K Shanmugam: Low growth is going to be a fact of life

 “You’ve seen Minister Lim (Swee Say) saying we may have to settle for low growth. Now low growth does not mean that we will all be able to say, be graceful, have a good standard of life, play golf. No.

“Low growth in Singapore, in the context of high growth region means lack of opportunities in Singapore. A lot of people don’t understand this. You see articles all around – ‘oh it’s okay, let’s adjust to a low growth’.

“First, low growth is going to be a fact of life. We’re not going to be able to grow at six to eight per cent. Not easy, let’s understand that.

“Second, what does low growth mean when all your neighbours are growing high? Just look at Japan, it means less opportunities for young people, in the event of 40 to 50 per cent of the population coming out with degrees. It means reduced dynamism in the economy, it means industries moving out, these are the challenges we have to face and these are the messages we have to get across and what are the choices that people want to make. Low growth carries serious consequences.” ~ Law Minister K Shanmugam

 

In his speech at a carnival on Sunday, PAP Minister of Law K Shanmugam declared that most Singaporeans do not understand the effects of a low economic growth and a rapid ageing population. While Shanmugam could be standing proud after his insulting comments about Singaporeans, people were expecting him to exude some new exceptional insights on how a low economic growth and an ageing population should be perceived – to which he said – a low economic growth means lesser opportunities for younger people and an ageing population means an increase in old-age dependency ratio.

 

Do Singaporeans really don’t understand the effects of low growth and an ageing population? Don’t Singapore already have one the best education policies in the world? Shanmugam’s comments reflects the typical caliber of “talent” Singaporeans are paying millions for – one who first dumb down the intelligence of others then dishes out characterless and mediocre comments. It also says a lot about how irrelevant and out-of-touch PAP Ministers are with the average Singaporeans. If the comments were meant to be a threat so Singaporeans will start giving birth, the intentions have achieved the direct opposite effect – wouldn’t more Singaporeans emigrate since the government itself has painted the country future pitch black? Why should young people stay here to pay more consumer taxes and support the other elderly who aren’t their parents? Why should young people stay here when opportunities in Singapore is bleak and there isn’t any job prospects? Why should young people give birth here and burden their next generation with such doomed environment? Why should young people even retire here knowing full well the government is extending retirement age and forcing elderly to work into their twilight years? and of course why should young people vote in a government who tells them to understand their incompetence blaming low growth to “a fact of life”? It brings a sobering question: is the millionaire incumbent worth his salt?

 

When we look at the US presidential election, we look at two competent party offering constructive ideas and visions to whether grow the economy or improve the livelihood of the people. Votes are earned through substance and conviction. In Singapore, the PAP government earns their support otherwise: they tell voters how the economy would collapse under a new leadership and, worse, they tell the people to accept their incompetence and blame every issues from social to economic to the people or “a fact of life”.  Singaporeans are so awfully a docile herd that they are forever willing to compromise to the extent even when they are insulted, they do nothing. Nobody took the stand to rebut K Shanmugam the effects of overcrowding and point at the real culprit. The PAP government is the one who in the first place put up tax-friendly policies which benefit the rich and anti-welfare measures to squeeze the middle class and the poor. Is low growth and low old-age support ratio the real reason why Singapore would fail? No, not in today’s world, but a sleeping population who have no moral courage to vote out the wrong leaders is the real threat to Singapore’s future.

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