Speaking at an event for 530 grassroots leaders at a post-National Day Rally dialogue organised by the People’s Association, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong underlined the need for social mobility and said, “inequality exists everywhere.”
In emphasising that there is no society where the top and the bottom are the same, Mr Lee said the Singapore Government has worked hard to lessen this inequality and “raise the base level up” to make sure that Singapore becomes a fair and just society.
Facebook users who responded to Channel NewsAsia’s report on Mr Lee’s dialogue dismissed his speech to grassroots leaders as “hypocrisy”.
Facebook user Yenna Lim (who has the most number of reactions to her comment on the post) said: “Hypocrisy and more hypocrisy. Look at your education system and what it teaches our youths. YOU PROMOTE STRATIFICATION. YOU ARE TEACHING THAT. Stop sprouting propaganda theories that contradict your policies. You wants votes??? Start being a sincere and true leader.”
Others called on the Prime Minister to reduce the Ministers’ salaries before talking about inequality.
Facebook user Chuck Cheng: “Please reduce you and your ministers’salaries by 80% first before you start talking nonsense MR LHL.”
Facebook user Bryan Goh: “So Ministers’ pay is built upon the toil of the entire nation? Like a pyramid scheme? Give it back. Now.”
Facebook user He Ping: “Oh, that last paragraph; GST increase beyond 2021. Amazing. How is that considered fair to the upper classes, when low income people pay the same GST rates? You want to increase revenue? Then lower the ministers salary.”
Facebook user Tin Poh Koh: “Credit of what we are enjoying now goes to Mr LKY and his generation who dedicated their life to nation building without claiming any big salary.”
One top commenter claimed that Ministers only pretend to care for the people when elections are near.
Facebook user Lee Nguang Chua: “You see these minister bring down themselves to so low during groundwork visit esp when is near election but after elected, for the next 3yrs, they hardly care much abt hardship with the ppl., rising cost and making revenue for its thick bonuses because they operate like businesses imposing cost to solve problem affecting livelihood among the working class esp the blue collar sector.”
Most of the comments on the post were negative, with many expressing their skepticism at the ruling party in in being able to address inequality.
In his speech Mr Lee asked his grassroots leaders not to show off their wealth to others, saying people will not be impressed. Some netizens who responded to this pointed to how Government Ministers and officials often show-off their prominent status.
They pointed to Facebook user David Liew’s post from July where he claimed PAP MPs showed off their “luxury cars parked at Orchid Country Club”.
One of the cars, a white Bentley Continental GTC V8 4.0A convertible, was later identified as belonging to PAP MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh Chong Kee Hiong.
Others pointed to how Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth, Grace Fu, is often spotted driving her Mercedes Benz around.
Ms Fu also earned the ire of many Singaporeans when she defended MPs paying just $1 a day for the privilege of parking across all public carparks in Singapore.