The unofficial history of the poor in S’pore? (Part 5): 14 statistics that will make you cry?

The Real Singapore

Nov 9, 2013

The problem as some people have said, arguably, with Roy Ngerng whom I have co-authored several articles, is that he overwhelms the reader with “tons” of charts and statistics.

14 statistics that will make you cry?

So, I have gone to his web site to summarise and list the following statistics, which may make you cry!


1)Poverty in Singapore grew from 16% in 2002 to 28% in 2013

Even though Singapore is the richest country in the world, we actually have the highest poverty rate among the high-income countries

Our poverty rate is as high as some of the poorest countries in the world, and significantly higher than other middle-income countries like China, Thailand and Vietnam


2)We have the highest income inequality among the developed countries, and one of the highest in the world

Reserves and surpluses

3)Our government has one of the highest national reserves and surpluses in the world, and we have the highest national reserves per capita in the world

Public spending

4)Our government spends the least public spending for Singaporeans, as compared to the other developed countries


5)The MediShield Fund has set a target Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 200% (currently 165%) – the highest in the world?

6)Because the government had spent only 31% for the total health expenditure, Singaporeans had to fork out-of-pocket 69% of the expenditure

At 31%, the government spends the lowest expenditure of health, as a proportion of total health expenditure, as compared to the developed countries, and compared to many of the developing countries as well

7)Singapore has the lowest total per capita expenditure among the developed countries

8)Because Singaporeans spend the highest proportion out-of-pocket, we end up paying the highest out-of-pocket in actual monetary terms

9)Even as the government had said that they would increase the health expenditure as a proportion of GDP, from the 1.4% now to 3.5% in 2030, and the health expenditure as a proportion of GDP, from the 31% to 40%, this would still be the lowest, as compared to the developed countries, and even to the countries in the region


10)Singaporeans earn the lowest interest rates on our CPF as compared to the other countries.

Since 2000, Singaporeans have been earning 2.5% to 4% on our provident funds. Some commenters had said that this interest rate is “guaranteed” and is high. Let’s take a look at the  interest rates of the other countries

Do you know that when compared to the other countries with social security or provident funds, we actually earn the lowest average returns since 2000 ((ranging from Hong Kong’s 5.5 to New Zealand’s 14.5%)

11)”The CPF interest rate of 2.5% that we are getting on our Ordinary Account (OA) now is the lowest and is what we were getting between 1955 and 1962. In fact, from 1963 to 1986 (for more than 20 years), the interest rate that we were earning from our CPF had been above 5% – higher than what we receive on even the 4.0% on the Special and Medisave Accounts (SMA) now”

12)”If we include the “non-active” CPF members who are able to meet their minimum sum, solely on the basis of cash (and not including property which cannot be monetised without selling it), we estimate that the proportion of Singaporeans who can actually meet the CPF minimum sum would only be about 1 in 8 Singaporeans”


13)Singaporeans have always been told that we pay one of the lowest taxes in the world. But do you know what we have not been told?

Do you know that when comparing what we pay into our CPF with what people in other countries pay into their forms of social security, Singapore actually has the highest total contribution rate (employee 20% + employer 16% contribution rate) in the world


14)Do you know that even though Singapore is the richest, if not, one of the richest countries in the world, and even though we have one of the highest prices in the world, Singaporeans are actually paid the lowest wages among the high-income countries (Singapore’s median wage of $2,925 in 2011 compared to the range of $3,156 for Ireland to $8,631 for Denmark)

Leong Sze Hian

P.S. Watch the Video and read the Article about “Govt spends nothing on Healthcare, CPF & HDB?”

You can read “The unofficial history of the poor in S’pore? (Part 4)” here

P.S. Update: Give $1 for your freedom of speech – $1,998.49 to go!

Update: $8,756.51 – $1,998.49 to go

Thank you Singapore

Han Hui Hui has lost her life savings of $10,755.

If only 10,755 Singaporeans who care – donate $1 each to this brave 33 kg 21 year old.

Send your $1 vide Internet Banking, ATM or cheque to POSB savings account no. 279-12328-0 Han Hui Hui.

Please help to share this meaningful activity with your friends.

Written by Leong Sze Hian, Vivian Pan and Roy Ngerng

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.