Photo of Josephine Teo from Straits Times

In an opinion article by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo yesterday (Nov 6), the millionaire minister boasted that 40% of Singaporeans’ salaries are paid for by her ruling party PAP government. Minister Josephine Teo even claimed that the government paid S$5.5 billion over ten years to pay Singaporeans wages:

“Over the past decade, about 830,000 Singaporeans have benefited from the $5.5 billion disbursed. It is a permanent feature of our social security system, topping up salaries of low-wage workers and helping them save for retirement… Together, Workfare and SEC* could add up to an extra 40 per cent to the worker’s monthly income.”

*SEC stands for Special Employment Credit, a government scheme that subsidises employers’ overhead costs on manpower spending

While the Minister’s actual figure cannot be accounted for, the amount spent has been proven ineffective as Singapore continue to be one of the world’s most unequal societies, with a GINI coefficient of 0.459. Low income workers continue to earn as low as S$5 an hour in the world’s most expensive city.

The propaganda fake news published on state media Straits Times also saw Minister Josephine Teo making a baseless claim saying that all economists in the world agree with the PAP government’s Workfare policy:

“Why did Singapore introduce Workfare instead of a minimum wage? Workfare reflects Singapore’s approach to go beyond the debate over minimum wage – one which many economists still cannot agree on after many years – to find a solution that works for our society.”

The PAP minister was however quick to point out that 60% of the Workfare payment goes into the corrupted CPF retirement scheme, where over 47% of Singaporeans aged 55 and above are unable to meet the ever growing Minimum Sum.

Minister Josephine Teo also revealed that the Singapore government copied the idea of Workfare from an America’s employment policy, where low income workers get more tax credits the more they work.

The corrupted PAP Minister who draws S$1.1 million of salaries every year then started attacking the Minimum Wage, blatantly lying that the scheme adopted by other countries does not reward productivity, skills or promotions:

“How is PWM different from a minimum wage? First, it is a ladder, not a floor, and every worker has the chance to earn more through better skills, a larger job or higher productivity. Second, its takes into account sectoral differences and is not one-size-fits-all. Third, and perhaps most important of all, PWM offers a way of uplifting pay which both employers and employees can accept.”

Minister Josephine Teo then gave an example of a landscape maintenance worker seeing income growth exceeding the median income growth between 2011 and 2016:

“Over 70,000 workers have benefited from mandatory implementation of PWM in the security, cleaning and landscaping sectors. Workers in these sectors have seen higher real wage growth than those at the median. Between 2011 and 2016, the real median gross wages of full-time resident cleaners, security guards and landscape maintenance workers increased by 5.7 per cent, 6.4 per cent and 3 per cent per year respectively, exceeding resident median income growth of 2.3 per cent per year.”

This is however essentially fake news as a landscape maintenance worker in Singapore earns only S$1,300 a month, as compared to S$5,000 on average in Australia. When a Singapore landscaper see a 3% wage growth, the nominal amount at S$39 a month, is only 0.78% increase in Australia’s income.

The PAP Minister continued to lie about “uplifting wages” of low income workers through Workfare and existing government policies. Nothing substantial was announced by the airhead PAP Minister.