Link]. The Marq is the most expensive property in Singapore priced upwards of $6000 psf.
"The Marq offers the design features of a good class bungalow; space as a basic tenet of luxury, the airiness of double-volume ceilings and a 15-metre private lap pool cantilevered over the city skyline for each unit within The Signature Tower, luxuries elevated by every amenity expected of an ultra-luxurious condominium from the spectacular panoramas of the city skyline to the attentive service of the Concierge and management team."
The Marq represents the pinnacle of luxury and opulence in Singapore. While the Marq was constructed, the queue and demand for rented flats also rose. A rising number of Singaporeans cannot afford to own property because prices of public flats have outstripped income growth which has either remained stagnant or fell among the lower income families. The extreme difference in the quality of housing located on an island roughly 700 square kilometers represents the startling economic inequality that has arisen in the past 2 decades. For a short period in the late 80s and early 90s, the HDB was able to stop building rental flats because the demand was too low as even the lower paid workers' real wages for those holding full time jobs was sufficient to own a flat and raise a family. 2 decades later, after so much expansion in our GDP, we find the demand for rental flats growing again. Poverty is back and rising - Singapore workers today are not less skilled than they were in the 1990s, they work longer hours than ever before and have to compete harder than they ever did with the foreign influx. Yet what they got out of their working cheaper, better and faster is rising poverty.
I don't know if you caught this interview of Goh Chok Tong by a reporter during the GE2011 campaign. Goh Chok Tong was asked about the Swiss sstandard of living he set off to achieve as PM. He said people who accused him of failing to achieve the target of Swiss standard of living didn't know what they were talking about - his goal was for Singapore's per capita GDP to reach the targeted Swiss GDP of 1984 in 1999 (adjusted for inflation). This goal was actually achieved in 1994 ahead of schedule when Singapore's per capita GDP reached US$20.4K roughly the same as Swiss GDP in 1984 adjusted for inflation to 1994 US dollars. Anyone who has been to and lived in Switzerland for a while will not hesitate to tell you that the quality of life in Singapore is no where near the Swiss standard of living in 1984. Using GDP as a yard stick misses too many things - GDP doesn't say how hard a person have to work to earn his income, it doesn't say if he has access to good health care, public transport and housing,etc. But the most important thing is per capita GDP does not say anything about how wealth is distributed. It could well be that the privileged few are enjoying Donald Trump's opulent lifestyle while many others are struggling as if they are living in a developing country. In recent years, the PAP govt has tried to attract the rich in the region to take up citizenship here - their wealth and income will be counted in our national statistics and we will show in instant jump in GDP. One striking example of this approach was seen when the govt released figures to show a rapid rise in the income of Indian families. A closer look reveals that the large jump is due purely to the import of Indian professionals who earned higher incomes. How does that benefit local Singapore Indians who saw no significant jump in income? This numbers game is an illusion and distract us from real viable approaches to improve the lives of Singaporeans.
At the same time the income gap is rising, the govt exacerbates the effects of the inequality by passing as much burden of retirement, health care and education to individuals and their families as possible to keep taxes for the richer segments of society and corporations low. This approach has resulted in a widening division of our society. Those at the top who are rewarded to the tune of millions and at same time have people who work all day and still cannot afford basic necessities because there is no minimum wage. The playing field its tilted so much in favor of those who are rich, we are probably in a vicious cycle in which the rich get richer faster and the poor get left further behind. Unless the govt intervene meaningfully we, as a society, cannot get out of this cycle. The PAP govt, however is extremely resistant to ideas that can bring about greater equality due to its ideology. Take CPF Life as an example. The govt goes out its way to create a complex scheme to force Singaporeans to shoulder the burden of "ultra-longevity" - people living beyond 80 yrs old . The scheme stretches the already insufficient CPF further resulting a poorer quality of life for those who are poor. They could have funded this tail-end retirement through progressive taxation - a small increase in the taxes of our top 5-10% would have been sufficient. Lower income Singaporeans are already struggling to with the burden of retirement - through forced savings to the CPF - for them to shoulder the burden of their own retirement means a big cut in their quality of life ...yet the PAP pushes this further because they want to protect the wealth of the rich by keeping their taxes as low as possible and the burden on the sick, poor and disabled as high as possible.
Today we need a balanced approach to break this vicious cycle of rising poverty in our society. While the PAP refuses to stop allocating advantages to the rich and burdening the poor, Singaporeans in general do not share this philosophy of protecting the rich. We are tired of labor policies that gives big corporations unfettered access to cheap foreign labor so they can make higher profits while depressing the wages of ordinary Singaporeans. We are tired of the system that PAP put in place that does not result in a shared prosperity. It is now 3rd world living stardard for the underclass vs living in the Marq for the richest in our society.