Hsien Loong's National Day Rally
What the speech will strike people, other than the enormous memory and command of the language of Hsien Loong, is that it is a rich govt's rally speech. Only a rich govt can afford all the plans that he revealed and the promise of delivering them. It contains a lot of things for the people at various levels. It has taken his last speech on the vision of a new Singapore a step further with more for the masses and the lower income. In all fairness, no country or govt, I think, could make such a generous offer to the people. But then, there are still areas that need to be looked at it more intensely. Ok, we are not building bridges and roads to collect more tolls. But many of the things that the govt is going to build will be paid by the people. They are not freebies. Even looking after the aged is how to plan their savings to last longer. Ok, 1% more for $60k. That is a plus. But shouldn't this be paid in the past as the compulsory savings should be managed and invested to generate higher returns all these while? And there were signs of fine tuning the CPF savings to fit the needs of different groups of people. But still not enough. The minimum sum was untouched. This sum is so meaningless to so many people. The attempt to close the gap between the rich and poor is barking up the wrong tree. Agreed that the govt should not hold back the rich from getting richer. Let them get richer. And also there is no way that the income of the lower income group can be artificially inflated at no cost. They will pay themselves out of the competition. It is a double aged sword. It is a futile exercise. What Hsien Loong completely missed out is the runaway cost of living. If this area can be arrested, then the people, especially the lower income group, will be richer and their money can be stretched a little longer. So will the savings of the retirees. The only way to hold back rising cost is to return public and essential services back to the nation and run at cost plus and not just for profit and the interest of the shareholders, or to line the pockets of top management. The concept of profit for profit sake must be relooked at. Even GLCs must not forget that they have a national duty to look after the people, eg in the area of job creation and employment. It is irresponsible to use public money simply to generate profit. Profit for who and for what if the people are being squeezed or retrenched just to improve the bottom line? Without reining in the cost of living, not only the lower income group will suffer. It will undermine our competitiveness as an operating base for foreign corporations in a matter of time.