|Lee Kuan Yew||Goh Chok Tong||Lee Hsien Loong|
|Retirement and healthcare||7||8||2|
How good is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong?
We compare him to his predecessors based on the 5 basic aspects to a Singaporean’s well-being and summarised them in the radar chart above. The 5 aspects are specifically selected to determine the performance of the 3 PMs at different times. Here are the in-depth rationale how did the PMs fare:
Lee Kuan Yew (1965 – 1990)
Employment score 9: Singapore was a thriving port then but there were still many unemployed people. Along with Dr Albert Winsemius, Goh Keng Swee and other PAP old guards, the PAP team then managed to secure employment for many Singaporeans during the turbulent times.
Freedom score 2: Operation Coldstore, Operation Spectrum, exile of Devan Nair, use of Internal Security Act to arrest political dissidents…the list is endless. There is little or no freedom under Lee Kuan Yew’s iron-fisted rule. Things were so bad nobody dare spoke badly about the PAP government even in private conversations.
Education score 8: Most Singaporeans were uneducated back then, and through his numerous education campaigns like giving free food to children who attend school, helped shore up education level. By the 1980s, Singaporeans have became one of the most educated workforce in the world then. One of LKY’s most controversial yet successful education approach was an all-English medium. Chinese schools and other mono-lingual schools were stopped and everyone go bilingual.
Retirement and healthcare score 7: Most Singaporean elderly were able to retire and do not really face much problems paying off large medical bills. Unlike today, the people don’t have to be bankrupt first to get help in the name of means testing.
Purchasing power score 7: The cost of living was low then, most Singaporeans pay off their housing under 15 years of mortgage loan. A 3A room flat in Tampines costed only $43,500 then. Cars were cheap and there was no COE. Salaries were sufficient to upkeep a single-income family.
Goh Chok Tong (1991 to 2004)
Employment score 8: Outdoing his predecessor, Goh Chok Tong is credited for opening up Singapore’s market to the world. Public sector services were improved significantly and he has to be credited for the development of the train and transport system.
Freedom score 4: His predecessor and himself were still suing people into bankruptcy, most notably Tang Liang Hong and JBJ. Most oppressive rules remained but they were not as aggressively executed as during LKY’s times.
Education score 7: Education opportunities were further expanded through the opening up of the university sector to overseas universities. Although there was the implementation of the streaming practice, students were not half as stressed as they are today.
Retirement and healthcare score 8: Goh Chok Tong’s times is considered the Golden Years by many Singaporeans and one such reason is due to the ability of Singaporean elderly to retire without worries during the 1990s. Healthcare costs were heavily subsidized and help was readily available.
Purchasing power score 9: During the 1990s, Singaporeans see a rise in wages that we were officially declared a first world country. Housing was rising then, but still remained affordable with morgage servicing period still at a comfortable level of below 20 years.
Lee Hsien Loong (2004 – Present)
Employment score 4: The influx of cheap foreign labor caused many Singaporeans to lose their jobs. Professionals, Managers and Engineers were the hardest hit as foreigners with dubious degrees flooded the labor market to compete for jobs at lower salaries. Retrenchment age dipped further with more Singaporeans becoming taxi drivers and self-employed.
Freedom score 5: Defamation suits are still a trademark of the PAP government. The mainstream media continued to be controlled and now the PAP wants to control the internet too. People still get arrested if they protest without permit.
Education score 6: Lee Hsien Loong further expanded the private education sector but did not increase the number of local university places in tandem with the population growth, which grew more than 25% in less than 10 years.
Retirement and healthcare score 2: More elderly Singaporeans and poor are sleeping on the streets and picking cardboards for a living. The new PAP administration remained oblivious to the problem even as voices are getting more and more vocal. Most Singaporeans do not get to retire today because of the relentless rise in Minimum Sum, Retirement Age and the depression of CPF interest rates. Healthcare for Singaporeans is a complete screw up and the people develop a saying goes “rather dead than sick”.
Purchasing power score 4: The bottom 20 percentile income earners see a drop in their salaries under PM Lee’s leadership. The median income earner barely see a real income growth over the same period, but the top 20 percentile income earners see a sharp rise in their income. Income gap continues to widen, which again is neither reacted nor responded to from the PAP. Housing mortgage servicing period stretched from a minimal 25 years to 35 years. Car ownership has become virtually impossible with COE prices alone ranging from $65 000 to $90 000.