Friday, 31 August 2012

Behind Singapore Inc.

Part I: The growing class of 'working poor'


Former GIC chief economist Yeoh Lam Keong shares his views on the cogs running behind "Singapore Inc.". (Yahoo! photo/Jeanette Tan)

Could Singapore’s immigration policies over the past 15 years have created a separate, growing class of poor citizens?

Former chief economist to the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) Yeoh Lam Keong believes that may be the case.

Using a term he calls “the working poor” — a term he uses to refer to the bottom 10 per cent of working household breadwinners, who hold full-time jobs, but yet find themselves entrenched in the poverty cycle – he said, “In other words, even if you’re fully employed, you may barely earn enough money to bring up a family decently or to improve your children’s economic opportunities.”


Part II: ‘Gov’t must rethink delivery of public services’


There is no need to peg BTO flat prices to the resale market, says former GIC chief economist Yeoh Lam Keong. (Yahoo! file photo) 

Why peg public services to market prices?

In a recent hour-long interview with Yahoo! Singapore, former chief economist at the Government of Investment Corporation Yeoh Lam Keong asked this question.

A former schoolmate of Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s at the Anglo-Chinese School, and later the London School of Economics, Yeoh spent almost all his adult life working on government economic policy, and in that time experienced a social awakening to what he feels are inherent problems in the system. 


Part III: ‘PAP must return to its roots’


Singapore's government needs to return to its roots of pragmatism and its priority of serving the needs of the ordinary citizen, says former GIC chief economist Yeoh Lam Keong. (AFP file photo)

Former top financial sector economist Yeoh Lam Keong says the government should be more pragmatic in its approach and return to its roots to meet and serve the needs of the ordinary citizen.

The 54-year-old, who was the chief economist at the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation for a decade, said the ruling People’s Action Party succeeded and even exceeded expectations in doing this, from Singapore’s early years right up to the mid-1990s.

“One of its founding values, which is still found in large measure in government today, is pragmatism — ‘I will do what works to get what I need done, done successfully, regardless of ideology, convention or dogma’ — that’s a great strength of our government,” said Yeoh, who left GIC last year to spend more time with his family