Social Inclusion in Singapore: Are we there yet?
As the year winds down, Ng Kok Hoe (KH) discussed several major policy developments in 2021 with Shailey Hingorani (Head of Advocacy, Research, and Communications at AWARE), in a podcast for LKYSPP’s 17th anniversary. They spoke about the government’s plans to develop new public housing in prime locations, enshrine into law workplace anti-discrimination guidelines and extend the Progressive Wage Model. Kok Hoe also drew from MIS findings to reflect on the implications for social inclusion. With the new year round the corner, the speakers shared their wishes for 2022:
KH: One of the key findings that came out of our Minimum Income Standard study was, we calculated and we proposed a living wage level. It’s $2906. We proposed this as a starting point for a discussion about living wage. Now the Progressive Wage Model, I mean, we celebrated the extension, right, as a good thing. But its wage levels are way too low based on our calculations of what households need.
So, in our calculation, $2906, we think it’s a very reasonable level. In fact, last month it was also announced that the lowest rung of the wage ladder for security sector workers will be increased steadily until it hits $3500 in 2028. $3500 in 2028, even with 2% annual inflation, which we often do not hit, that is higher than the $2906 we propose.
So, if I have a wish for, for next year and of course beyond, I know this is not work that can be done in a year or two, it is to have a greater conversation around wages and people’s living standards that are based on principles like these – people’s needs, what is decent, what is basic, and what will allow people to not feel excluded from society.