Speaking to state media reporters from Straits Times, PAP MP Lee Bee Wah poured praises for her ruling party saying that Singaporeans are “very fortunate” to have them as leaders. The comments were given on the aftermath of the watershed Malaysian election which saw the Malaysian ruling party ended it’s 60 years rule.
The ex-Malaysian PAP MP claimed that the Singapore government may be unpopular but they have “good policies”. There was no explanation which policy did she find particularly “good”:
“Singapore’s leaders have put good policies in place, but these still need fine-tuning. In Singapore, we are very fortunate to have leaders with heart and sometimes they come up with policies that are not popular, but they know that it is good for our country in the long term. They bite the bullet and still carry out the policies – that is something that I really respect.”
When asked about Singapore’s rising inequality, MP Lee Bee Wah said that giving the poor money is not a solution and claimed that the government is now “equipping them with skills” to bring down inequality:
“On inequality, it should be tackled on the education front. Because it’s not the amount of money that we give to help them. We should be equipping them with the necessary skills.”
The PAP MP also called for Singaporeans to make more donations and volunteer more time for the poor, instead of only relying for the government to help the poor:
“I hope Singapore to become a more gracious society. One thing I really wish to see is more of giving back to society, rather than just asking, ‘What do I get out of all this?”
Singapore has one of the world’s highest inequality, with a GINI coefficient of 0.459. When compared to OECD nations, Singapore is worse than 3rd-place United States and only second to Mexico.
Despite stratifying income inequality, the Singapore government in the recent Budget raised numerous taxes to burden the commoner majority including the GST. Bread-and-butter taxes like water prices, electricity and gas tariffs, parking charges, and cross-border tariffs were also increased, raising the cost of food in neighbourhood food centres and supermarket’s groceries. On the other hand, the rich was given a lucrative 40% tax cut and business subsidies totalling S$2.27 billion.
In 2017, the Ministry of Social and Family Affairs published a statistic revealing a 43.45% increase in poverty for Singaporeans over 3 years.