Photo of Lee Hsien Loong with bus driver from Facebook

Singaporeans will not be having much of a celebration for the New Year, no thanks to the pathetic bonus the middle class and poor are getting for 2017.

According to a state media interview with the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME), Singapore workers in the private sector will likely receive an annual bonus as low as 0.5 month for 2017.

The pathetic 0.5 month bonus is only one-fifth of what the public sector’s 2.5 month bonus, and an eleventh fraction of 5.5 month bonus the Singapore Ministers are getting. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong alone will bag S$465,000, excluding his other bonus as Chairman of GIC.

Singapore Ministers are paid “National Bonus”, calculated off “social indicators” determined by the Public Service Division under the Prime Minister’s Office.

Screenshot from Public Service Division pdf

Below is an estimated calculation of how much bonus they are getting from taxpayers for 2017:

Real Median Income Growth Rate (2016): 2.6% -> 1 month bonus (100%)
Real Growth Rate of Lowest 20th Percentile Income (2016): 3.2% -> 1.5 month bonus (150%)
Unemployment rate of Singapore citizens (2017): 3.1% -> 2 month bonus (200%)
Real GDP Growth rate (2017) -> 3% -> 1 month bonus (100%)
Total: 5.5 month bonus

Singapore has one of the worst income inequality problem in the world, at a GINI coefficient of 0.458. At around 10% of the popuation, rich foreigners and the high income live in private property estates, while the remaining 90% rent from HDB public housing.

According to a demographic survey conducted by the government earlier this month, the survey found that Singapore’s rich and “elites” do not interact with the middle or poor. A key indicator of social class is the school one goes to, where neighbourhood schools for the masses are shabbily treated when compared to the elite schools of Raffles Institution and Anglo-Chinese High.

Class divides have resulted in political divisions, with most of the rich and high income middle class forming the major support base of the incumbent party PAP. The poorer population is however divided, with many depending on the ruling party for crumbs-like social support. The poor fear voting against the ruling party as they believe they will be denied government assistance, since the Prime Minister controls the Election Department. Fortunately, as the population gets poorer, more Singaporeans are coming out to oppose the dictatorship after realising that they have nothing more to lose.