When addressing his speech on income inequality, Minister Masagos Zulkifli claimed that Singaporeans should donate more money because they have “become very wealthy in record time”:
“Does the new generation of Singaporeans who became very wealthy in record time in new areas such as tech would have the same spirit of giving back to society as Singapore’s pioneers? Whether the outcome of our meritocracy is the accumulation of wealth or authority, it will only function morally when those who are rewarded find ways to benefit others and help others succeed too. This is how we can narrow our social distance, even as we improve the GINI coefficient.”
Another PAP MP echoed the Minister, calling for more volunteers. PAP MP Henry Kwek said volunteerism and “friendship” would bring down income inequality:
“Singapore should make SG Cares, a national movement to support the efforts in building a more caring and inclusive society, a focus, he said. This would make volunteerism a defining aspect of what it means to be Singaporean. Singaporean youths should also be encouraged to forge friendships across social divides through programmes organised by the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.”
Singapore is currently one of the most unequal societies in the world, with a GINI coefficient of 0.458, higher than US and all OECD nations except Mexico.
Minister Masagos then poured praises for his government on the handling of income inequality by repeating Lee Hsien Loong’s speech:
“In building its brand of meritocracy, Singapore must ensure that nobody is left behind and the Government must have policies that provide a fair chance for everyone to move up in society – not just across families or jobs, but also over time. The Government must therefore not allow meritocracy to reward narrowly, and instead broaden and make alternative routes available. Policies must enable self-reliance by providing Singaporeans with the opportunity to work, do well for themselves and their families…”