The Roy Who Cried Wolf

Our favourite CPF turned freedom fighter/protester, Roy Ngerng, has been going around Europe giving interviews about his apparent targeting by the government. So let’s take a look at the main points of his interview with French Radio RFI.

 “The government had taken our pension funds to invest in one of its investment firms (GIC) but it told us that the government does not interfere in the GIC.”

Roy pointed out that our CPF funds are actually invested in GIC. However, that is not technically true. What really happens is the CPF Board purchases Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS). This allows CPF to provide a stable interest rate no matter the economic environment. The money received from SSGS is combined with the rest of the Government’s funds and invested for long-term gains. CPF is invested into GIC as much as your savings at the bank is invested into that Capital Land Mall development next door.

 “After the protest, the judge then ruled that I have defamed the prime minister. So, the government have been trying to think about how to pull down my reputation, so that they can say that I have defamed the prime minister.”

Some have pointed out that Roy tends to play the “victim” card whenever he gets in trouble. Has Roy ever considered that he admitted to defamation and produced a signed letter on his website acknowledging so? Perhaps he is also guilty of flip-flopping as well. Also maybe he should explain to the radio stations about the accusations his lawyer M Ravi made about him and the money donated to him by the public. Surprisingly, he did not address any of these.

 “The Economist has ranked Singapore as the most expensive place in the world.”

Naturally, Roy is definitely right about this. The Economist ranked Singapore as the most expensive place in the world… for expats. As Roy seems to aspire to be Singapore’s chief economist, I’d be surprised if he has not reviewed the methodology for that report. Or maybe, he’s actually paying $88 for his haircut (as per EIU’s data).

 “When you compare Singapore’s prices with Norway and London, prices are not that much different.”

I’d also have to agree with Roy on this. Prices are not that much different from Norway and London. That’s of course if you actually do what Roy did and dropped the currency signs off. Perhaps, we should compare Singapore to Indonesia then and drop the currency signs off.

Item Cost in Singapore Cost in Indonesia
Coke/Pepsi 1.54 6,731.14
1 litre Milk 2.83 15,090.04
Pack of Cigarettes 12.50 15,000
Internet (6 Mbps) 39.33 367,544.44
Pair of Nike Shoes 130.61 683,015.00
Rent for 1 bedroom Apartment in City Centre 3,038.40 4,846,380.95

Based on Roy’s logic, Indonesia is so much more expensive (without the currency sign). He praises the UK system so effusively, I wonder if he considers the amount one actually pays in income taxes there.

Tax rate Taxable income above your Personal Allowance
Basic rate 20% £0 to £31,865
Most people start paying basic rate tax on income over £10,000
Higher rate 40% £31,866 to £150,000
Most people start paying higher rate tax on income over £41,865
Additional rate 45% Over £150,000

For a middle income person earning 40,000 a year (assuming no other tax exemptions other than personal allowance):

Singapore United Kingdom
$515 £6,000

Of course, one should also question why Roy decided to compare the larger sample “low-income workers” in UK to the wages “cleaners” (a clear subset) earned in Singapore. Perhaps, the actual figures for “low-income workers” in Singapore did not fit his point.

Perhaps Roy should consider for once that he may not be the Shepard of truth he makes himself out to be – but the boy who cried wolf one too many times.

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