At 2 percent economic growth, PM claims to have got both politics and economics right

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Lee Hsien Loong and the Straits Times annoyed me again today. The newspaper, like the good toady it is, devoted its front page headline to the prime minister’s attempt to pass a motherhood statement off as statesmanlike wisdom.

Right up there in the second paragraph, a quote from him:

“If your politics is wrong, your economics is bound to go wrong. And the reason why so many countries cannot get their economics right is because their politics don’t work,” he observed.

— Straits Times, 6 July 2013, Singapore must get politics rights: PM Lee

He went on to say that

“. . .  so far we have been able to do so,” he added.

— ibid.

Perhaps he was thinking of GDP growth, the topline figure that the Singapore government pays homage to above anything else, as a measure of  “right economics”.  Perhaps too, he was tacitly comparing Singapore with the United States, a country that in the past has been cited by him and his cabinet colleagues as an instructive example of dysfunctional politics, what with Congressional budget showdowns and all.

Indeed, Singapore compares well when viewed over a ten-year period:

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But he should be careful not to gloat too soon. Less than a month ago, “Private sector economists expect the Singapore economy to grow by 2.3 per cent this year — down from their previous estimate of 2.8 per cent in March,” reported ChannelNews Asia (Link). Even the Ministry of Trade and Industry said on 23 May 2013 that “it will maintain the GDP growth forecast for 2013 at 1.0 to 3.0 per cent” — in other words, with 2 percent as its mid-forecast (Link).

In the United States, the range of GDP growth forecasts for 2013 — and there are plenty you can find on the web — are roughly in the same ballpark. Moreover, its first quarter figure beat Singapore’s handsomely. “Gross domestic product rose at a 2.4 percent annualized rate, the Commerce Department said today in Washington,” reported Bloomberg on 30 May 2013, referring to the January – March 2013 period. The comparable Q1-2013 figure for Singapore was 0.2 percent.

Moreover, we need also to bear in mind that over the ten-year period, Singapore has seen massive immigration. With more hands on deck, we can naturally expect a percentage or two added to the GDP growth. On the other hand, one might argue that the cost of such a high rate of immigration has not been captured in our GDP data, but nonetheless experienced in quality of life and housing prices.

More importantly, topline figures are only one measure of economic health. What about how wealth is shared? Singapore’s Gini index of household income (a measure of income disparity) is generally a shade worse than the US’.

These considerations taken together, this attempt by Lee to claim moral superiority for the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) iron-fisted style of government by reference to the economy must be treated with skepticism.

* * * * *

Perhaps he was thinking of Turkey, Brazil and now Egypt, countries that have taken newspaper headlines from him through the outpouring of popular discontent on the streets.  It would have worried our government to watch what was happening in these places. Massive street activism is not at all part of their constipated notion of “right politics”, and the fear of Singaporeans doing likewise no doubt motivates all manner of laws not just against the freedom of assembly but also the freedom of speech, lest speech rouse people to action.

It is impossible to have an exhaustive discussion here of the events in those countries, and in any case, there aren’t a lot of immediately apparent parallels with Singapore. For example, the important element of creeping Islamisation in bringing dissenters out onto the streets — in the case of Turkey and Egypt — is not mirrored here, though some Singaporeans might point to a creeping Christianisation of the Singapore state as cause for concern. That said, if one looks beyond Islamisation, one also sees a creeping authoritarianism in both the Erdogan and Morsi governments (in Turkey and Egypt respectively). To the extent this brings out protestors, one might likewise argue that the Singapore government ignores these 21st Century trends at its peril.

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It is Brazil that I find interesting. Massive street demonstrations were triggered by a 20-centavo (11 Singapore cents) rise in public transport fares in Sao Paulo. Millions marched in various cities for over a week. It took a while for observers to understand what was going on in people’s  feelings, but eventually commentators seem to have reached a consensus that Brazilians were disgusted with the way their federal and state governments were spending lavishly on glittering sports stadiums in the lead-up to the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro while public and social services (health, education, transport) remained as rotten as ever. Governments that keep too much an eye on international acclaim and prestige projects at the expense of overall well-being have been put on notice.

