Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Friday January 19th 2018

Post-labour day forum on Income Inequality – 30 May (Sat) from 2.30pm to 5pm

Dear Singaporeans,

We are presenting a post-labour day forum on the topic – Income Inequality.

The details are as follows:

Date: 30 May (Sat)

Time:  2.30pm to 5pm

Venue: Blk 231 Bain Street #04-41 Bras Basah Complex Singapore 180231

Registration: Please email to reserve a place as seats are limited (80 max)

Speakers: to be confirmed

Many Singaporeans from the very educated to the blue-collared suffer from low wages and we have recently evolved into a nation with the highest income gap in the world.

Singapore’s Gini co-efficient, which is a widely used measure of income inequality, has increased to 0.473 last year, from 0.454 a decade ago.

The ratio of incomes of the top 20 per cent and bottom 20 per cent of income earners has also widened from 10.1 per cent in 2000 to 12 per cent in 2010.

Though we have recorded the highest GDP in the world,  many of us still earn wages similar to that of ten years ago due to various reasons.

According to the Sunday Times article on 24 Aug 2014, “The number of older workers taking home less than $1,000 a month has doubled to nearly 35,000 over the past decade.”

It really shows the dismal  salary scale Singaporeans have earned over the past decade accentuated by the huge inflow of cheaper foreign workers competing for jobs with local Singaporeans.

Roy Ngerng in his article has estimated that 26% of Singaporeans are living below the poverty line and that the proportion of middle class has dropped over the years accentuated by stagnanted wages and high cost of living.

Yet Singapore boasts of the highest number of millionaires, according to a new report from the Boston Consulting Group.

Forbes reported that Singapore had 188,000 millionaire households in 2011 – or slightly more than 17% of its resident households.

One can only reason that the majority of new millionaires recorded are newly-minted immigrants who have parked their riches here.

The government is also not agreeable to identify a dollar figure to our poverty line so far but we reckon if a typical household of 4 family members could not bring home a minimum of $2000 disposable income a month, he is probably struggling from hand to mouth in very desperate condition.

According to the Straits Times, the “Singapore (government) is not considering having an official poverty line, as it would not fully reflect the severity and complexity of issues faced by the poor, and may also lead to those above the line missing out on assistance.”

The government to it’s credit has poured in far more resources into providing for the less priviledged in this year’s election budget but will this philosophy be substainable in the long rum?

To run salt to wound, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman mentioned proudly previously that Singaporeans who earn $1000 a month can purchase a brand-new HDB BTO flat.

This kind of statement reveals the out-of-touch sentiments the government officials have with the ground.

Our cost of living has also skyrocketted and over the past decade, food prices have increase by as much as 50% with some even doubling in cost.

Eating out which has become a Singaporean simple luxury is now no longer attainable by many families as the poor and needy consider cooking in to save cost.

The recent fake degree saga also touches off a raw nerve as it reveals the lax way in which our labour ministry has managed the kind of foreign workers allowed into our work force.

The government passes the buck and blame back to the employers who have smartly kept mum about the whole saga.

It is envisaged that  fake degrees will affect thousands of foreign professionals who will lie and cheat their way to get a strong foothold into our prosperous economy. Many are earning at least five times what they will receive in their own countries if not more.

The government  is also not considering implementing a minimum wage for low wage workers and this has allowed employers  to pay the barest minimum to get in workers.

The lack of a minimum wage also stresses the wage disparity which threatens to pull the division further.

If you are affected by low wages or bothered by recent labour screw-ups, please feel free to join us and register early  to avoid disappointment.

Gilbert Goh

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Reader Feedback

3 Responses to “Post-labour day forum on Income Inequality – 30 May (Sat) from 2.30pm to 5pm”

  1. sal says:

    I don’t believe politicians, they only knows how to talk. They should lead by example if they thing the cost of living in Spore is OK. Pity to those lower income Sporeans, how to survive in Spore with no minimum wage that correspond to the cost of living.

  2. J Y says:

    This is a very complex problem to solve. There is no one-size-fit-all approach to help those in need. Many of the poor receive some groceries from charities, but prefer cash. They will give away those things that they don’t need to others who are not as needy as them. For eg., some elderly don’t drink milo or milk but keep on getting them from the charities. They prefer tea or coffee.

    On the other hand, some elderly will spend the cash on branded goods instead of basic necessities. Even if you want to help the poor or needy elderly, how can you ensure that your money is well-spent on the basic necessities instead of on luxury goods or going for holidays. Different people have different necessities. Some may view a holiday trip as a luxury while others see it as their right to see the world even though they cannot afford it.

  3. sal says:

    @JY, important thing …its the job of a gov to help the poor n needy. If the gov give them $500/monthly..its all up to individual how much they want to spend on food, transport or others. You cannot tell someone to eat fried rice if he/ she prefer mee rebus.

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