PAP navel gazing = Committee on Future Economy future gazing?

By: Phillip Ang

Talking cock has increasingly become a favourite PAP pastime in the Year of the Rooster.

A report recently released by the Committee on Future Economy has been lambasted not only by opposition party members but also former PAP MP Inderjit Singh.

To Dr Chee, the report is a “rehash of ideas and strategies” that have been tried but failed by predecessors ESC in 2010 and ERC in 2003 while Goh Meng Seng has described the report as “old wine in new bottle”.

On Inderjit Singh’s Facebook, he describes the report as having “no major new radical ideas that can greatly contribute to the transformation of the economy which we greatly need”.

In agreement with everyone outside PAP’s echo chamber, Inderjit says “the government remains in a state of denial about the worrying state of the economy”.

Singaporeans don’t have to be scholars to know that the CFE is destined to fail as did the ERC and ESC. How to succeed with civil servants and ministers never having worked in the private sector and only understand the economy in a classroom setting?

Worse, these ‘leaders’ are more or less the same people who helped to craft our flawed policies.

One of the objectives of CFE is to sell the idea to Singaporeans that we need even more foreigners. Minister Iswaran: “Foreign talent ‘can plug gaps in economy”. Singaporeans never said ‘no’ to FTs but simply do not want the government to import FTs at such an insane rate.

The CFE represents the interests of GLCs such as Singtel, PSA, etc which co-chair CFE sub committees. Collectively, GLCs employ the highest number of foreigners. GLCs are totally uncompetitive without cheaper foreign labour costs.

In 2010, the ESC set a target of “2% to 3% productivity growth” per year for the decade. According to IPS last year, “productivity growth has been stuck in the doldrums since 2010”, ie close to ZERO. And it looks like history is about to repeat itself.

Coincidentally, the CFE report “unveils a 7-point roadmap to 2-3% annual growth for Singapore”. Will growth for Singapore also be stuck in the doldrums – close to ZERO – for 5 years, maybe more?

Singapore’s economy will never be competitive with land cost in the stratosphere. But land cost will never come down to earth because PAP is the biggest landowner.

PAP has imported more than 2 million foreigners to mitigate high land cost for GLCs but there’s a limit to this. Even if it PAP manages to import another 2 million foreigners, it should be mindful of social consequences.

According to a BT article, CFE report = future gazing. But to me, it appears to be … navel gazing.

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