Did the Singapore government notice?

Hmmm . . . .

The sidebar to the main story on Straits Times’ front page (as you can see from the picture at top) showcases Lee Hsien’s Loong’s boast about Marina Bay.

“There’s only one Marina Bay in the world,” he says — another meaningless statement. There is after all only one Canary Wharf, one Silicon Valley, one Cotai Strip and one St Moritz. What does that prove?

If anything,  Marina Bay’s shiny skyscrapers, inflated-ego ferris wheel (now in receivership), the energy-intensive, high-entrance fee gardens, and the giant casino with shops and restaurants too expensive for most Singaporeans to even smell, suggest exactly the same misplaced focus on prestige projects that brought the millions out in Brazil.

* * * * *

There was something else in Lee’s statement about getting politics right that bothered me. It reminded me of this slip of the tongue during the 2006 general election when he told voters not to vote in opposition members of parliament. If they did, he would have to spend all his time thinking up ways to “fix” them and he’d have no time to govern, he told his crowd. Given this history, one cannot help but ask what Lee really means by “getting politics right”. Does he picture a scenario of the People’s Action Party reigning with little dissent inside and outside parliament? One where his government has complete freedom to implement whatever muddled-headed policies it chooses, beguiled by its own sense of inerrant wisdom?

If one takes into account runaway housing prices, soaring healthcare costs, crowded and frequently-breaking down public transport, wide income disparity, all kinds of restrictions on liberty, and a steady destruction of the independence of many state institutions, I am not at all convinced that we have “right politics” producing right outcomes.

In fact, one can easily argue that when Brazilians took to the streets to demand accountability, and when President Dilma Rousseff acknowledged the validity of people’s  dissent, promising to turn policies around, that was politics that was much more “right” and likely to produce better outcomes than Lee and the PAP’s brand of silence-all-opposition rule.

46 Responses to “At 2 percent economic growth, PM claims to have got both politics and economics right”


  1. 1 Samuel 6 July 2013 at 17:28

    Let’s get this right. Lee Hsien Loong’s obsession with the GDP is directly because his bonus depends on it. To get Singapore’s politics right, we need to start from the very top. The longer Lee stays as PM, the more Singaporeans are going to suffer.

    Any Tom, Dick and Harry can become a minister. We do not need a scholar, a general, a doctor or a CEO. The most important criteria is the heart to serve, the ability to lead and think on the spot. From the haze incident, we can see that most of the ministers don’t possess these qualities at all.

    If Mr Low Thia Khiang has the guts and gumption, I would willingly give him my blessing. Please don’t let us wait another 10 years. Singapore doesn’t have the luxury to wait. Show us your courage now and pave the way for a non-PAP government. We will be right behind you.

    • 2 Duh 8 July 2013 at 02:16

      I agree with your view – the US elected a simpleton for two terms and the country which holds one of the largest world economy didn’t collapse into nothingness while he was President. The political leader is served and advised by many professionals and doesn’t lead the country alone.

      The heart to serve for the benefit of the nation and its citizens is paramount – everything else is secondary. Singaporeans can see this sincerity – that’s why the late President Ong was held so dear among so many Singaporeans. Along somewhat midway in LKY’s political career, LKY’s judgement started to be clouded by personal interests (e.g., high MP salaries) and this spread like the Sumatran forest fires to all levels of the PAP cadre, even to his son.

      If you pay MPs a high salary, you are obviously defining the reward structure for political service in monetary terms and what kind of people one attracts besides ones that are motivated to enter politics for money? Also, look at the MP’s pay structure (i.e., what determines their bonuses) – it takes indices for running Singapore like a company (GDP) rather than nation building (citizen’s wages/employment rates).

