SINGAPORE (Jan 28): It is very hard to be critical in a very serious manner in Singapore because this is one of the few governments that are actually not corrupt and have a civic responsibility in mind. It is fairly rational — sometimes coldly rational.

But with technological advancement, I see a lot of people becoming unemployed. More can be done for the poor, and I am not talking about schemes such as Workfare Income Supplement because most of the savings go into their Central Provident Fund. They don’t need that; they need money now.

In most instances, the poor need money and they should be given money. Just welfare. About 20% of Singapore households live below $2,500 — that is not a marginal group. Setting a minimum income of $2,500 for a family of four is reasonable for the bottom 20%. The total cost in our economy will be about $2 billion a year. Our national budget is more than $70 billion annually.

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