Sheer desperation to say workers here costlier than Americans

DPM Tony Tan has made the absurd claim that Singaporean workers are more expensive than those in the United States and Australia to justify the Governments intention to further cut workers CPF. This is a sign of desperation from the PAP in trying to justify the unjustifiable.

Mr Tan ignores a report which revealed a major, and shocking, finding of a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 1999. According to the survey of 59 countries, Singaporean workers, especially those employed in manual labour, are relatively among the worst paid in the world. The median wage of an office cleaner or driver, adjusted for productivity, is among the lowest in 59 countries worldwide. Only Russia, the Ukraine, and Ecuador are paid less. Secretaries dont do much better; their wages rank fiftieth among the 59 countries.

Its also easy for the DPM to cite the so-called high wages of Singaporean workers and then ignore the incredible salaries he and his fellow ministers rake in. While it is highly contentious to claim that Singaporeans are paid more than their American counterparts, there is no dispute that PAP ministers are overpaid, especially when one considers that PM Goh Chok Tong earns three times more than the president of the United States. Even a cabinet minister here earns twice as much as President George W. Bush.

And while the Government continues to talk a good talk about cutting wages, it happily increases the fees and fares to bolster its coffers. The recent spate of price hikes in the GST, bus fares, car park fees, MRT fares, electricity rates, etc. makes the sorry affair even more upsetting for Singaporeans. This is not to mention that HDB prices remain sky-high. With living costs as life-draining as it is in this country, it is inane for the DPM to talk only of cutting wages and not of living expenses as well.

Singaporeans would do well to remember the promises the PAP made during the 2001 GE and compare it to the garbage that the Government is now forcing down our throats.

Chee Soon Juan
28 August 2003

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