Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean revealed that recent surveys conducted by the National Population and Talent Division(NPTD) reported that 85% of singles want to get married, but according to the Department of Statistics only an average of 4.25% of them managed to tied the knots [Source]. Based on the recently conducted Population Census, 43.7 out of 1000 unmarried males managed to get married, for females, it is 41.4 out of 1000 unmarried females. The margin of disconnect is an astonishing 80% and this explains why total fertility rate(TFR) is only at 1.2 according to the official report by the PAP government, or 0.78 according to the CIA Factbook [Source].
Teo Chee Hean “hopes” that the falling birth rate will be reversed and that the TFR will be increased to at least 1.4, on a family-unfriendly environment like Singapore. Most Singaporeans are deterred by the high costs of marriage and child-raising, which could seriously jeopardize one’s retirement should one raise a family without proper financial planning.
Among the common reasons that deter marriage and child-raising are housing, low purchasing power, education fees and loss of employment opportunities. Housing continued to price Singaporean couples out of affordability and it is on-tracked to worsen with the recent tightening of credit regulations by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Despite charting record profits and GDP by the employers and the government, Singaporeans are relatively poor as compared to their peers in Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. With inflation rate outpacing salaries growth, Singaporeans have low purchasing income equivalent that of Kuala Lumpur according to the UBS “Earnings and Wages” survey in 2011. However in 2012, Singapore mysteriously managed to exclude itself out of UBS’s 2012 edition – very likely the work of some very strong political force.
Going by PAP’s logic that price is an indicator of quality, Singapore parents should be delighted to know childcare fees have quadrupled in 5 years. From the period of 2006 to 2011, PAP kindergarten prices have jumped 4 times. In 2006, the monthly fee was $30.50, then in 2007 it went up to $50.60. Then in 1 July 2008, it was $95 a month [Source]. Then in 2010, it was $120 a month. PAP Millionaire Minister Grace Fu however defended the 20% price raise in 2011, saying the price “was lower than many operators” [Source].
With the influx of cheap foreign labor, Singaporean parents who take long childcare leaves put themselves on top of Singapore companies’ cost-cutting priority. As the PAP government had issued 12.4% more S-pass in the past 6 months, Singapore companies can increase their productivity by helping themselves to the increased labor market at half the price of a Singaporean.
It is no surprising PAP Millionaire DPM Teo Chee Hean could say that he hopes Singapore TFR could go up to 1.4 when his counterpart DPM Tharman is saying a $1000 paycheck is enough to buy a HDB flat. PAP Ministers being out of touch and disconnected with reality is nothing new, but unfortunately their incompetence is worsening the present situation and endangering Singaporeans’ future.