  2. 3 Sgcynic 6 July 2013 at 18:35

    Lee Hsien Loong got his politics and economics, yet Singapore’ economic growth is barely better than the US’s when the latter’s is in the doldrums. Lee Hsien Loong had to apologise to Singaporeans for getting his politics right, and had to rethink many policies and perform numerous tweaks. What crap!

  3. 4 kw Wong 6 July 2013 at 18:43

    I was among the audience and unlike dissenters all of us there including PRs etc thought his speech was excellent. He admitted mistakes such as overcrowded trains and the need to keep abreast of changing public expectations. His statement on the presence of billionaires makes sense. If we had an additional 100 billionaires[my hypothetical figure] as opposed to his figure of 10 then obviously the gini coefficient will go up but the wealth brought in obviously will percolate down. One of the obvious reasons for our poor gini coefficient is the fact that 11% OF POPULATION consists of millionaires the highest in the world.
    Thus the skewed figures would obviously show a higher income gap. If we had as few millionaires as say the US proportionately our GINI coefficient would certainly improve but eh bottom 20-30% would not be better off financially tho pychologically they might feel better because of the inherent human propensity for envy.

    • 5 yawningbread 7 July 2013 at 11:31

      > but the wealth brought in obviously will percolate down.

      Only if one still holds the trickle-down theory with religious reverence.

      • 6 Saycheese 7 July 2013 at 14:08

        At least the very poor will have the consolation that there are now more drink cans and cardboards to scavenge with the presence of the additional 10 billionaires.

      • 7 Anon f39G 7 July 2013 at 14:20

        Loads of rectoric. You have no idea what it takes to make this system works the way it does for so long given the many things a small country cannot control. Including unappreciative citizens. And I suspect GDP is the last thing keeping our leadership awake at night.

    • 8 Tan Ku Ku 7 July 2013 at 14:03

      I live in a community of millionaires. The first impact was that the level of my living expenses quickly went up to match that of the community as their spending power and habits percolate down. As for salary, I am waiting for the impact to percolate down. Wha to do? It happened. Let’s move on.

      If Lee Kuan Ywe and his team of old guards were to build Singapore by attracting millionnaires and hoping for wealth to percolate down, we would all be enjoying our expensive graves now instead of later.

    • 9 MaxChew 7 July 2013 at 17:45

      We don’t need the 10 or 100 tax-avoiding billionaires to settle here, unless they agree to donate first 1% of their wealth to the Poor Fund. There is not much they can consume which can boost the economy. They can only eat, drink, wear and be entertained so much. They only help to fuel the red-hot property market. The wages of our lower 20-30% cannot move up because our Govt brings in foreign workers to depress the wages. Now the wages of our PMETs are also affected with hordes of foreign PMETs coming in.

    • 10 JL 7 July 2013 at 23:33

      So u r one of those who is so very proud that we have so many millionaires. Are u one of those? Is your wealth percolating down? Do u hv 6 meals a day instead of 3? And where do you spend your money? In hawker centre, food court or restaurant? Each of these answers make up the grand total credence to your percolating down theory.

    • 11 Insomnia 8 July 2013 at 09:48

      The losses suffered by Temasek Holdings and GIC are enough to keep them awake

      • 12 Richard 9 July 2013 at 18:16

        ///The losses suffered by Temasek Holdings and GIC are enough to keep them awake///

        Err….they seem not the least bit affected, though.

    • 13 Duh 8 July 2013 at 12:03

      PAP’s rhetoric that the ultra rich’s presence will somehow ‘trickle down’ the financial benefits to Singaporeans is not necessarily true. The ultra rich is not limited to spending in Singapore – they are merely in Singapore to enjoy the low taxation. In terms of housing, they can buy bigger houses situated in more ‘liveable’ cities with established cultural heritage than Singapore and in better scenic settings. They can do their shopping in the fashion centres of Europe (e.g., Milan) and US (Fifth Ave) directly rather than buy them at distributors here. For example, Saverin, the cofounder of Facebook, took up PR in Singapore but has no intention to be a Singaporean. Commented before that he was looking at investments in CHINA. He obviously has no interests investing in Singapore.

