Under the PAP system, the elderly takes care of themselves with whatever money that have saved up while working and the amount they have accumulated in their CPF. When they retire, they have no income unless they are among the minority who have done so well that they have sizable investments and assets that yield a good return. But for most people, all they have are their savings and CPF to live on when they retire. Their biggest concern is the rise in the cost of living and cost of medical care.
"According to a latest study by HSBC, the citizens of this country, which has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, face the grim prospect of running out of their savings almost halfway through retirement as the high cost of living and increased life expectancy eats into their nest egg.
Singapore has gradually moved up human resources firm Mercer's global rankings of the world's most expensive cities, moving to sixth place in 2012 from eighth in 2011 and eleventh in 2010." - CNBC ReportThe real problem with retirement is the rising cost of living. So what has driven up the cost of living? One of the factors is overcrowding caused by the high foreign influx - this high population density pushes up the cost of everything from housing to rentals to the cost of private transport. The PAP proposal to import more people in the coming years is will hurt the large number of Singaporeans who are retiring as part of Silver Tsunami. The White Paper claims that more foreigners and a higher living density will lead to better quality of life is not . Actually I don't have to waste any more bandwidth to explain this, because we already see many of our elderly right now suffering from the high cost of living resulting from PAP policies.
When people are hurt by the consequences of the PAP policy, what is actually on the mind of the PAP leadership when people fall into hardship? Suppose due to high inflation rate of 4.5%, you are a retiree finding it hard to cope in the 6th most expensive city in the world because as a wage earner during your working life you earned nowhere near the 6th highest salaries in the world for your profession - this is true for many today who will retire as part of the Silver Tsunami because we have the 2nd largest income gap (sometimes largest) in developed world and a 3rd world wage structure..,..much of this due to the policies of the PAP...suppose you seek help when you find you can't cope through no fault of your own.
I would like thank, PAP member Victor Lye, for his frank and honest Facebook posting of what he thinks when people come to him for help during MPS. In case you don't know who Victor Lye is, he is a member of the PAP tasked to win back Aljunied GRC[his impressive resume, a speech he gave]. He is the head of PAP's Bedok Punggol branch. I truly appreciate Victor Lye's honesty given the White Paper's hazy unsubstantiated promise of "better support and better quality of life" for elderly Singaporeans if only we allow the foreign influx to continue.
Here is what Victor Lye said:
PAP member Victor Lye did not sugar coat or fudge what he really believed to make it acceptable to ordinary Singaporeans. Please read what he wrote a few times so that you understand clearly what he means. Whatever the consequences of PAP's economic policies, at the end of the day, you are responsible for your own retirement. If your financial situation makes it hard for you to stay in high cost Singapore, then you should adapt to that situation by moving out. The PAP is not going to hand out "goodies" because it cannot "afford" it. So you're are very much on your own...if you have a HDB flat, sign up for the lease-buy-back to get some money from it - when you leave this world, the bulk of what you worked for goes back to the govt and you leave nothing for your children. This is the reality right now when our old age support ratio(OASR) is near historic high at 9.8 (it will decline towards 2030) and the govt surplus is $5B. There is little govt support now and there will be little govt support for those retiring in 2030 under the present system regardless of OASR so the argument that we need to bring in foreigners to support our elderly is bogus.
That the PAP does not believe in the increased sharing of financial burden of caring for the old is clear over the years - if you still believe the PAP's rhetoric of being compassionate and caring towards the old because you see our PM giving out a few ang pows to the old during Chinese New Year...good luck to you. In the past, when the cost of living was contained.... Singaporeans could pay off housing loans within 10 years and accumulate CPF funds and savings for retirement so they bought into this idea that everyone should takes care of their own retirement with money they earned while working. The conditions under which this philosophy was accepted by ordinary people was never preserved. After the financial burden of caring for the elderly was shifted to individuals and their children (by way of Maintenance of Parents Act), we saw, as a result of PAP's economic policies, the huge rise in cost of living, stagnant wages, structural unemployment , income gap, rising cost of medical care etc that hurts the financial ability of Singaporeans to retire. The pro-business policy of allowing cheaper foreign labor resulted in a wealth transfer from wage earners to corporations. The PAP is now pushing for a continuation of the current economic model and policies.
In the coming decades, more Singaporeans will reach retirement age without the financial ability to retire comfortably due to our 3rd world wage structure and high cost of living - a consequence of PAP policies. But like Victor Lye so honestly explained, the PAP view is that those who are not rich should adjust to a lower a quality of life and if necessary, leave the country to stay in a cheaper place. This is the only way to be consistent with PAP's ideology and its resultant policies. We are told often the PAP approach is the best for us and is the only way to sustain our nation. If you choose to accept this, the outcome is all laid out as Victor Lye has honestly described. If you choose not to accept this, you cannot squeeze an alternative from the PAP because such a solution is likely to run counter to their ideology and the PAP leadership will never believe it can work even if there is overwhelming evidence to support it. For this reason, the PAP has lost its ability to solve problems faced by Singaporeans. As the problems mount, the PAP solution is actually a non-solution, they will simply tell Singaporeans to live with it and solve their own problems.
Singaporeans can dream of fairer wages for their hard work, a proper retirement, better quality of life with less stress, affordable heath care and housing, higher equality, ...but year after year, the problems that Singaporeans face just get worse despite paying our political leaders the highest salaries in the world to solve these problems for us..not only are they not solving these problems, they are starting to sell us ideas that will clearly make all these problems worse and packaging them as solutions to our problems. If the PAP has other overriding considerations such as the perpetual need to attract foreign capital, generate economic growth and they really have no fundamentally different ideas of how to run this place other that those they have executed, it is better for them not to fudge the outcomes and create false expectations. That many Singaporeans face the risk of a poorer quality of life because the PAP does what it believe is the best way to sustain this city-state, should be honestly presented to us instead of a fairy tale rising quality of life that we will never experience. The PAP often does this to sell its policies and when Singaporeans experience the opposite trust is eroded.
When the PAP started importing foreigners, they sold the policy by telling us that foreigners are here "to create better job opportunities for Singaporeans", Singaporean workers experienced the opposite of this. There has been intense competition for jobs and downward pressure on their wages. We are now told the proposal in the White Paper will elevate the quality of life and provide support for our elderly. We know this is not true - quality of life will decline in an overcrowded Singapore and our elderly will suffer due to the high cost of living. If the PAP proposal in the White Paper is purely to sustain economic growth because ideologically the PAP believes things can never be better with slower economic growth, as proposed by WP, and that whatever quality of life we achieve in 2030 even if it is bad, is still better that something we can achieve with slower growth then they should be honest enough to say it so we can get to the real policy tradeoff and debate it. Painting a fairy tale that every knows is not true to sugar coat the proposal simply enrages Singaporeans and make them question the integrity of the govt.