20140421 Since politicians’ ‘sacrifice’ pegged to market rate, NS allowance should increase to $1500

The PAP prides itself on having the best and brightest in government. But despite dismal performance year after year, politicians insist they must be paid top dollars for their ‘sacrifice’. As for everyone else, it is slave/non living wages. Doesn’t matter to them if it’s double standard.

Despite the present political/economic landscape being a far cry from more than 4 decades ago when conscription was introduced, Singaporean youths continue to be conscripted and serve between 22 to 24 months. On average, they are paid an NS allowance of about $600 per month for their sacrifice. Is this fair?

Since the PAP has always treated citizens as economic digits, it should be consistent in its approach. As an economic digit, a conscript could easily earn a monthly salary of between $1,500 to $2,000.

Regardless of one’s educational qualification, only an insignificant fraction of the true economic value has been factored into the NS allowance.

Questions to ask:
– Why is the NS allowance comparable to the salaries of lowest paid workers in the cleaning industry?
– If Singapore is really a wealthy country, why is the government giving conscripts peanuts allowance. Or is Singapore just a country for the wealthy?

It seems likely the PAP has factored in productivity. Since a lot of time during the 2 year stint is spent waiting and waiting, productivity is therefore low and a miserable allowance is justified. The PAP could improve productivity and maybe enable NS to be completed within 6 months but there is no incentive to do so since NS is cheap labour.

Over a period of 24 months, the economic loss of a conscript is at least a staggering $20,000. ($1500 – $600 = 900 X 24 months) But this is nothing compared to the opportunity cost of starting work 2 years later. The government’s policy of allowing immigrants to compete with locals for jobs after ORD makes it all the more tougher for our youths.

Truth be said, the army does not exist solely to defend Singapore but also to serve PAP’s political objectives. It has already been argued in “NS conscription to justify remuneration/number of ‘paper generals”.

The government must increase the allowance of an NSF to $1,500 to reflect the true cost of Singaporeans’ sacrifice. The government cannot pay peanuts because our conscripts are not defending a peanuts GDP.

As a wealth country, the state should bear the burden if it insists on conscription. The gradual introduction of a professional army with conscripts serving half a year and playing a supporting role is likely to be a win win situation for Singapore.

Even by increasing the NS allowance to $1,500, there will still be an element of sacrifice.

Eternally grateful to SAF for recognising my sacrifices with $80 worth of vouchers.

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