      In short, these ultra rich individuals are not constrained to do their investment, purchases, and living here in Singapore. In fact, many do not.

  4. 14 Is PAP lucky? 6 July 2013 at 18:44

    But I think for politics, PAP got one thing right for them. And the most important one. That is, the strongest opposition admitted they are not even ready to be government! Most likely also not ready by 2016!

    But I don’t know whether this right thing is due to PAP’s actions on the opposition over the years or because PAP is just plain lucky to rule over a species called Sinkies. Or both?

    What do you think?

  5. 15 yuen 6 July 2013 at 18:45

    I believe you are lumping together three separate grievances:

    1. Has numerical economic growth made people better off? Your view, and many others’, appears to be no.

    2. Is recent economic slowdown an indication of poor government handling? Your view is apparently yes, but I wonder how much credit you were willing to give the PAP when growth was higher.

    3. Is the government managing political matters well? Your answer is obviously no, but your “silence-all-opposition rule” expression is out of date. The oppositions parties have been quite active, and Workers Party in particular enjoyed many successes.

    • 16 yawningbread 7 July 2013 at 11:29

      Re your (3), please look beneath the surface. In opposition-held wards, refusing to give equal status to an elected MP in relation to the People’s Association which controls use of many public amenities, refusing to permit more permanent MPs’ offices in housing blocks, are acts of silencing. Threats of defamation suits with a history of bankruptcy-inducing damages imposed by a judiciary with the same outlook as the executive are acts of silencing. Licensing websites and requiring “good-behaviour” bonds are acts of silencing. Having Channel NewsAsia ban any reporter from quoting Alex Au (yes, I have been told that’s why reporters can’t interview me because any quote they get they can’t use) is an act of silencing.

      Need more examples?

      • 17 yuen 7 July 2013 at 12:11

        -attempting to silence- is not the same as -silencing-; in today’s situation, the rate of success is rather low

      • 18 yawningbread 7 July 2013 at 17:26

        Ditto, we shouldn’t be in any uproar that Ahmad, Murugasan and Tan Ah Kow have been attempting to rob banks, so long as their rate of success is low?

      • 19 yuen 7 July 2013 at 18:48

        whether people want to have an uproar is up to them, but there is a difference between -attempting to rob- and -robbing-

      • 20 Sze-Yang 24 August 2013 at 02:45

        “whether people want to have an uproar is up to them, but there is a difference between -attempting to rob- and -robbing-”

        So? That an uproar is only in order if the bank robbery was a success? By your argument we are obliged to conclude that the government is managing political matters well because they are merely attempting to silence and not actually silencing?

  6. 21 Defamed 6 July 2013 at 18:57

    Tramping up defamation charges against opposition politicians is definitely incorrect politics.

  7. 22 Tom 6 July 2013 at 19:20

    Excellent points. You forgot to mention his nonsense about bringing 10 more billionaires to help economy.

  8. 23 Duh 6 July 2013 at 22:31

    Apparently, LHL conveniently left out the data that our wages have had negative growth in the last couple of years and fall drastically behind all our Asian neighbours as pointed out by Leong Sze Hian (http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2013/07/our-obsessive-obsession-with-the-right-things/). This phenomenon perhaps lends some truth in the GDP being inflated by the massive import of cheap labour while stagnating wages in Singapore.

    The MPs salaries, on the other hand, has increased many times over the years – no stagnation there.

  9. 24 Saycheese 7 July 2013 at 05:05

    In a true democracy, what do you call the ‘right’ politics where you spend your time to fix the opposition and buy your supporters’ votes?

  10. 25 Lotus 7 July 2013 at 08:52

    In one statement : SELF Praise Is A Fools Way of Glory.

  11. 26 sorrowful soros 7 July 2013 at 09:52

    What he means is that Singaporeans must recognise the resident power in singapore is the US of A. The Minister of Defense himself said so and it has been so since LKY came to power. The economic policies that follow is nothing but for singapore to provide cheap labour with NO industrial action. That is the promise LKY made to the US in order for them to invest in singapore. If you see the history of investment in Singapore this is exactly what happened. So Singaporeans must accept that the days of cheap labour is here to stay,coupled with no industrial action.And ultimately Singaporeans must recognise the power in Singapore is the US, not the PAP, LKY or anybody else.

