Progress key to inequality fight, says Tharman

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at a dialogue last night moderated by Ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh at the Institute of Policy Studies' 30th anniversary dinner.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at a dialogue last night moderated by Ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh at the Institute of Policy Studies' 30th anniversary dinner.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The way for Singapore to tackle income inequality is to ensure that everyone, including those in the broad middle, continues to progress and be better off, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday.

Using the analogy of being on an escalator, he said: "There is no point being better off than someone else if everyone is stuck in the same place."

Mr Tharman was speaking at a dialogue on inequality and social mobility to mark the 30th anniversary of the Institute of Policy Studies.

These issues will get harder to address over time, he said, adding that the key is to help older workers stay employed and earn decent wages, while ensuring all children are off to a good start so that they can compete on a level playing field.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2018, with the headline 'Progress key to inequality fight, says Tharman'. Print Edition | Subscribe