News and views from an unique perspective

Plight of a Malay PMET: Singaporean dream shattered

Posted by temasektimes on March 26, 2012

A decade ago, when I joined this company, I was employed as an assistant engineer. Although the title sounds impressive, in reality I am paid relatively small despite my relevant working experience.

Over these years, I watched many foreign workers from China and the Philippines joined the company. Today, after 10 years, I’m still an assistant engineer with an insignificant jump in salary.  The Pinoys and mainland Chinese who came a few years ago are now my engineers.

With the increasing number of foreign talents, I fear quitting my job as I will face stiff competition from the foreign talents who do not mind having a lower starting pay as they have less commitments in Singapore. Their families are back home, and they only have to fend for themselves.

Unlike these foreign workers, I am married with 2 children. One of them is in primary two and the other is still a toddler. My wife works part-time as we want to ensure the children do not feel neglected during their crucial growing up years. I stay with my parents who are reaching their silver years.

With my income, I cannot afford to buy a house yet as I need to ensure the food, bills and children’s education are fully taken care. On alternate days, I work part-time as a despatch rider to earn extra money. This is a typical reality for the lower-middle income families.

Although Singapore has always experience economic boom, I honestly feel we do not benefit from the success.  The rising tide is not lifting any boat.  Definitely not mysampan. Trying to build a family and live in Singapore is not as easy. With the rising cost of living, I feel my pay has not gone up at all.

Even, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong acknowledged this problem in his speech during 2011 Presidential Address Debate: “the most successful Singaporean will continue to do very well. The average Singaporeans will be able to make improvements in their lives  and are much better off than the people in other countries.  But at the lower end, incomes have risen far too slowly, especially in real terms.”

When the income of the richer households rise rapidly creating an expenditure cascade, there will be a surge in demand for bigger and better homes or luxurious cars. Inevitably, this pattern have resulted in new standards for those in the lower rung of the economic scale. Housing market is an example of this effect where median house prices become dependent on income inequality – that is the greater degrees of inequality may push up housing prices.

With skyrocketing HDB prices, the middle income group is having a difficult time to fund their safe haven. The excessive liberal foreign workers and immigration policies in the recent years are the culprits to the rising inequality and wage stagnation. High-income talent raises average incomes at the top while low-skilled foreign labour keeps wages at the bottom depressed.

Tackling the challenges of stagnant wages and rising inequality require more than just policy tweaks. A broader and more holistic rethinking of Singapore’s economic and social policies geared towards the well-being of Singaporeans will definitely receive a warm welcome.



19 Responses to “Plight of a Malay PMET: Singaporean dream shattered”

  1. OAH said

    A well written straight from the heart letter.

    It is true that our Malay brothers in Singapore have always been getting the short end of the stick from the PAP Govt.. and the Malay Ministers representing their interests in Cabinet are useless lumps of shit.

    Now, it is even worse for them as the Malays are ranked behind the Ah Nehs, Pinoys and Ah Tiongs by our foreigner loving Govt.

    It is no consolation for Yazid to hear this, but Chinese Singaporeans are getting the same shit from the PAP and are now increasingly turning against them.

    Together, we can make it happen.

    Let’s stand united and sweep out our pro foreigner Govt into the sewer where they belong… in GE 2016.

  2. Fiq said

    The PAP has prided itself as it created Singapore based on a meritocratic system. Indeed, most of our successes are based on meritocracy. However, in this day and age of increasing FT in our workforce, the PAP needs to rethink their policy of meritocracy. They should now instead adopt protectionist measures for our own local talents and citizens so that we do not feel as if we are second class citizens in our own country. The point that Mr Yazid brought up about FT being promoted faster than him shows the giant flaw in the system. Again and again the PM has mentioned that the lower income group faces the biggest challenge today. So why has the PAP not done anything to protect the most vulnerable part of our society? Why are still allowing foreign workers in by the thousands to fill up low-skilled, low-wage job sectors when it directly causes the wage in these sectors to be depressed?

    The poor and lowly educated needs the pay for these jobs to increase. With higher pay will we then be able to destroy the stigma of SIngaporeans being unwilling to work in such jobs. We have become a country that is too focused on GDP growth that we simply write-off the poor with the reasoning that it is inevitable that some among us will have to be poor. I feel that we have come a long way since independence that we can afford to be generous and provide welfare for the poor among us and give them the oppertunity to move up in society. This could very well lead to greater GDP growth for our country in the long run.

