I am not surprised that the budget carries so many sweetening goodies due to the looming election. Many have envisaged that the coming election will be one that may go against the ruling party due to a string of unpopular policies in place.
From babies to the aged, everyone seems to have benefitted from the budget.
Nevertheless, such goodies – dished out to the average Singaporeans are only useful for a short season as many of our root social and economic problems are not resolved.
For example, many educated PMETs aged above 40 years old, struggled with re employment and many have to take on low-end work in order to survive.
Those aged above 50 years old have frankly given up hope on finding work here and many who are able have emigrated to countries whereby there is less discrimination against age when it comes to re-employment.
Their needs are further exaberated if they have to tend to dependents such as young children and aged parents.
That is probably why the sandwiched generation continues to be stressed out financially and many families broke up as a result as they could not cope well with such stressors.
Our income bracket here also belongs to one of the lowest among first world countries.
The Straits Times article on 19 Jan also stated that 56% of our work force does not pay income taxes as they all earn below $20, 000 annually.
Many workers are also on Workfare – a support welfare system meant for those who earned below $1700 a month and aged below 35 years old. The figure is increasing and should not be seen as a good sign.
Moreover, workfare is like a subsidy dished out by the government to supplement the miserable income of our low-wage workers who are make to slave for our MNCs here.
More than 70% of the workfare money is also locked away in our CPF accounts and this will not really help to alleviate the piteous condition of our cash-strapped workers.
Without minimum wage legislation, employers will continue to have the upper hand and the issue is make serious by the huge surplus of foreigner manpower available on our shore.
For example, I have being looking for work recently and my salary has not improved much for the past 10 years.
I am unsure if I can even get back the salary that I earned five years ago!
Many people have also pointed out that Singaporeans are being treated like cheap workers helping our foreigner investors to make money.
There is also a general lack of labour laws to protect our local workers and employers routinely exploit our work force through unfair work demands, low salary and unethical work practices. Our tripatite union system is also seen to be leaning more towards the employers.
Unless our government first addresses the root social and economic problems of our country, we will continue to depend on such feel-good pre-election budget for survival.
I also dread of the day when many of our population have to retire – how can we save for retirement when we do not even have enough to live on when we are abled and fit?