Lee Hsien Loong at a loss of words

When covering about rising unemployment rate in his May Day message, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today (Apr 30) defended his government’s poor economic performance and direct Singaporeans to “other developed countries” as comparison:

“Other developed countries have unemployment rates of 5 per cent or higher. Our rate is currently lower at 2.2 per cent, but as our economy matures, I expect that to creep up.”

The Prime Minister has however stated a half-truth because developed countries like Australia have a S$19 minimum wage system and an independent labour Ombudsman to ensure workers’ rights. Singapore has no minimum wage, and some of its poor – mainly elderly past retirement age – earn as low as S$4 an hour as cleaners or security guards.

In addressing the worsening economy, PM Lee Hsien Loong advised Singaporeans should “work harder”:

“Singapore’s response should be to work hard to keep up our growth. We must also work harder to help workers stay employed, and find replacement jobs if they become unemployed.”

Read: Singapore has longest working hours in the world in 2016, again

PM Lee Hsien Loong then told a complete lie saying that “total employment is expanding”, when the latest Manpower Ministry report revealed a 8,500 job loss for the 1st quarter of 2017 – a 14-year-high.

Read: Ministry of Manpower: Job loss hit worst ever at 14-year-high

The son of Lee Kuan Yew then admitted that he has run out of ideas to grow the economy and tells Singaporeans to settle for 2-3% GDP growth:

“Singapore can no longer grow its economy at 5 to 7 per cent annually, but it can still achieve 2 to 3 per cent growth every year – by improving productivity. Two to three per cent is a good growth rate for our current stage of development. It will mean we can continue creating new jobs and improving our lives.”