsprings and related.

Yet, he has devoted and is labouring hard for you; only to get the kind of remarks here.

You ingrates will cause him to rise from his grave, like his father has said to the world.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more, he should retire and take care of his health. Perhaps jis wife and father should do so also. No one is begging them to stay. Ask him to stand in a single seat ward and people will show him how much he and his father is wanted. If they dare.

Anonymous said...

lucky - yi zheng jian xue (one needle, see blood).

bunch of clowns running the cabinet. parliament today beats channel 8 for trashy entertainment (at your expense).

Fievel said...

Um...not exactly the sharpest argument by Lucky's standard here...but hey, while the delivery of arguments is slightly faulty, the underlying notions are 100% correct!

I'll like to add that, in my views, if Carlos Slim came to Singapore, that is a good thing for us all, his wealth will have ripple effect. However, what is happening here is that we have low and middle wage workers allowed in indiscriminately (BTW, even Mexican workers earn more than our typical Singaporean Uncles and Aunties). And that is no good towards "helping the poor".

Hell no! It is more akin to kicking dirt at the poor.

If PM Lee truly cares about the progress of the lower income, he will be at this issue day in day out and not just being so late and reactive to accusations. If he truly cares, he will peg his bloody own salary to a real-income index that measures the poor in Singapore.

But no, he finds reasons at every chance he gets to up up up his own pay. Pui. Talk about hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

At least he was quite consistent..ha

Back then, he said that widening income gap was inevitable. He was not going to do anything about the income gap anyway.

Presently, he is just reiterating what he has been preaching all along....

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Anonymous said...

We all know for a fact that in the history of mankind, politicians are great liars and opportunists.

At the end of the day, the paycheck is what that matters most.

If LKY tells everyone that he is not interested in money, do you want to believe him ?

Why would he want a discount for the condo that he bought then ?

Anonymous said...

increase gst to 10% that more people can be help??

Anonymous said...

Actually opposition is also not important.

Voters are also not important.

That's why Income Gap is not important : PM Lee

Anonymous said...

Well, since we all know how they use the GRC to bring in new blood without any contest, how they get a newcomer into politics without really being contest by lining up this chap with other supposedly heavyweight ministers, then we must defuse this game.

We need to sacrifice GRC ministers. And there is no harm done for two reasons.

One, a number of supposedly hardworking ministers have screwed up. MBT is bidding time. Vivian, Lim Swee Sway and Raymond are in the bag.

Two, there are way too many senior ministers, DPMs, MPs and a mentor minister available for the exit of a number of these GRCs.

I want MBT, Raymond and Vivian out. George Yeo, Wong Kan Seng and Lim Swee Suay as well.

Now, if any of these chaps are still around at the end of the elections next year, we should all pack our bags and leave this country once and for all and never ever think nor look back, 'cos it'll be too fucking obvious by the 2011 elections that there is no need to vote anymore in this country.

That all voters' rights have been NEUTERED indefinitely.

Anonymous said...

Also, with Goh Chok Tong harping on bringing in new blood leadership, it's obviously they have not been doing a true leadership renewal and we need to change some of these present ministers who are not performing.

No worries about getting a replacement for them since if it is indeed true that PM LEE and LKY has put processes in place for leadership renewal as they claimed, then it also makes sense that we helped them get rid of some of the non-performing ministers.

With the PAPies have a leadership renewal system in place, we are actually doing them a favour by highlighting to them with our votes ( our feedback ) that some of the ministers have to go and they would have no problems finding a new replacement. And get this, this new chap who is in will work harder to listen to the concerns of the voters to remain in his position.

When we start this trend, overall, it is good for us, Singaporeans.

Vote these ministers in, we have more to lose. Get them replaced, we have more to gain.

So as a smart Singaporean, you know what to do.

The game has been defused for you. It is in your hands to make the difference.

Anonymous said...

Why Singapore no enough opposition candidates hah?

PAP has a Mentor. All the PAP MPs are united and respect for or maybe even fear him.

How come opposition don't have their own Mentor and be united also? Why so many Indian chiefs, latest being the United Democrats (women chiefs), but not enough Indians?

Like that can win or not? You say lah.

Anonymous said...

Despite all their well publicised arguments in support of their foreign immigration policies, due to the overwhelming coompetitors that have filled our shores, the fallouts and decreased opportunities and livelihood for the locals everywhere and everyday, it is seeming to me increasingly likened to an economic war where we have given up the country to foreign invaders without a struggle. And if we have benefitted from these policies, I wouldnt have shared this point of view but the fact is the majority of singaporeans, except the glc linked companies, are in my opinion worse off with the additional competitions. Except for the elites who think differently, Income Gap is very important to the majority who will be deciding who they want to led them. The degree which the rulers failed to see the feelings on the ground is the gap and gulf that widen between the people and themselves with the divergence growing exponentially each passing day. In the absence of opposition alternatives, this Gap may not be significant to the rulers as well.

Anonymous said...

chiam wants sole power so when denied, started another party where he can be the "lky" to his party members

see,vote lah. all the same freaking power

Anonymous said...

As the PRIME MINISTER of SIN, what is/are important to him ??

Did he ever give a thought about the people or the country ??

Was their(Cabinet Members) remunerations not something that frequently got/get justified by him and his father ??

Does the PM knows that under his watch, every essential item becomes more expensive almost on an annual basis ??

Does the PM knows that most workers today work 12 hours or more to make about the same amount or less than in the late Seventies to the Nineties ?? What caused the falling wages and shortages of employments with him at the helm ???

Anonymous said...

And is the PM important? "And if you already have a great orchestra, you can put a dummy there and you still got great music."

