Sunday, December 03, 2006

Well, it looks like the Singapore government has finally decided to provide some reasons for the GST hike (see Channel News Asia article).

I think it is a good idea and certainly worth trying (as usual, they've hidden away much of the implementation details). Social welfare has always suffered from the stigma of depriving citizens under social security from any need or incentive to work their way back into employment.

"Workfare" (I wonder if this is a new concept) appears to be headed in the right direction as a reasonable compromise, essentially saying "If you want help, you've gotta to be seen as seriously trying".

Of course, this is not a black-and-white case. In the US, as I understand it, in order to qualify for payouts, people need to be seen trying to seek employment with certified employment agencies. At the same time, consider this: If one has employment in Singapore but at the same time is unable to support one's family, is this a sign that Singapore's minimum wage is woefully low?

Well, I'm sure there's a lot of ground I've not covered (eg. just what is Singapore's minimum wage?) but then again, I'm a simple (and lazy) engineer. Just more random thoughts in this post ...


Anonymous said...

Glad to see that you've finally decided to move your lazy bum and update your blog ;-)

Workfare bonus or not, I am still not entirely convinced that the main reason for the GST hike is to cater for these measures. There are alternative ways to increase the government's revenue.

I believe that what most of us are yearning for is accountability. I hope the government will lay out plans as to how the additional revenue will be utilized in next year's budget. Guess we're all becoming rather skeptical especially after the NKF saga.

Chee Wai Lee said...

I agree. What really puzzles me is that "transparency", with the exception of certain security issues, is literally "for free". There is often no harm whatsoever in making sure people know what their contributions to the national coffers are doing.

I'll admit there are some touchy-feely situations with government investments, especially if they make a loss. Really, the issue then is to help Singaporeans see the big picture (that overall investments are positive).

Maybe the government or Singaporeans or both are simply not mature enough to handle some of these things. I don't know.

Teck Beng said...

Hmm, I thought I signed in but somehow my comments appeared as anonymous...
But I guess you know that it's me, Teck Beng ;-)

Your comment about the Singapore government being adverse towards "transparency" is probably inherited from our early nation building era.

However, with the increase in education level of the general populace as well as the recent proliferation of communication via the internet, I would think it is inevitable that a change a needed.

Far better to put out truthful information via the official channel than to allow rumors and speculations to spread on the internet and other grapevines...