Photo of Lee Hsien Long by thestraitstimes

In a dialogue session with 3,500 Singapore Management University (SMU) students and audience on Tuesday (June 30), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that unlike people in Scandinavian nations, Singaporeans choose not to have work-life balance because “we are not like that”:

“The Scandinavians have a lot of kids, and they are content to have three-quarters of a career. They work hard but they don’t work 12 or 18 hours a day. They finish work at 3pm or 4pm, they fetch their kids from childcare, go home and spend time with them.

It’s a balance, it’s a different kind of society and we are not like that. These are choices that we have to make for ourselves.”

The callous remark made by the Prime Minister came after SMU chairman Ho Kwon Ping suggested that the Scandinavian countries had managed to achieve a higher fertility rate because of pro-family government measures and employer support.

Photo of Lee Hsien Long by thestraitstimes
Photo of Lee Hsien Long by thestraitstimes

Prime Minister Lee also criticized these nations saying “the Scandinavians have thrown the kitchen sink at the problem” and that if Singaporeans want to have such welfare, GST must be raised to 20%:

“…it was possible only if the country was willing to accept a higher goods and services tax of 20 per cent to fund the policies.”

The Prime Minister said that his government will “do more” to help Singaporeans marry, have babies and take care of their families, however, he did not specify how even though he raised his objections against becoming like the Scandinavians.

Do you think PM Lee Hsien Loong is just paying lips service?