Anonymous said...

Put a dummy that farts and the media will still hail as worldclass music.

Anonymous said...

Mr Anon 2/4/10 22:53

Actually the conductor plays a really important.
The problem is we now have the 2 conductors ... the Father (past it) & Son (never going to be good enough) plus a team which is CMI.

And Carlos Slim is really not a person we want to have. Trickle-down economics is so Bush. Obama is running the show now.

Having said that, it seems that the opposition thinks that income gap is not important either and trying their best to lose the elections already.

Anonymous said...

I do understand why people still harp on having *good* opposition. People just do not get it...

We will never know how *good* a person is until that person has some results to judge upon. Given the scenarios in the real world, we will always have information asymmetry such that we will never ever know the truth.

The solution is to have a system whereby people with vested interests to *fight* and check on each other. I think the important issue is still the system and not the people. The Singapore political system is distorted in my opinion and it is slowly affecting every aspect of Singapore. Taiwan also has a rather one-party controlled political system in the early years. However, its leaders decided to change that when they decided it was better to have a more democratic model.

People argued that their political system is a joke with the rowdiness and corruption. However, Taiwan did not fall nor their citizens become maids. Their people are fiercely proud of being Taiwanese and speak passionately of issues they cared about. I think they have a zest for life.

Just compare them to Singaporeans... Are you living a life or just going through the motions of life?

Anonymous said...

Comparing the politics of SIN to that of any other countries is absolutely unneccessary. Singaporeans have their own land(not nation), their own culture and of course their own live(living).

We are First Class, not that the Leaders claimed so, but more the way Sinners think of themselves. There is always an apparent conceit in the ways sinners behave. Even hawkers and service staff behaving like they are superior to any others. Do you not see that Sinners always calling others' command of the english language(verbal/oral) sucks???

SIN is the Hub of all hubs; education, entertainment, financial, vice and what not, need we learn anymore from others???

The RICHEST POLITICAL LEADERS AND SOME OF THE WORLDS' RICHEST HAIL FROM SIN, are we not leading the World, need we follow other Second Class, Third and Undeveloped/Underdeveloped Nations???

Greed is overwhelming some bastards everywhere. Let us just see how and what money benefits them. Are they happier, do they live longer and do they feel any sin???

It is not only for others to ask them, these greedy bastards should ask themselves if they have caused and contributes to the hardships of the majority!!!

Anonymous said...


'Your Singapore', friends.


Some Sinners preparing to run???

Should think so; before they are
made answerable.

The History of SIN will be worth making into a thriller in years to come. It will be fascinating!!!

Anonymous said...

when the parties over the real party begins

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent solution to a problem - declare the problem to be non a problem. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

"Actually the conductor plays a really important.
The problem is we now have the 2 conductors ... the Father (past it) & Son (never going to be good enough) plus a team which is CMI."

I beg to differ. Not only is the team CMI, the Father and Son are also CMI. I simply do not see anyone in the PAP who can even half perform. Even with the lap dog media's help all of them still look foolish and makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

By what logic does the PM think Carlos Slim will make it better for the lower income citizens of S'pore? Will Carlos Slim eat at a hawker centre, use the 10 cent public restroom, buy tissue from the auntie, buy cardboard boxes and old newspapers from the karung guni man? Carlos Slim will likely stay at the Ritz Carlton or IR (foreign-owned or operated), dine at 5-star restaurants. He won't even get within 100m of a lower income S'porean.

Anonymous said...

What he was probably hoping for was the generous tips that Mr Slim may be shelling out to his improverished people.

$makan$ said...

Lucky, PM Lee has to say income gap is not important, otherwise Sporeans will keep harping on his income gap with the rest of world leaders.

By the way, Carlos Slim is a prime example that it is ok for majority of Mexicans to be poor so long as one Mexican becomes the richest in the world.

Anonymous said...

I think we should have a reality TV show down of our ministers living in a 3 room HDB flat with S$300 monthly allowance. I bet it would be an insightful show into how hardworking and resilent our ministers can be! Infact I think we could write a spoof first. anyone?

Anonymous said...

Our minister's pay is very much understated. Many expenses are paid for, car and chauffeur, pension, healthcare...all tax free by the way.

Anonymous said...

Carlos Slim - now WHY would he bother to come to live here? He has the whole world to choose from.

Anonymous said...

Yes, its true
All those needy go to him for help
All firms which are about to collapse go to his wife. (Heard the owner of ABC childcare is laughing his balls off, together with Takshin)
All those bank in trouble for to his father. (UBS says thanks)

What a generous family

Anonymous said...

Wow his arguments prove that he is a world class leader with a outstanding mind. Give that man a pay raise..

Anonymous said...

i think they are too comfortable enjoying their wealth. their elite juice turned into orange juice.

trying to think of crap example to smoke uneducated people.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone see that the large import of foreign workers & the extension of the retirement age, CPF Withdrawal Age are all in conflict with the Minimum Wage?

Reason being:
1) If you have Minimum Wage, the costs of FT may go up thereby defeating the one of purpose it was created to do, to reduce operating costs for Companies.

2) Extension of Retirement Age/ CPF Withdrawal. Possibly, among others, one of the purposes in my view, is to reduce dependency on the state & before it becomes a Social Problem. Now, if we implement Minimum Wage, Costs may go up, more companies may go burst & hence lesser employment opportunities & you're back to square one.

This in my view, might possibly be one of the many reasons why the Minimum Wage Idea is constantly being shot down among other reasons.

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Millay said...

chiam wants sole power so when denied, started another party where he can be the "lky" to his party members see,vote lah. all the same freaking power