"My concern is this: Yes, we can give wages a shock but in the process, are we also able to give productivity an equal shock." The speaker happens to the worst example of the productivity malaise in Singapore. After relinquishing his short stint as Second Minister of National Development in 2005, Lim Swee Say (林瑞生), he has been minister without portfolio up to today. Meaning, he's good for nothing special. Unless you count dressing up as Zorro and generally making a fool of himself on stage with ditties like "Upturn the downturn".
One of those high income earners losing sleep over Professor Lim Chong Yah's radical proposal of a deep wage freeze, Lim Swee Say conceded that driving wage growth through productivity gains will take time. And that's the way these guys like it: the longer it takes, the bigger his bank account will swell. Hence the hentak kaki pace of bringing to justice the two top uniformed officers caught bedding the same IT vendor. Ditto the Hougang by-election.
"Every month, when I receive my CPF statement, I feel so rich," he once told his captive audience of grassroots supporters. In office since 1999, this guy still hasn't mastered the art of public speaking. Makes you wonder how he survived as Deputy Managing Director of the Economic Development Board when he was based in New York City from 1991 to 1993.
Prof Lim told Today: "If the NTUC secretary-general Mr Lim Swee Say has serious reservations for my ER2 (Economic Restructuring 2) proposal, then the logical sequence is to keep it in deep freeze, instead of temporarily freezing the salaries of the highest income groups as suggested by me." Stay tuned, the spirit of wage reform will remain, to the march of the spirit of GE 2016.