Singapore does not have a minimum wage policy for fear of causing businesses to go bust and raising unemployment rates. But companies should be able to afford competitive wages anyway.

SINGAPORE (Nov 5): For 12 hours a day, six days a week, former taxi driver Koh goes to work at an upmarket private condominium near Orchard Road. The 70-year-old has been employed as a security guard for the last six months. The hours are just as long as when he was on the road, Koh says, and the pay is not always enough to cover his monthly bills. He jokes, wryly, that he does not get fat because he cannot spend much on food.

Yet, since September 2016, security agencies have had to pay a security officer a basic wage of $1,100, after the officer completes two basic licensing courses. While Koh does not want to reveal his salary, the father of three says he still has to occasionally borrow money from his middle-aged daughter to make ends meet.

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