Although the PAP has never been financially self reliant, it expects citizens to be self reliant. With the monopoly of power, PAP mandated Singaporeans’ retirement funds to be used for constructing infrastructures and converts hundreds of billions into reserves. But when it comes to helping citizens, a policy of self reliance is imposed on us.
PAP has somehow forgotten that Singapore’s success is largely due to Singaporeans’ financial contributions to Temasek Holdings and GIC.
The confirmation came from the Minister for Labour and Communications in 1982: (from Roy’s article)
Without the use of OUR CPF, HDB wouldn’t be where it is today. Neither would all the GLCs (SIA, DBS, Singtel, etc) and Temasek would also not be listed as the 10th largest SWF.
Without the initial success through the use of OUR CPF, more foreign companies would not have invested in Singapore. Success breeds success.
Temasek’s portfolio is currently valued at $223 billion, a phenomenal increase from about only $400 million at inception. But Singapore has also become the world’s most expensive city. While real wages at the lower end have stagnated or even decreased for years, citizens have been constantly told by the government that we need to save an ever-increasing amount for a rainy day.
The lack of government support has led to families struggling to make ends meet, the highest percentage of elderly citizens doing menial work, charities forced to concentrate on fund raising with little help from the government, etc. That rainy day is here.
Instead of helping citizens, Temasek has continued to accumulate billions for investments. So what is Temasek’s real objective? Increase our reserves to $500 billion? Or $1 trillion? The PAP government has abdicated its responsibility by accumulating billion$ every year for the sole purpose of investment when vulnerable groups of citizens are left to fend for themselves.
GIC manages about $400 billion in reserves of which $260 billion (65%) of CPF monies are not really reserves. However, the actual returns from GIC have never been paid directly to CPF members. Under the Net Investment Returns framework, the PAP uses up to 50% of the long term expected real return of GIC for budgetary spending.
This is a strange arrangement because no country has ever used the returns from citizens’ retirement savings to supplement the government budget.
PAP should cease relying on OUR CPF as government reserves.
Singapore’s success initially relied on OUR CPF, through Temasek, to fund public housing and other necessary infrastructures. Till today, the government is still relying on our CPF returns from GIC to supplement its budget. Temasek and GIC do not have to be self reliant but have ready access to an unending stream of citizens’ money and tax dollars.
To put it in another way, the PAP government is able to take away citizens’ money through legislation whenever money is needed. But when citizens require financial assistance, we are told to be self reliant and exhaust all resources, sometimes close to a situation of bankruptcy, before help is rendered. Isn’t such a government morally bankrupt?