A statistical perspective to the NDR speech

I refer to the National Day Rally speech.http://www.channelnewsasia.com/annex/ND2012_PMLEE_ENGTEXT.pdf

How many Singaporean graduate students?

“Proudly told me his two children were graduates
i.The daughter (Huey Sun) an accountant with IRAS 

ii.The son Wei Seong an A*STAR researcher
(1) Graduated from Singapore Poly, went on to university, eventually earned a PhD from NUS
(2) Awarded A*STAR International Fellowship to do post- doctoral fellowship in Harvard
(3) Now a research scientist at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology”

– I understand that about 75 per cent of graduate students in the local universities are not Singaporeans. So, what percentage of the PhD students are Singaporeans?

How many Singaporean scholars vs foreign scholars?


ii. Strengthening the Singapore core in the workforce, e.g. new Singapore-Industry Scholarship for Singaporeans to go to university, and work in local companies (90 scholarships this year with more to come)”

– In a reply on foreign scholarships in Parliament in February, it was said that there were at least 2,000 foreign scholars in a year?

What does this mean?

Well, it may mean that in some years, it may have been much more than 2,000.

So, what we need to know is the number in each of the last five years.

Against this “at least 2,000” a year, how many scholarships are given to Singaporeans in a year?

Upgrade skills get higher pay?

“iii. Upgrading low income workers, e.g. in cleaning and security industries

iv. Take advantage of these opportunities, upgrade yourselves to become more competitive and employable”

– Workers in these industries are amongst the lowest paid workers in Singapore, with basic pay per hour typically at around only $4 an hour. 

The consistent rhetoric of upgrading skills in order to increase productivity and pay has not worked all these years.

The main reason why their monthky pay may seem to have increased, is because of overtime pay, such as the typical 12 hour shifts for six days of security guards.

Adequate healthcare?

“Ageing and healthcare

i. New hospitals on the way – Ng Teng Fong hospital in Jurong, next one in Sengkang”

– According to the Department of Statistics’ Yearbook of Statistics 2012, the total number of hospital beds in Singapore declined from 11,936 in 2001 to 11,394 in 2011, against an  increase in the number of hospital admissions from 384,054 to 469,445 a year, increase  in medical tourists to about 850,000 a year now and a population increase of 1.1 million.

Less foreign students = more Singaporean students?

“Thus increase current full-time university intake by a total of 3,000 students per year by 2020 (from 13,000 today to 16,000)”

– As I understand that 20 per cent of the first year undergraduate intake is reserved for foreign students (2,600 students), plus an unknown percentage of permanent residents (PRs), why not start to reduce the intake of foreign students now, to allow more Singaporeans, instead of waiting until 2020 to achieve the increase in the overall intake from 13,000 now to 16,000?

Preschool subsidies for PCF & NTUC only?

“Financial support (ComCare subsidies1 for low income households, plus childcare subsidies) makes pre-school affordable

1 Kindergarten Financial Assistance Scheme (KiFAS) and Centre-Based Financial Assistance Scheme for Childcare (CFAC)

Bring in new AOPs in addition to PCF and NTUC”

– Why is it that such subsidies are only applicable to enrolment at PCF and NTUC, but not to other private operators?

How many low-wage elderly workers?

“Mdm Chang Ka Fong: 87 years young, and still playing basketball daily”

– Everywhere we go, we see so many elderly Singaporeans working as cleaners, road sweepers, security guards, etc, for very low wages. Typical jobs available to elderly Singaporeans, like retail, services and F & B pay only around $5 an hour.

How many Singaporeans age 55 and above are earning less than $1,500 a monthly?

Workfare helps about 400,000 Singaporean workers age 35 and above earning not more than $1,700 a month. If we include those below age 35, how many low-wage Singaporeans are there in total?

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.