Leong Sze Hian: Talking cock or intellectually dishonest?

TOC recently shared that Leong Sze Hian said the following at the Hong Lim White Paper protest on 16 Jan.

——————–

“I tell you that the very basis of the white paper is wrong. Because it says the population is aging, people are not producing babies that is why we need immigration. You know what’s the problem? In the development countries they have this problem, why? They have pensions, cost government money. Do you have pensions?

Is your CPF your own money?

In the developed countries, they have universal healthcare. Do you have universal healthcare?

The development counties have welfare, do you have welfare?

So what is the problem with the population aging when the government is not spending any money on the aging population?”

————-

I’m not surprised to see this excerpt from Leong Sze Hian. He is someone who is known to ask hard-hitting questions (which is a good thing), but occasionally does so by taking things out of context or by omitting crucial information (which is a bad thing, like the picture picture below.)

The line of logic in LSH’s speech is bullshit because it assumes that all of a citizen’s healthcare cost is fully funded from CPF and the 3Ms. (After all “government is not spending any money on the aging population” mah)

But this ignores the fact that the government spends billions of dollars a year on healthcare. That’s billions of dollars of government money coming from taxpayers, ERP fees and income from reserves investments. In Budget 2012, MOH was allocated $4.7b for healthcare spending, of which “a total of $2.2 billion is set aside as subsidies for Singaporeans seeking medical care at the restructured hospitals and institutions, polyclinics, community hospitals, and institutions in ILTC sector.” Because this is government money, it is paid for by working taxpayers, which is why the shrinking local population raises a valid concern for the tax burden of the future.

The funny thing is that it’s not as if LSH doesn’t know that the government does in fact spend money on healthcare. Not more than 2 months ago, he wrote on his blog about government’s (supposedly insufficient) spending on government healthcare. And since he is arguing for more government spending on healthcare, that is actually going to make tax burden worse for working adults!

And please don’t give me that crap about how we can pay for more healthcare by reducing spending on defense. That’s poor logic. If it makes sense to reduce defence spending, then we should do it regardless of which healthcare policy is adopted. Decisions to reduce defence spending or impose new taxes should be taken separately from healthcare decisions.

So maybe LSH just happened to forget what he said in his blog week ago? This man is either talking cock, intellectual dishonest, or suffering from short-term memory loss. Either way, it is worrisome when someone like him is talking about money issues because he also happens to provide advice on investments. I certainly won’t be counting on his investment advice, thank you very much.

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About sgthinker

I'm a 40-year old Singaporean male, and this blog pens down my thoughts and feelings about Singapore's political happenings, government policies and society trends. I hope this blog will provide a moderate voice in the growing online debate about the state of Singapore's society. Some of the posts here won't be solely written by me, since there will be times when other writers are more eloquent at expressing their views, in which case I'll share their insights (along with my comments). The content on this blog is owned by me.If you wish to share or reproduce the content, please attribute it to this blog.
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12 Responses to Leong Sze Hian: Talking cock or intellectually dishonest?

  1. goondu says:

    Other countries have a huge ministry to run the pension scheme. This are also healthcare cost that nobody take note of. Go and find out how big the Ministry in Australia.

  2. Paul says:

    The facts are simple. Leong said that the government does not spend a penny on pensions for Singaporeans therefore there should be no concern about an ageing population. ..I do not see any evidence that he was wrong! As for healthcare, just go to the MOH website and you will see the declining miniscule proportion of GDP that the SG govt spends on healthcare http://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/statistics/Health_Facts_Singapore/Government_Health_Expenditure.html

  3. Francis says:

    How much is of these subsidies goes to subsiding patient care?

  4. theonion says:

    Sgthinker

    Agreed on your main thrust.

    LBJ
    do not disagree with more can be done.

    however, lets just go by outcomes although the percentage to GDP is the lowest yet it produces the one of the best outcome in terms of the following:-

    a) lifespan rates.
    b) infant mortality rates

    I would prefer more targeted spending rather than just allocations as % of GDP, even Taiwan itself admits that there is a problem in future finances soon with a greying populace.

    • LBJ says:

      To: theonion

      Your arguement is flawed by linking healthcare GDP% expenditure to lifespan / infant mortality rates.
      To further stretch your arguement, you notice that Singapore literacy rate is world rank 73, does it mean that our education quality is worse off than all of the developing countries above us? I don’t think so.
      http://www.edcal.com/251425.page
      This simply means that literacy rate DO NOT DIRECTLY equate to how much $ the gov can pump into education against the country GDP.

      Same goes with your flawed argument in linking expendture to mortality rates too.

      Back to the topic.

      Now, Sgthinker argued that
      1) LSH ignored gov expenditure on healthcare
      2) Higher expenditure means higher taxes
      3) Reducing defence is poor logic

      Just like how our GIC gambled and wasted billions of taxpayers money with no accountability, the budget has too many opaque areas hidden from us.
      We do not know what is lumped as “defence”, so there is no need to argue on this standpoint.

      However, the plain FACT that our healthcare allocation for citizens is plain pathetc compared to other countries, regardless how you see it left, right, up or down.

      So LSH is right to say that since we citizens already pay for the BULK of our OWN healthcare, using it as an excuse to increase more than 1 million extra foreigners is TOTALLY FLAWED!

      • theonion says:

        LBJ

        Not sure if you are the blogger in the article you pasted.
        We are now refering to the facts and not the interpretation of the facts.
        You are entitled to your opinions but not the facts of the matter in which there is healthcare spending and increases but not to the extent which you seem to expect manna from heaven.

  5. LBJ says:

    You missed the mark by more than a mile. You are simply, like you said so yourself, NITPICKING on LSH’s speech. What you are doing is just like your pictured media, which is the same as our local MSM, trying to put him in a bad light.

    Look. We have the LOWEST, I repeat LOWEST percentage budget allocation for healthcare compared to ALL developed countries.
    This ALONE should sum up the whole story. LSH no doubt is driving at the RIGHT point, nevermind the direction where he is coming from.
    Either you see it, understand the plight of many needy and old who are refused by the gov to use their own money for healthcare, or you don’t.

    Picking on LSH serves nothing when most of our defence budget serves nothing but to maintain the status quo of PAP.

    If you still insist on talking about intellectual honesty, think about Gan’s denial for elderly medisafe.
    Isn’t he the one you should nitpick? In true honesty?

    http://blogging4myself.blogspot.jp/2013/01/the-inhumanity-of-gan-kim-yong.html

    • theonion says:

      It can be increased, but a pure increase would just result in more inflation as well as the simple fact that there is a need to reduce foreign workers, which basically means higher costs all around.

      • LBJ says:

        Our defence spending increased annually at
        :
        2010 4.3%
        2011 5.3%

        EVERY YEAR our defence spending increase, so much so that it is even HIGHER than Israel, a country techincally AT WAR.

        You said that it is a “simple fact” that increase in healthcare will lead to increase in higher cost.
        I beg to differ. It is not so “simple” since there is lacking of information from the gov that refuse to practice accountability or transparency.

        We do not know what encompass “defence” spending that need to increase in near exponantial rate, while interestingly, healthcare expenditure % from the gov to the Singaporeans is DROPPING ANNUALLY.

    • sgthinker says:

      You see it as nitpicking, I see it as fact-finding. His public statement claims zero govt spending on healthcare. Zero, not lowest. In a setting that is meant to stir up emotions.

      I agree we should be spending more on healthcare. But any debate on policy must be grounded in facts, not half-truths that poison the debate.

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