Here is a chart of S$ vs US$:
The Singapore dollar has appreciated against the US$ by 11% within 1 year. The stronger Sing$ has helped to prevent the cost of imported goods from rising too quickly i.e. imported inflation. There is a limit to how much we can allow the Sing$ to strengthen as explained by SM Goh yesterday[Link]- Singapore's economy depends a lot on exports and a rising Sing$ makes our exports less competitive. Once we reach the tail end of this Sing$ strengthening we will start to see the full effects of imported inflation. Also, govt linked NTUC and transport operators have held back price increases (until after the elections?).
"On rising costs, this is a perpetual problem - every generation, every year, we
are faced with the question of rising costs. Another word for this is inflation" - Goh Chok Tong
While inflation occurs all the time when there is economic growth , there is an important difference between the past and what has happened the recent few years. Last year we saw the economy growing 14% but real median income rising by only 0.3%. A large part of income growth is eaten up by inflation. If the guy in the middle is only marginally better off, roughly half the people are worse off because income growth is slower as we move down income bracket. Right at the bottom we see the real pain in families that have to adjust by cutting down on meals and quality of nutrition. Right on top we have ministers who received 8 months bonus and a whopping pay rise of 30% (linked to GDP growth) they don't have to worry about inflation. We have had inflation in the past but income distribution was more even and the majority of the population gained from GDP growth. The PAP govt will always say that it is not their responsibility, there is nothing that can or should be done, things are still affordable and that is the nature of the economic system the PAP has designed to be the best for Singapore in the long run etc etc etc.
It is very hard for the PAP to run away from all this because they have given themselves so much credit for improving the lives of the people in the past. That was the main selling point in the past - it was called the "social contract" [Link] - don't mind the undemocratic ways of the PAP, don't mind them bullying their opponents, don't mind them limiting your freedom and human rights ...so long as you're economically better off, you should support them. Now that this social contract is under strain and cannot be fulfilled for many Singaporeans, the PAP has to fall back on its alternate marketing strategy which is "we have better people than the opposition". We get this parade of "yes-men" and "yes-women" ...no doubt highly qualified on paper but for many ordinary Singaporeans having qualified people to just preserve the status quo and the system that has led to year after year of deterioration of their quality of life is no longer good enough. This claim that they have "better peope" is not helped by them having Tin Pei Ling as a candidate when the opposition has people like Dr. Vincent Wijeysingha and Chen Show Mao.
At a time when we have an electorate that is yearning for change, the PAP looks like they are going to sit tight and try to preserve their system with their "next generation leaders" plucked from various parts of the establishment : the SAF, civil service, NTUC etc. The best system for ordinary Singaporeans is one that safeguard their interests and deliver the best quality of life possible over the long term - that is not the system we have today in which so much of the economic benefits of growth goes to a small concentrated segment of the population to produce the biggest income gap in the developed world. To accept this system, you have to believe President SR Nathan deserves to be paid $4.2M per annum[Link] when close to 460,000 Singaporean workers make less than $15002009 Figures].