    Invest in our own citizens, invest in the future of Singapore.

  3. jaded said

    ” A broader and more holistic rethinking of Singapore’s economic and social policies geared towards the well-being of Singaporeans will definitely receive a warm welcome.”

    yup, the PAP has shown themselves to be a failure. time for the opposition to come in and take over.

  4. riza said

    i forsee a future singapore.
    where by all singaporeans will become taxi drivers, while the FTs will take over our jobs…..
    of course until they are granted citizenship too, then they will become taxi drivers too!!!!

    • Bernard Wang said

      I hope before that day comes when all Singaporeans will be taxi drivers and security guards, we all will vote for change in 2016.

      It is said to read Mr Yazid’s letter but the solution is simple: More opposition MPs in parliament.

      No point moaning about the situation if you are not willing to vote for change.

  5. Mat Kawin-kawin said

    Do financial planning to secure your children’s and next generations’ future in this country. Insurance is the way!

    • Mywish said

      With the inflation, insurance will definitely not be enough.

      • Mel said

        You must be an insurance agent. How can you afford insurance if you are struggling to get by with you ageing parents and children. You ignorant turd!

  6. nfshp65 said

    I used to thought that the PAP was our founding fathers, now to realise its all bullshit, and that the PAP are unable to adapt to the changing times. Their secrets are pouring out, their wall of dominece is coming bit by bit, in GE 2016, they will be so weak, that the opposition will have no trouble on crashing their crappy walls down. It’s time for us to vote them out so as to assist in our own future

  7. gilbert wee soo jin said

    it all comes down to this: if you are not an elite, you are screwed! no other way in singapore… this import of foreigners will not stop according to LKY as its the only way to boost the economy…so s’poreans is the new 2nd class citizens, end of story.

  8. Ron Lim said

    Yazid, my sympathies. I have come across many talented Malays. Here are some advice:

    – Always upgrade your skills and never stop learning. The Internet is the best source of knowledge and you do not need your Company to send you to courses though that will be useful too.

    – Whatever you do, master that subject. Think, think and think deeper. The more you learn, the better you become.

    – And be on the look-out for other opportunities. Be not be afraid to seek another job. It depends on how big is your present firm. If it is a multi-nationational, than it may not be wise to move to much smaller firms. If it is a small, locallly-owned firm, then try to get a job with an international firm. They often have higher management skills.

    – And do not forget that Allah can open doors that you may not know are available. Good luck and inshallah your future will be better. One final advice… reach out and help others at work and in your community. That often brings on the blessings.

    • Steve Lee said

      @Ron Lim. Well said Ron.

    • Fight on said


      I took the bold step of stepping out of Singapore for the same reasons you mentioned. There is no way to compete when there is a systemic arrangement to rank Malays lower than others, never mind whether they have the necessary qualifications.

      No one is going to help, certainly not the Malay MPs. It is a perception problem. I know it is much harder for you now that you have a family, but try to look for non-Singapore companies(less stereotyping) who are on the look out for people who are willing to take on projects in the region. Wish you luck. .

  9. Allen Ng said

    I totally agree with Yazid and strongly feels that the government could do more. A compassionate government is the next phase of our government development and improvement for the people.

    I am not asking the Singapore government to give up practicing good governance but there are many in the population that are unable to keep up with the increasing living standards.

  10. Baby boomers said

    I fully agreed with all the comments our govt only think of GDP,FT ,we are 2nd class citizen in our own country.

  11. Singaporean First said

    I a borned-here Chinese Singaporean. With this episode of PAP marginalising us true-blue Singaporeans, I have learnt to appreciate our non-Chinese brothers borned-here Singaporeans. That goes to say that this is a blessing in disguise. We will protect our fellow Singaporeans regardless of race language or religion. We said this many times.
    Yes, I will look at employing Singaporean first whether you are Malay or Indian Singaporean, I will consider you first.

  12. singapuraboi said

    Guess in the past Singapore’s yardstick for success is based on meritocracy but these days it seems to be based on accents. Do you roll your ‘r’s? or do you confuse your ‘r’s and ‘l’s when speaking English? or do you whine at a high pitch, in a nasal tone and pepper every end of a sentence with an “r” sound when speaking Mandarin?

  13. Chin said

    Yazid, your views are genuine and a realistic reflection of many malay bros. Good piece.

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