Accept sacrifices, cutbacks


[Lee Kuan Yew]A smiling Lee Kuan Yew advises that “We all have to accept some sacrifices and cutbacks“, makes the odd promise that nobody will fall below the poverty line (too bad if you already did?), and trots out the old line about Singapore being so much better than its neighbors.  Straits Times:

THE Government will ensure no Singaporean falls below the poverty line as a result of the financial crisis but it cannot restore people’s living standards to what they were pre-crisis.

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew gave this assurance today, as he promised measures in next year’s Budget to buffer lower-income earners and those without jobs from the impact of higher prices of food and other goods.

He did not provide details but said the Government would need to make a realistic assessment of how much it could afford to give out in additional utilities rebates, Workfare income supplements and other alleviating measures.

Mr Lee was speaking to Tanjong Pagar GRC constituents during an event to mark Tree Planting day.

‘We all have to accept some sacrifices and cutbacks,’ he said.

‘But compared to our counterparts in neighbouring countries, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, our low income earners are much better off.’

CNA has a more detailed but muddled story.

Mr Lee said: “We cannot restore people (people’s living standards) to what they were enjoying before the worldwide crash. But we will make sure nobody falls below the poverty line.

“After studying the situation carefully, ministers have to make a realistic estimate of how much we can afford in additional U-Save, Workfare and other alleviating measures.

“But again, it depends on our assessment of how long and how deep this recession will be.”

On the plight of investors who have lost money investing in Lehman-related mini-bonds, Mr Lee had this word of caution.

“Please remember, when you get higher returns than what is the average in the markets, that means you are incurring higher risk. So on that message I leave you to ponder about your next purchase,” he said.

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