    • 27 Defamed 7 July 2013 at 19:08

      Don’t blame the foreign powers or foreigners. The reason for harsh clamp down on labor action is rooted in the 1950s where a bunch of Singapore politicians took advantage of labor unrest to launch their political careers.

  12. 28 MaxChew 7 July 2013 at 10:27

    If the Gini is too high as in Russia and China before the Communists took over, it will lead to social unrest. The wealth of a country should be more equitably shared. A high Gini is a sign of an exploitative political and economic system. Those in power make use of their monopolistic position to prevent others from participating in the political process. They enact repressive laws to keep themselves in power like the Tzars of Russia. The PAP Govt also monopolize the significant sectors of economy like Defence,port and security industries. Our Govt is very rich with trillions in the reserves.

  13. 30 Jamie 7 July 2013 at 13:32

    I can think of another time where the Gini coefficient was high: France under King Louis XVI. We all know what happened after the French Revolution broke out.

    Those plutocrats and toadies of the PAP government had better not get too cocky. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

  14. 31 siowahlau 7 July 2013 at 20:05

    the tipping point is when the mad old man joins his mate in heaven

  15. 33 Rabbit 8 July 2013 at 00:56

    In my opinion, this govt has not delivered its decade of promises. Where is the graceful golden years supposed to be enjoyed by our old folks. Where is our cheap affordable housing, comfortable and efficient transport systems? Where is our cheap healthcare after paying hefty premiums. Where have all our CPF funds gone to during old age, not that we do not have money in there. What have our “labour” union concretely contributed to our workers other than operating like a giant employers for profit all these decades? Than, the meaning of citizen equability is another load of crap as long as S377A remains and ACG treated Lynn Lee unfairly from PM/Shanmugam when the latter were also making comments on on-going court cases.

    It is not the uncertain world we should be worried about, but the uncertainty of waking next day, to hear puzzling policies to be implemented without consulting Singaporeans. When policies screwed up and people have suffered as a result, the govt apologized and admitted it has no foresight. As such, how could he hold his head high and publicly claimed he is still “politics right” after all the messiness that have happened to this country.

    There are tones of reasons why this govt has failed the people terribly and thus resort to boring PR to restore its damaged image. Adding insult to injury is PM’s empty talk about working with opposition parties in a less competing mode, and in this regard I would have believed in Low Thia Kiang more than Lee Hsien Loong as the former has a more humble personality and the latter ought to be diluted of his years of arrogance come GE2016

    Thanks for opening my eyes to see what our propagandist msm machine has written, again to brain wash weak and unthinking minds.

    • 34 Hare 8 July 2013 at 09:55

      Moving ahead, staying together. Something to keep the leadership awake now given PM Lee’s obsession with attracting billionaires and building expensive playgrounds for them. How to fix the dissent by heartlanders?

  16. 35 Chanel 8 July 2013 at 13:10

    I suspect the DBS CEO was sort of atoning for his bank’s failure to hire its fair share of S’poreans (as alluded to by the finance minster a few weeks ago) by inviting the PM to the Dialogue as key speaker.

    PM Lee boasted that there is only one Marine Bay in the world, but like Alex said, this statement is meaningless. Which country in the world wants to a Marina Bay on their land? Why didn’t the PM Lee say that there is only one Tampines in the world? How about one Marine Parade in the world? This is likely to be a Freudian Slip by the PM.

  17. 36 annonyed 8 July 2013 at 13:54

    Hilarious. First Alex Au decries that GDP is an obesssion that should be gunned down. We need to slow down and get less foreigners in, he wails. Then now he says screw this, GDP is down, so its PAP’s fault.

    Hi, get your narrative right.

