Hong Kong better than S’pore?

I refer to the article “Memo to CY, Singapore isn’t better off” by Jake van der Kamp (South China Morning Post, Jun 12).

Negative net income balance?

It states that “Singapore’s net income balance has been negative to the tune of an average of 5 per cent of GDP for the past 10 years. That big trade surplus, a third of GDP, is not doing much at all to help make Singaporeans wealthier”.

This may be a contributing factor to help explain why many Singaporeans my be struggling to make ends meet. For example, real median wages have been negative for 2008, 2009, just an increase of 0.5 per cent in 2010, and – 0.8 per cent again last year.

Low private consumption expenditure?

the Hong Kong system gives its people 65 per cent of their economic effort to spend on themselves (private consumption expenditure). The Singapore system gives its people barely half of that and the figure has been getting steadily worse”

personal consumption expenditure per employed person. Hong Kong maintains a steady lead over Singapore”

Low public spending on services?

Some of the possible reasons for the above comparative data between Singapore and Hong Kong, may be that Singapore’s public spending as a percentage of GDP on Healthcare at 1.6 per cent, and Education as a percentage of GNI at 3 per cent, have been one of the lowest in the world. (Source: “The Different Sovereign Wealth Funds and Their Implications” by Professor Christopher Balding (June 11)). http://www.baldingsworld.com/2012/06/11/the-different-sovereign-wealth-funds-and-their-implications/

Low public spending on healthcare and education, may mean that there has been higher private spending by Singaporeans. Thus, perhaps this may be a contributing factor to lower private consumption expenditure, which is kind of like the ordinary people’s spending power.

Its like the less the Government spends on public sevices, the more the people have to spend out of their own pockets.

Competition from foreign labour?

If you ever thought Hong Kong people foist their dirty work on foreign labour you can ease your conscience by looking at Singapore, where about 36 per cent is non-resident”

This liberal foreign labour policy may be another contributing factor to the hardship of Singaporeans, by way of competition for jobs, lower pay, etc.


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.