S’pore is rich, but the people are poor?


What’s the point of Singapore being so rich, when the people are so poor and suffering?

I refer to the article :4G ministers in place to lead in a few years’ time: ESM Goh Chok Tong” ((Straits Times, Aug 19).

It states that “Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong says that at his age – 77 – he is not seized with having to be popular.

Instead, he is more interested in what works for Singapore.

Speaking at the annual Marine Parade National Day dinner on Saturday (Aug 18), the former prime minister touched on his role as a second generation (2G) leader at a time when the country is in the midst of transiting to a fourth generation (4G) leadership.

But Singapore does not need a former prime minister to come to its rescue, he said.

As to “He noted that the Republic “has not done too badly” on international indices in terms of health care, education, housing, social welfare, economic competitiveness and per capita income” – our public healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP at over 2%, is the lowest among all the developed countries in the world.

Our public housing is the most expensive in the world  (ratio of price to income).

Our social welfare spending as a percentage of GDP at less than 1%, is the lowest among all the developed countries in the world.

So, what’s the point of having one of the highest per capita income in the world, when we still have about 1 in 4 resident workers who earn less than $2,000 monthly (after the 20% employee CPF contribution) or are unemployed, and cleaners median basic salary is still only about $1,100.

With regard to “The country’s sovereign wealth funds are held up by the Economist magazine for the way they are managed, he said.

And despite its small size, Singapore has the 37th biggest economy in the world, he added” – what’s the point of these, when the 2.5% interest rate on our CPF Ordinary Account has been the lowest real rate of return of all the national pension funds in the world, since 1999?

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.