According to the latest public assistance statistics by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), the number of families dependent on long-term financial aid has jumped by 24% in four years. In 2013, only 3,568 families were on public assistance, but the figure jumped to 4,409 in the financial year of 2017.
Due to depressed CPF return rates of 2.5% and the absence of a Minimum Wage to protect low wage workers, Singaporean elderly are the hardest hit in recent years. An elderly cleaner is paid about S$5 an hour in the world’s most expensive city.
The sharp rise in poverty comes not a surprise given the relentless increase in cost of living over the years. In the year of 2017-2018 alone, essential public services like utility prices, food and transport fares rose by double digits. The cost of living was artificially inflated by government taxes, as the Singapore government scrambled to find tax revenue. The Singapore dictatorship under Lee Hsien Loong is piling up on debt from his profligate spending in lucrative billion-dollar projects like Garden By the Bay and Project Jewel.
Singaporeans’ abject poverty however is not reflected on the ministerial salaries. Each PAP Minister is paid S$1.1 million a year, excluding additional bonuses based off poorly-termed performance indicators. The dictator Prime Minister pays himself S$2.2 million-a-year salary, and draw an undisclosed salary from his Chairman position in sovereign wealth fund company GIC.