20131102 Seah Kian Peng’s half truths on pawn shop increase

CNA’s article link stated the number of pawn shops in Singapore has increased from 114 in 2008 to 200 in 2012.

Credit Counselling Singapore attributed the demand for pawn shops to more favourable interest rates as compared to legal money lenders. This is a half truth.

PAP MP Seah Kian Peng “expressed concern” over the increase in number of pawn shops. He went a step further and blamed Singaporeans for being poor in “financial management, financial planning and financial literacy”.

Seah Kian Peng appears to be in the dark and clearly is not aware that the poverty rate of Singaporeans stands at about 25 per cent or close to half a million. Perhaps all his constituents are not within this category? Or maybe he has not been conducting any MPS for a long time?

Many Singaporeans are in financial hardship due to government policies. A person who is forced to pawn personal sentimental objects is usually driven to desperation. This could be due to loss of income, huge medical bills, stagnant low wage insufficient to feed the family, etc.

At the rate the PAP continues to roll out assistance schemes for Singaporeans, the number of pawn shops will likely increase to beyond 300 in four years time. Do the Swiss dispose of their personal belongings with so much convenience? On a per capita basis, we should be holding the Guinness world record.

Seah Kian Peng should not try to paint a picture of financially illiterate and ignorant citizens which has caused the pawn shop industry to boom. When an MP chooses to tell only half truths, his integrity is really questionable.

Phillip Ang

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