$1.3t reserves: Hoarding surpluses, increasing prices?


With our huge reserves of $1.3 trillion – why is there still a need to horde Budget surpluses and increase the prices of practically everything?

I refer to the article “GIC is world’s third most influential and powerful asset owner” (Business Times, Nov 2).

It states that “SINGAPORE sovereign wealth fund GIC has made a dramatic ascent to became the world’s third most influential and powerful asset owner after two large US pension funds.”

As to “GIC, the world’s eighth biggest sovereign wealth fund with US$390 billion of assets under management” – if we add Temasek’s US$235 billion and the Official Foreign Reserves of US$291.3 billion – we get a total of US$916.3 billion (S$1.256 billion).

With such huge reserves which is the highest on a per capita basis in the world – why is there a continuing need to horde Budget surpluses ($9.6 billion last year) – and to increase the prices of practically everything (transport, fares, water, electricity, university tuition fees, etc)?

Pay the most, get the least?

What is absolutely unacceptable may be that, we arguably pay the highest taxes in the world (taxes, indirect taxes, highest CPF contribution in the world (akin to social security and insurance taxes in other countries)), implicit tax by paying the lowest real pension returns in the world, and receive relatively the lowest social benefits.

On top of this, from a cashflow perspective, we are not spending any money on CPF, HDB or healthcare, as the annual inflows exceed the outflows in each of these 3 areas.

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.