Facing the diminishing number of local engineers, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for Singaporean engineers working overseas to return to the country. Speaking at the Institute of Engineers Singapore (IES) gala dinner, PM Lee said that students are not going into engineering studies because of “many choices available”.
PM Lee however did not know that engineering salaries in Singapore is not competitive as first world nations like Australia and US. A lift technician with 3 years’ experience command a salary equivalent to that of an entry-level banking position. Working hours in Singapore is the longest in the world at 2,389.4 hours in 2014. Engineers in Singapore often complain of low salaries and long working hours, and many switched to accounting and banking-related jobs in order to get higher salaries.
The IES dinner presented a list of “engineering achievements” in Singapore over the past 50 years. One such “success” is the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), a double taxation on road usage with similar purpose as road tax and COE tax. The government engineering accreditation organisation then award the Singapore government’s Land Transport Authority 11 awards for the “inventions” of MRT, ERP and Esplanade bridge. Other government stat boards were also awarded by IES, with PUB “winning” 5 awards.
Aside from having IES awarding the government, the dictator himself award his own Environment Minister Masagos Zulkifli an “Honorary Fellow” award and his government-appointed head of Rail Academy Professor Cham Tao Soon with “Lifetime Engineering Achievement” award.