I do not understand how anyone in Singapore can be surprised by this.
This happens all the time. I had worked for about 5 companies in my life and this happened in every one of them. And I’m not talking about some SME here; I had worked for one of the telcom and one of the Singapore bank here. They give a job promotion with no pay increase. Okay, maybe I’m overstating it; the bank did give a $50 increase.
Anyone who is shocked or surprised by this practice is obviously not a Singaporean. Wait sorry, that’s wrong; he or she never worked in Singapore before! This practice happens to foreigners in Singapore as well and is the reason why Singaporeans job-hop so often. It’s about the only sure way to get a pay raise. Surprised? Hell no, the practice is very common here.