Since getting into the Singapore government, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has managed to put his foot in his mouth a few times. In a way it is understandable. The man is basically a technocrat turned politician.
In another example of why some technocrats should not be politicians, the DPM has managed to do so again. Speaking at a forum at Nanyang Technological University in front of 750 university students and lecturers, the DPM argued that the Singapore government need to be involved in the running of the economy as it is needed to ensure the economic benefits goes down to all sectors of the Singapore population.
There’s only one problem with that excellent theory; Reality!
No one can argue that the Singapore government is currently highly “involved” in the Singapore government. Government-linked companies dominate the economical landscape of the country, but does the benefits of Singapore’s growth goes to the Singapore people?
For the past few years, the answer has been a flat “NO”.
For the past few years, Singapore has a high growth rate but if you ask ordinary Singaporeans, most would say life has not gotten better. In fact, some would say it has gotten worse and they would blame the Singapore government for it.
The Singapore government’s economic and immigration policies has caused wages to be kept low, housing prices to spike and widen the rich-poor divide in the country. If the DPM want to argue that the Singapore government has to be involved in the economy for the good of the people; then quite frankly he need to make sure his government is doing a better job of it.