Photo of Major General Chan Chun Sing

In his maiden National Day Message as the NTUC Chief, Minister-without-portfolio Chan Chun Sing praised the tripartite economic model of Singapore as the best for Singapore workers. To prove his point, Minister Chan Chun Sing even denounced other countries’ economic models saying their labour laws and economic policies are driven by “short-term political considerations” instead of the consideration of “long-term interests” like his ruling PAP Government does. The following is an excerpt from the state-controlled media, CNA:

“Citing overseas examples, Mr Chan said many unionists could not build up a strong tripartite culture because of the lack of trust and continuity in government and policies.

He added that many of those policies were also driven by “short-term political considerations”,  rather than the “long-term interests” of the workers.

“In some countries, companies would actively avoid working with unions. Ultimately, it is the workers that suffer, as the economy stagnates and the number of quality, available jobs decline,” Mr Chan said…

But here in Singapore, the Labour Chief said a different approach is taken.

Mr Chan said the Labour Movement understands that the best way to address workers’ interests is to build and sustain a successful economy, together with the steady creation of good jobs and good pay, and that is achieved through the strong collaboration between the union, the private and public sectors.”

Photo of Major General Chan Chun Sing
Photo of Major General Chan Chun Sing

Former Major General and current Minister Chan Chun Sing is apparently unaware how Singapore’s utopia-like economic model, tripartism, have created the longest working hours for Singaporeans, highest income inequality, falling productivity and low birth rate.

Even if tripartism is a good economic model, Singapore’s economic model is often criticised by the public as nearer to nepotism and corruption between the state, union and corporation. There is only one government-approved union which is the NTUC, and the NTUC Chief is a Minister of State in the Government. Corporations in Singapore, like Singtel, SMRT, SBS, Starhub, M1, Keppel, SIA, SPower, Capitaland, are usually monopolies owned by the two government sovereign wealth fund companies, Temasek Holdings and GIC. Even the chairman of GIC is Prime Minister and his wife is the CEO of Temasek Holdings.

There is no distinct separation between the government, corporation and union. Singapore rank top 5 in crony capitalism index in 2014 according to The Economist.