New year wish for 2014

Leading by example? – Employ Singaporeans first?

The Government should lead by example, by employing Singaporeans only. As existing jobs become vacancies, only Singaporeans should be hired.

I understand that most countries only hire or give priority to employing citizens.

All government agencies should disclose the breakdown of the number of Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners in their work force.

For foreigners, it should be further broken down into employment pass, S-pass, work permit, letter of consent, interns, etc.

The number of persons with disabilities and ex-offenders employed should also be disclosed.

The labour movement should also do the same and disclose the breakdown of its work force into Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners.

All Government-linked companies (GLCS) should also be encouraged to do so too.

Private employers should also be encouraged to do the same. In this connection, I have met many employers who proudly tell me that they have a 100% Singaporean workforce.

Even in the F & B sector which seems to be always complaining about the difficulty in getting Singaporeans to work – I recently met an owner of a chain of pubs that employs 100% Singaporeans.

We should encourage consumers to patronise such businesses.

Increase HDB affordability relative to income?

The prices of BTO HDB flats should be gradually reduced to an affordable and acceptable multiple of annual income (such as say 4 times) for the various types of flat types and size.

Increase CPF %?

The CPF Ordinary Account interest rate should gradually be increased to 1% less than the average annual returns of Temasek and GIC Pte Ltd.  In this connection, Temasek and GIC Pte Ltd had annualised returns of 16% (S$ terms) from inception and 6% (US$ terms) in the last 20 years or so, respectively.

Stop spending $0 on healthcare?

Public Healthcare spending as a % of GDP should be gradually increased from the current 1.4% to about 4% of GDP, and immediately from a cashflow perspective – stop the current policy of not spending a single cent on healthcare.
Reduce Budget surplus?
The annual Budget surplus should as far as possible be gradually reduced to not more than $1 billion or 2% of Revenue, whichever is the lower.
(Note: Last year’s Budget surplus was $3.9 billion and $36.1 billion under IMF fiscal reporting guidelines)
We should stop the current practice of large transfers to endowment funds, which overstate expenditure and understate the Budget

Reduce foreign imports?

We need to bring back our national pride and reduce the import of foreign sportsman to not more than 40% of our national teams.

What’s the point of winning medals internationally, when almost the entire team are not Singaporeans?

Should we be proud or ashamed?

Don’t we realise that our “foreign” triumphs may make us the laughing stock of the world?

Reduce scholarships for foreigners?

Gradually reduce the number of scholarships to foreigners and PRs to attain at least half of the scholarships going to Singaporeans immediately, and gradually to a ratio of 80/20 in favour of Singaporeans.

Our future together

Some of the above suggested measures may rekindle the will to fix the woes of our current economic and social system, and enhance the confidence of Singaporeans and foreign investors – that Singapore can continue to flourish.

The current state of affairs may arguably be reaching a state whereby – many in Singapore and internationally may have doubts about Singapore’s continued sustainability in development.

Let us work together to turn the tide – before it is too late – we are all Singaporeans – we are all on the same side.

Wishing you a happy new year and the best of everything my fellow  Singaporeans


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.