Perhaps the party that is most enthusiastic with dishing out policy proposals is the Singapore Democratic Party. They have put together magnificent papers with ideas that promise to change Singaporean lives.
But what are these policies and why do we think it wouldn’t work? Let’s have a look.
Arguments for and against minimum wage is tired and exhausted. It is also wrong to say that Singapore doesn’t have minimum wage. The Progressive Wage Model is a better variant of the minimum wage and it also includes a base wage to help low waged workers in concerned industries.
A blanket minimum wage had proven to shrink job growth and slow down pay rises for the rest of the population.
Cutting Defence spending
The SDP has said that it intends to cut $5.75 billion from our current defence spending. In 2012 they even wanted to increase NSmen pay to $1200.
$5.75 billion is at least 40% of our current defence budget.
Given the global climate of terror and even actual acts carried out in the region, this cut of defence spending is a folly. If anything, the country is forced to increase the spending to better protect its citizens.
Non-open market public housing
What Chee and the SDP wants is to have townships with houses that are not for open market trading. You buy at one price, you will sell at that price. This is precisely the model that countries all over the world has. The problem is, these places become slums and are very poorly maintained. If people do not own a property, they won’t take care of the property. They have little motivation to work to upkeep and upgrade that property.
Secondly, with property value that increases beyond the rate of inflation, owners can have a source of emergency funds to turn to should they really need it.
Make GIC transparent
The GIC manages a lot of money. Enough money to cause currency markets and the Singapore dollar to move up and down. Revealing the precise figure we hold makes us an open target to currency speculation attacks. Moreover, it is quite foolish to transparently tell the entire world how much capital the country holds because finance is also related to military defence.
Abolish Minimum Sum scheme
Studies have shown that humans are not able to manage a sudden windfall. Imagine that you’ve accumulated hundreds and thousands of dollars over the decades and you suddenly are in ownership of this gigantic amount of money. Perhaps you may think you’re in control, but studies and real life lottery winners have proven to become worse off because of poor financial management. They become victims to cheats, scams and offer loans to “friends” that are never returned.
And anyway, the Minimum Sum had been updated and renamed to “Basic Sum”, “Full Sum” and “Enhanced Sum” – 3 schemes of which you can chose from. You can find out more here at the CPF site.
Whilst these are policies with good intentions, Chee Soon Juan and the SDP must know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
In an enthusiastic bid to be better than the existing policy makers, Chee must be wary of making promises that he knows is not sustainable, dangerous and make for a worse-off Singapore.
The lives of 5 million Singaporeans are worth more than one man’s political ambition.