    Which is it: Should GDP be high or should it be low? What’s good and what’s not?

  18. 37 Val 8 July 2013 at 14:19

    Billionaires are not job creators, nor do the wealth trickle down as many have said. This TED talk illustrates just that.

  19. 38 Tommy 8 July 2013 at 15:13

    “There’s only one Marina Bay in the world,”

    And who can forget that $400,000 of taxpayer money is spent on renaming Marina Bay as simply “Marina Bay” , and with zero accountability of wasted money, and that is not even funny. Talking about shooting his own foot by mentioning Marina Bay.

    Singapore spends $400,000 to rename Marina Bay… Marina Bay
    http://www.singapore-window.org/sw05/050722af.htm

  20. 39 Alan 8 July 2013 at 17:55

    Maybe what he means is that AS FAR AS HE IS CONCERNED, he has got his economics and politics right ?

    How can his economics not be right when he is paid several times more than the US President ? How can his politics not be right when there is probably no political heir or challenger in sight to take him full on for the next couple of elections ?

    Just my personal 2 cents worth of opinion on him.

  21. 40 JG 8 July 2013 at 21:07

    To me, PM Lee is the gift that keeps on giving.

    There’s a certain “out of touch”-ness about him. He’s not just uninspirational in the things he say – more often than not, it provokes the opposite reaction in me, ie. causing me to raise my eyebrows and wonder where he’s coming from, and which world he’s living in.

    He seems to genuinely think that if only he’d ordered a couple more trains, 2011’s routing will not have happened. Really? That simple?

    In today’s papers, he exhorts Sgp youth to help fellow citizens. Does anyone find what he says inspirational? Or more of the same. The problem is that when you demand that you be paid millions, and the Govt generates so much surplus year after year and gives so little in safety net to its citizens, and tend to treat visitors better than citizens … its easy to say to look out for your fellow citizens, but you just lack the moral authority.

    He seems to live in his own bubble. And everytime he opens his mouth, it shows.

  22. 41 Mike 8 July 2013 at 22:19

    Hi Alex,

    actually the singapore govt has been practising population ponzi. Here’s a link to a bloomberg article which explains in detail.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-14/ponzi-schemes-built-on-people-always-crash-too.html

  23. 42 yawningbread 9 July 2013 at 10:53

    Here’s an article from the South China Morning Post. This is normally behind a paywall,so I am not sure if just providing a link will work.

    —-

    SCMP, 9 July 2013

    Singapore’s open door to billionaires shuts out logic
    Brigadier general calls the shots but his top brass will struggle with his wonky economics

    Jake van der Kamp

    “Indeed, if he [Lee Hsien Loong] could persuade another 10 billionaires to move to Singapore, he would, even if that led to higher income inequality “because they will bring business, they will bring opportunities, they will open new doors, they will create new jobs”.

    — Straits Times interview, July 6

    Brigadier general Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore army, ret.) may appear to some observers as being on a mission since being elected Prime Minister of Singapore.

    Mission: Raise Singapore’s gross domestic product per capita to the highest level to be seen anywhere within 10,000 miles. That’ll learn ’em who has the right way of running things.

    Plan of Attack: GDP per capita means money. Billionaires have money. Thus bring billionaires in. You have your orders, men. Zero-hour is now! Dismissed!

    If only it were as simple as it is in the army.

    But let’s go through the story of the foreign billionaire (we shall assume that the brigadier general means US dollar billionaire) who has been attracted to park his money in the city state.

    Our man cannot do anything directly with his billions in Singapore. The problem is that in Singapore one must pay for things with Singapore dollars and he has only US dollars.

    But this is no big problem. Off to one of the big Singapore banks he goes and for starters gives it US$1 million, for which the bank in turn gives him S$1.25 million that he puts back on deposit with the bank.

    He can now spend in Singapore to his heart’s delight.

    Notice, however, that this transaction has not increased the stock of Singapore dollars.

    A Singapore bank now has a S$1.25 million liability to a foreign client whereas it previously had that S$1.25 million liability to a resident client. The money changed hands but did not grow in the process.

