Friday, October 25, 2013

Not Going To Happen

Last month, Hong Kong adopted an official poverty line. Seeing the similarities between Singapore and Hong Kong, many Singaporeans activists have been asking the Singapore government to do the same in Singapore. Thus far, the Singapore government has refused to do so.

Do not hold your breath thinking that’s going to change.

Mr. Chan Chun Sing, the Minister for Social and Family Development, has all but confirmed that Singapore is not considering having an official poverty line, and I'm not surprised. For all the talk about "cliff effect" and "no such thing as poverty in Singapore", this is the real reason why. Once they adopt an official poverty line in Singapore, the Singapore government will need to raise salaries of workers in Singapore as we need to have a minimum wage.

It makes sense right? If you have a poverty line, then it's just common sense that the next step for the county is to have a minimum wage. And in super pro-business Singapore, that's just not going to happen.

Singapore is a rich country with low unemployment. Yet the reason for this is the relatively low salaries of workers in Singapore. Earlier this month, The New Paper ran a story about a family living out of a van at the carpark of East Coast Park. The family may be homeless but the sole breadwinner has employment. He earns $2,100 a month with a take-home pay of around $1,7000.

Internationally that’s not poor but in high-cost Singapore, that’s not enough for a family to survive on. In the past few years, the number of rich people in Singapore has steadily increased but most, if not all, of them are foreigners who came to Singapore and took up Singapore PR. Wages have been stagnate as Singapore have opened up the floodgates for foreigners for low wage jobs. Salaries for these low wage foreigners are so bad that they have went on strikes and Singapore has been having problems attracting foreign workers.

So now not only are the salaries of foreign workers rising, the Singapore government is also going to have a poverty line (which will lead to a minimum wage). Sorry, but I just don't see that happening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They can set a bench mark for their own salaries, and not for the poor...