Letter: Local Qualifying Salary Should Be Pegged To $2K Monthly Due To Cost Of Living Here

Singaporean Says Current Local Qualifying Salary Of $1,400 Isn’t Enough

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On 30 Aug, Senior Minister of State in the Ministry for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad spoke about the introduction of Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) which starts at S$1,400 when hiring local Singapore Citizens.

Being born and bred in Singapore since 1965, I am bewildered at this low salary, mindful of our country’s forever escalating costs of living.

One example during this Covid-19 pandemic is that a cup of coffee at Kopitiam has increased to $1.80 which means a simple breakfast will set one back by at least $5, not counting the costs of lunch and dinner every day.

Goods and Services (GST) costs are forever increasing regardless of whether many are jobless with no savings or even part-time income.

To peg the Local Qualifying Salary at $1,400 monthly will not help any of us and we all will still end up borrowing money to survive.

The Tripartite Committee insisted that we must consider not to burden employers with high costs, which I humbly feel is not justified because an Employment Pass holder’s starting salary is S$4,500.

If employers can afford to incur high costs hiring foreigners, why then the reluctance in pegging the LQS higher?

I am not proposing the LQS to be pegged at $4,500, rather what I humbly propose is for a start pegging it at $2,000 monthly.

Nothing was mentioned as to whether the LQS increases annually on par with the increasing costs of living or stagnates forever.

After listening to the talk by Minister Zaqy Mohamad on TV, I tweeted him asking the above question to which he chose not to answer for reasons only best known to him, MOM and the government.

After 56 years of independence, I realised why despite achieving many successes globally, domestically we are still not able to achieve a united National Identity.

We can only achieve National Identity when the Government elected by citizens of Singapore stop divisive policies and demeaning the living standards of locally born Singapore Citizens and placing high on the pedestal Foreign Talents.

I hope there will be a shift of emphasis thus improving the living standards of those who elected the Parliamentarians into office.

Thank you

Paul Antony Fernandez

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