Hougang rally: Putting statistics to the rhetoric?

 I refer to the articles “WP ‘chose not to send Png to Parliament’” and “’voters free to pick best man’” (ST, May 21). 

Foreign workers curtailed? 

The former states that “in the past year, it has tightened the inflow of foreign workers”- Local employment grew by 36,600 in 2011, against foreign employment growing by 84,800.

In fact, local employment growth declined by 35 per cent, from 56,200 in 2010. And of these, how many “locals” were Singaporeans.

In contrast, foreign employment growth increased by 42 per cent, from 59,700 in 2010. (Source: Ministry of Manpower) 

Casinos outcome?

The latter states that “also spoken out against casinos”- With a total of 273,693 local gamblers visiting the two casinos last year, what may perhaps be a more important statistic to know is how much of the two integrated resorts’ combined annual gaming revenue of $5.7 billion and pre-tax profits of $3.6 billion, were derived from the gambling losses of locals?

Also, how often did the 273,693 locals visit the casinos, that is how many visits did they make in total in the year? (Source: Government’s review of the integrated resorts) 

Reason for staying? 

In the article “Desmond Choo on why he stayed on despite GE defeat”(ST, May 21), it said that “But the day after the election, an elderly woman came up to him, grabbed his hand, and reminded him that things could change if he worked hard. Because of her, Mr Choo said last night, he decided to stay on serving in Hougang”- Historically, the losing candidate had stayed on as the grassroots adviser to the constituency. 

In the report “DPM Teo questions if Hougang voters being taken for granted” (Channel NewsAsia, May 20), it said that “building more new flats to stablise property prices and schemes such as the Workfare Income Supplement to raise the wages of low wage workers”- The HDB Resale Price Index increased by 9.6 per cent from 174.8 to 191.6, from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012. 

Q. Which is the only country in the world that does not disclose public housing statistics like mortgages in arrears, foreclosures, etc?

A. Singapore – Only occasionally, but rarely, when questions are asked in Parliament, but only HDB loan statistics, but not HDB bank loan statistics.

According to the Straits Times article, “Mindset change needed to help low-wage workers” (Straits Times, Feb 7), “Government figures released last week show that there were 236,300 Singaporeans and residents who earned a gross income of less than $1,000 per month as of June last year, up from 218,700 a decade earlier. The figure excludes incomes of full-time national servicemen.

If you take household, not personal income figures, the picture does not get rosier. In 2010, there were more than 100,000 households with an average monthly income from work of $1,400″. (Note: The Workfare Income Supplement is only given to Singaporeans age 35 and above who earn not more than $1,700 a month) 

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.