Tackle problem facing lower wage earners

Charles Tan

The Young Democrats urge the Government to take immediate action to reform and improve the economic system to benefit the lower income earners in Singapore.

According to two TODAY on-line news reports, more lower wage Singaporeans are feeling the pinch as salaries have grown by 4.3% but poorer Singaporeans earned less last year.

It is apparent that more is needed to help the lower income earners. One-time handouts such as Singapore Shares or Progress Package is not enough and cannot be a substitute for a legitimate form of sustainable economic plan.

It was reported that “new entrants in less-skilled jobs took home lower wages, ranging from a median of $755 for cleaners and labourers to $1,335 for clerks.” These are terrible numbers for a country that claims to have a First World government.

The General Household Survey shows that the average monthly household income from work dropped to $1,180 (nearly 20 per cent) for the 11th to 20th percentile of wage earners, and to $2,190 (about 5 per cent) for those in the 21st to 30th percentile.

In addition, the increase in household income is less than 1% for all ethnic groups per year (with the exception of the Indian ethnic group which increased by more than 2%). Such increases are, however, not compared against the inflation rate which is unfortunately not available to the public. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to assume that rising costs of living or inflation would have exceeded the monthly household income percentage increases.

The Singapore Democrats have repeatedly called for economic reforms which are needed to ensure that low income earners are not neglected from rising costs of living and the impact of globalization.

We recognise this problem and have included in our manifesto “Developing a more equitable distribution of income and wealth.” This can be achieved in four ways:

a. Replacing the GDP as an index of national well-being;
b. Empowering the People;
c. Introducing the Minimum Wage; and
d. Putting our Reserves to Work

More information about this section of our manifesto can be read at: