Infrastructure spending: 169x of social welfare?


2018: What’s next for Singaporeans?

I refer to the article “Singapore to continue restructuring economy, investing in infrastructure in 2018: PM Lee” (Channel NewsAsia, Dec 31).

It states that “Amid an uncertain external environment, Singapore must press on with plans to restructure its economy and invest in its infrastructure in 2018,”

In this connection, it was announced last year that infrastructure spending would be increased to a whopping $22 billion.

Let’s arguably, try to put things in perspective – $22 billion on infrastructure versus just $130 million on ComCare?

Does it mean that infrastructure is 169 times ($22 billion divided by $130 million) that of ComCare?

As to “This includes continuing to implement Industry Transformation Maps, and using SkillsFuture to inculcate lifelong learning and help workers to adapt and grow in new jobs” – this consistent rhetoric may not be working if we look at the labour statistics.

For example, total employment has contracted by a whopping 258,700 in the last 12 months to September.

And why is the Labour Market Report 3rd Quarter silent on whether local employment grew or shrank in the last 12 months?

And for residents – Singapore citizens and permanent residents combined – the unemployment rate remained unchanged from the previous quarter at 3.1 per cent – what is the employment growth or contraction for Singaporeans, instead of locals?

Moreover, with an average of 30,000 new PRs and 20,000 new citizens granted yearly – wouldn’t the unemployment rate be possibly higher, without the re-classification of such foreign workers into resident workers?

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.