03 April 2007

$360 per year vs $1,000,000 per year

Public Assistance has gone up--hooray! But by a measly, measly $30 per month, which works out to $360 per year. That's $1 per day, which honestly doesn't buy you very much, especially with the impending GST hike (which hurts the poor the most, no?).

MP Lily Neo is pushing for $400 a month, a significant increase from our current $260 per month, which I totally support. Afterall, isn't our 2% increase in GST supposed to go into expenses like these, towards the poor and the destitute? I'm sure the amount collected from the increased GST is more than enough to finance that increase on top of the other schemes that are going to come into place to help the poor.

Speaking of increased payouts, the Ministerial salaries are facing a $1M upward revision. $1M can finance 3445 people on Public Assistance for a month if they receive $290 per month. Wow. That's a lot of poor people to help, isn't it??

It's rather beyond me why ministers can be convinced to give themselves a monthly pay increment of $83,333.33 per month while quibble and be hardfisted about giving the very-poor $400 a month and just give a token $30 increment instead. They have just given themselves a 75% pay rise! Who gets a 75% pay rise so easily?? O_o Surely not the poor! (for whom the GST has risen. But methinks that the 2% doth raise more cash than is being given thus far. Wherefore art the remaining moolah?)

The argument is that Public Assistance shouldn't be so generous such that people become lazy and rely on dole to survive rather than find a job. However, working in the social service industry opens your eyes to some of the difficulties that these poor people face. Some of them face health problems that make it difficult for them to find jobs (e.g., blind, or have lost their limbs to diseases etc...). There is this family I met where the mother is the only one able to take care of her bed-ridden son who met with a serious accident in his twenties, and her husband had just passed away. How about this old man whose back is bent at 90degrees, working as a karang guni to eke out a meagre income to support his wife and his daughter--both of whom are mentally ill? Then there is the host of elderly who are living alone, without the support of their children and they rely on social service centres to provide them with their meals.

$290 a month for them. $400 is overly generous. Isn't it?



Singing Tigger said...

just can't resist a non-singaporean view to be posted... hee.. :P

not to justify and agree with the 75% increase for the ministers but only thinking... not everybody is noble or selfless, willing to give without much pay in return. maybe only in utopia or heaven. thus... pay increase to keep them in their jobs because these people are supposedly highly qualified? or else they can always leave their posts and work in a non-govn job, which they might receive even higher earnings?

just my thoughts and irritation with corruptions in developing countries because their civil servants don't get enough pay...

Quirkz said...


yeah i understand that in s'pore we tend to take things for granted and we don't experience the frustrations of a corrupt government.. it's just that to me, a 75% increment is still quite mind-boggling O_O

i guess it's also the timing of announcements? first there's the GST hike--5% to 7%. Then the minister's salary is going by 75%. Then Public Assistance will go up from $269 to $290, and not the proposed $400. So the main thing I'm irritated about is that why are they quibbling about giving higher hand-outs ($290 instead of $400) when the total cost of these hand-outs is just a fraction of their increment.. like, if you want to be generous with yourselves, fine, how being a bit more generous with the poor too? especially after the cost of living has gone up... so that's how i feel =)

Singing Tigger said...

i see your points.

sigh... must pray for justice and righteousness from the Lord for the governments in the world...

Singing Tigger said...

thanks for the enlightenment and discussion. :D