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
By Sue-Ann Chia , SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
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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