    What we have here is a brigadier general who suffers from a very common misunderstanding of the workings of the balance of payments.

    International money transfers do not increase the stock of money. If they did so we would be able to double the world’s wealth overnight.

    Everyone would be matched with a foreigner of equal wealth and each pair would swap wealth.

    Do it again and we would triple the world’s wealth. How convenient. I would very much like that kind of economics.

    And, because the stock of money does not rise, the amount of business the money brings also does not necessarily rise.

    Business is created when people spend money.

    They may indeed spend more when a foreigner comes in, being encouraged by this sign of confidence in Singapore’s economy.

    Then again, they may spend less if they think the confidence is misplaced.

    Either way, the fact that a foreigner has swapped US dollars for Singapore dollars does not have to mean there is more business in Singapore.

    Ditto jobs. They are created, like business, when people spend money.

    It makes little difference that the foreign holder of Singapore dollars may spend his money in different sectors of the economy than the previous resident holder of that money would do. It may create jobs in different sectors but is unlikely to affect the overall number of jobs.

    With a Singapore unemployment rate of less than 2 per cent, which is probably as low as the figure can get, you have to wonder why the brigadier general is worried about jobs anyway.

    And it surprises me that he thinks his people need foreign input in order to find opportunities and open doors. I was not aware that they are so deficient in initiative as not to be able to do it themselves.

    But here is the truth of the matter.

    Singapore’s economy, like Hong Kong’s, thrives because it is a parasite on neighbouring economies, doing what they do not want to do or, for various reasons of administrative incompetence, cannot yet do.

    Singapore doesn’t need immigrant billionaires. It feeds on them quite well outside its borders.

    • 43 Chanel 9 July 2013 at 11:42

      Of course the PM wants more billionaires to come to S’pore. His salary is pegged to the top private sector earners!!

      Billionaires and millionaires are attracted to S’pore because of our low taxes, not because they want to set up businesses that hire S’poreans. The Eduardo Saverins, Nathan Tinklers and Georgina Reinharts of the world aren’t here to create jobs. They are here because we are essentially a tax haven. We are high up on the list of potential tax havens maintained by Germany and the US.

      One wonders why the estate duty, which is a powerful wealth distribution mechanism, was hastily abolished in S’pore back in 2008.

  24. 44 KAM 9 July 2013 at 13:57

    Our ancestors were a herd of work horses and they willingly worked hard and long hours and produced the next herd of young and “clever” horses. The chief herder had a good run with the old workhorses. Now the son of the herder wants the new generation of horses to work doubly hard and run faster than any other horses in the world.

    It all looks ok, until you see that all the horses did was not to fulfill their mission in life as a horse, but as a trophy enjoyed only by the son of the herder. He can boast to the rest of the herders in the world that his horses are the fastest, bestest, etc. He even imported new wild horses to make up the numbers in his stable. These wild horses created undue unrest amongst the local horses with their alien habits.

    And now many horses are over stretched, burned out. What does he do? He raised the bar because he has new wild horses and he does not need the old nor local horses.

    The stable by millions of old horses is now belonging only to him and his family anyway. Does he need to care? Just show show a bit on TV. Do you think he really cares about you? If you are an old horse or a local horse, if you die, please pay with your own medishield.

  25. 45 Rabbit 10 July 2013 at 00:15

    Like someone above has posted, his speech is un-inspirational and I may add very predictable. The same mantra has been repeated so many years on many occassions, big and small. I am certain, the same-old tune is going to trumpet again on National day rally, like someone polishing a rusty metal for years and the rust get worse and not better. One year on, two years, three years and so-forth after so many previous National Day Rallies, what has changed? Has PAP changed, reinvented and transformed for the betterment of the people. Are we getting any better than all the previous years of PAP’s loud slogan? You guys be the judge.

  26. 46 woontienwei 21 July 2013 at 00:25

    Maybe he warning his party too. They may not be right.

    Yacob also want to get the right news.


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