Oxfam report says that Singaporeans are not paying enough tax

On 9 October, UK-based Oxfam released its 2nd edition of Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index which ranked Singapore 149th out of 157 countries.

According to Oxfam, the CRI Index measures government efforts in three policy areas: social spending, taxation and labour rights. These were selected because of widespread evidence that government actions in these three areas have in the past played a key part in reducing the gap between rich and poor.

But hor, in their own report, Oxfam also said this, “The relationship between the CRI findings and the level of inequality in a given country was discussed at some length in last year’s report. In short, there was no automatic relationship…”

So got link or no link? They ownself talk ownself song?

In 2017, we were ranked 86th – That means we dropped a total of 63 places.

Why arh? Cos this year they decided to anyhowly change the methodology from 2017, and included new new indicators on tax avoidance and on gender-based violence. In layman’s terms, Oxfam is saying Singapore should drop to the bottom 10 spots since we’re not paying high enough taxes and we’re not protecting our women from violence. Cues eye-roll.

If based on this report, it means Singapore is doing worse than a lot of countries like Indonesia (90), Malaysia (75), Thailand (74) and even Afghanistan (127) and Pakistan (137).

We got so jia lat meh?

They use simi index to rank?

Here are the things that Singapore kena marked down for:

1) Never spend enough money on healthcare, education and social protection

Apparently hor Singapore is amongst the top 10 countries that never spend enough money on healthcare. Tsk, this one #fakenews issit?!

Singapore has been ranked second and sixth in the world in terms of our overall health system performance by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and World Health Organization (WHO). I trust EIU and WHO more than I trust simi Oxfam lor.

Singaporeans are now also living longer (83.1 years old) as compared to countries such as the United States, and our infant mortality is also among the lowest in the world. If never spend enough on healthcare, all these happened because of miracle meh?

Then the report also say that Singapore had the highest decrease in education spending in 2017. Say what? Yah lor, I mean if we all quite smart liao, why still need to spend money on education? Of course decrease mah because no need to spend too much money in education liao lah.

The report says this of Singapore, “Apart from tax, its low score is also due to a relatively low level of public social spending – only 39% of the budget goes to education, health and social protection combined (way behind HICs South Korea and Thailand at 50%).”

Chey, you think all these countries every year also spend 50% of their national budget on education meh? Singapore has been investing in our education, health and social protection strategically and consistently over many years liao, so we don’t have to put in 50% every year.

Somemore we got ageing population, where got so many children to educate? Cannot compare with non-ageing countries and countries with explosively growing population, right??

Oxfam report measure this measure that, but never measure important social inputs like housing. They failed to take into consideration that 90% of Singaporeans got their own homes. Even the amongst the poorest 10% of households, 84% also got their own homes. By homes I mean decent homes hor, not the kind that wind blow will toh, rain come will sink that kind.

2) Singapore’s tax not high enough

This Oxfam report also say that our corporate and personal tax rates on the higher income earning companies and individuals too low – which basically is saying that Singapore is not collecting enough taxes from the rich people to redistribute the money to the poorer people. Which also means that Singaporeans (you and I) are not paying enough tax leh!!!

Eh, you siao ah? Do you know that half of Singaporeans now do not have to pay tax after all the wu-eh-boh-eh rebates. If they increase the taxes just so that the rich people (and not-so-rich people, but just nice earn enough to pay tax) will be forced to pay more tax, you think the sibeh-rich people will still stay in Singapore meh?

Then you imagine, if all the sibeh-rich people start migrating, then who become the next layer of “rich” people who have to pay top taxes? They could be the average income earners like you and me liao lor?

And then if foreign companies don’t want to operate in Singapore anymore because of the high corporate taxes, then where got jobs for the people here? What will happen to our economy sia.

Not say I want to say lah, now even with the low taxes, we still get to enjoy some rebates here and there, got healthcare subsidy, housing subsidy and even subsidy to learn new skills. So the low tax is really to attract investments and also to keep the rich people here lor.

3) Not enough labour rights, laws on rape and sexual harassment and no minimum wages

Just because workers in Singapore don’t go on strikes, they say that Gahmen didn’t do enough to protect the rights of the workers. Tsk. We’re civilized people leh, we don’t use violence or go on strikes. We got tripartism in Singapore – that’s means collaboration among unions (workers), employers and the Gahmen to talk things out and resolve issues peacefully. We also got labour law called the Employment Act to cover basic worker rights. Like that still not good enough??

The report also say that women are disproportionately represented in the lowest-paid jobs and Singapore don’t have law to protect women against gender discrimination, rape and sexual harassment.

Please allow lao-niang to roll my eyes. And lao-niang is a woman myself, how come I don’t have all these discrimination lah, rape lah, sexual harassment happening to me ah? I am quite chio you know *flips hair*.

I also don’t think I’m being paid less just cause I’m a lao-niang lor.

While it’s a national policy that Singapore don’t have minimum wage, but even then, the Gahmen still gave in to NTUC’s lobbying and set up minimum wages for cleaners and security officers. Did you know our low- and middle-income earners have experienced the fastest income growth in the past decade?

Plus hor, there are income support for low-income and also mature workers, training schemes to help workers upskill themselves, etc. In fact, lao-niang recently blogged about the two-week bonus under the progressive wage model for cleaners leh.

So I say, this report is not accurate one lor. Oxfam only measures what it wants to measure. The report says they’re looking at “universal, public and free health and education and universal social protection floors. They should be funded by increasing progressive taxation…”

So Oxfam thinks these are the only ways to reduce inequality, but really meh? What if there are other ways? Singapore has unique systems in our CPF, our healthcare system and even our housing subsidies. Our methods are so unique that no other country practices the same, so Oxfam don’t measure. But that doesn’t mean we’re doing badly, right?

Not say lao-niang want to say ah but you see, now even a local poet who’s usually more anti-establishment than pro is quite triggered by the Oxfam report sia. Something must be amiss lah.

Measure effort, but never measure outcome? How you know if it is effective a not? Tsk.


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