Inflation: 5.7% – How much more can Singaporeans take?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on December 25, 2011

~by: Leong Sze Hian~

I refer to the article “Singapore’s inflation figures still higher than expected” (ST, Dec 24).Inflation in November has hit a three-year high of 5.7 per cent.

Real earnings down

Against this, real average monthly earnings slipped by 0.2 per cent in September, over the last 12 months.

Transport fares up

Public transport fares have increased by two cents per trip in October. Like in previous fare hikes, needy Singaporeans can apply for transport vouchers to help cover the increase. But like previous transport vouchers, it may only be enough to cover the year’s increase, but not the increases in the past.

Electricity Tariff?

Between July and September, rising oil prices saw electricity tariffs for households surge by 6.6 per cent to hit a 33-month high, and will decrease by an average of only 1.2 per cent between October and December. In this connection, I do not think that the Energy Market Authority’s (EMA) reply (“EMA: We provide information in a meaningful, timely manner”, Today, Dec 9)

to David Boey’s letter of 28 November (“From transparency to opacity”, Today),  has adequately addressed his queries – “The non-fuel generating cost is not insignificant in dollar terms and has trended upward since the first quarter of 2008, at an annualised rate of approximately 6 per cent.

More worrying, it increased in all but one of the eight calendar quarters ended Q3 this year, at which point it was 50 per cent higher than in Q3 2009, or an annualised increase of 22 per cent.

The EMA did not say, to my previous letter “What about non-fuel cost?” (July 25), how much of the non-fuel cost goes towards the generating companies’ profits.”

Property tax up

Property tax has increased. The HDB Resale Price Index increased the last quarter at the highest pace for the year – 3.8 per cent, such that arguably rentals my also have gone up.

Taxi fares up

Taxi fares have increased. Singaporeans may be waiting for the Competition Commission of Singapore’s action, as to whether all taxi companies, with the exception of one, increasing their fares in almost identical fashion all at around the same time, constitutes anti-competitive behaviour.

Whilst it may be difficult to control inflation or declining wages, what we do not need are policies that continue to increase the burden of Singaporeans, by raising the cost of basic necessities and charges, like transport, utilities, property tax, etc



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.