Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Questions for Written Answers: 12 February 2007

There are a few parts to a Parliamentary sitting. The first part, and to me the most interesting, is Question Time. This is where Ministers answer questions filed by MPs. It takes place in the first 1.5 hours of a normal Parliamentary sitting (I understand that may be different for Budget sittings), i.e. from 1.30pm to 3.00pm.

MPs can file 2 types of Parliamentary Questions (PQs), either an OPQ (Question for Oral Answer) or WPQ (Question for Written Answer). Each MP is limited to 5 PQs, of which up to 3 may be OPQs. An OPQ is for the Minister to reply to in Parliament itself, and MPs can follow-up with supplemental questions. A WPQ is a question that the Minister will provide a written answer to, and hence by definition does not permit supplemental questions to be asked. So WPQs are normally used to elicit information.

I had filed 3 OPQs and 2 WPQs for yesterday's sitting (on 12 February 2007). There was not enough time to get to my OPQs, but I expect 2 of them to be answered on Thursday (14 February 2007). The 3rd is quite a bit further back in the queue and almost certainly will not be dealt with on Thursday. I did get answers to my 2 WPQs.

I will post OPQs and their answers as and when the official Parliamentary report for a sitting is out. I will also try and post newspaper coverage on those OPQs.

Anyway, my 2 WPQs are below. I am still collecting my thoughts on the responses and will post those thoughts (together with my reasons for posing these WPQs) another time, maybe tomorrow.

First WPQ

Mr Siew Kum Hong: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry, for each year from 2001 to 2005, what were the median and mean monthly household per capita income for (i) all resident households in Singapore; and (ii) each quintile of resident households broken down by income.

Mr Lim Hng Kiang:

1. The mean and median monthly income from work per household member among resident households up to 2006 is shown in Table 1 below. Income from other sources is only available once in five years from the Household Expenditure Survey. Income data for employed households is used, instead of for all households, in order to isolate the effects caused by changes in the proportion of retiree households.

Table 1: Mean and Median Monthly Income from Work Per Household Member Among Employed Households

[table omitted -- essentially, the mean and median for 2006 were $1,950 and $1,310 respectively]

The mean and median income from work per household member among employed households by quintile is shown in Tables 2 and 3. The lowest quintile group showed a slight drop in the mean income between 2001 and 2003 but recovered from 2004.

Table 2: Mean Monthly Income from Work Per Household Member Among Employed Households by Quintile

[table omitted -- essentially, in 2006, the figures for 2006 (by ascending quintle) were $420, $850, $1,320, $2,050 and $5,090 respectively]

Table 3: Median Monthly Income from Work Per Household Member Among Employed Households by Quintile

[table omitted -- essentially, in 2006, the figures for 2006 (by ascending quintle) were $430, $850, $1,310, $2,010 and $3,940 respectively]

[These are figures that, to the best of my knowledge, have never been published. Perhaps not coincidentally, on the same day, the Department of Statistics issued an occasional paper on income statistics titled "Key Household Income Trends, 2006" that made headline news today.]

Second WPQ

Mr Siew Kum Hong: To ask the Minister for Manpower what are the mean and median monthly amounts of CPF funds used for mortgage payments.

Dr Ng Eng Hen:

1. The mean and median monthly amounts of CPF funds used for mortgage payments[1] were $662 and $500 respectively, as at end December 2006.

[table omitted -- the table basically reproduced the above information, and added that there was a total of 690,067 members, presumably being members who were using CPF funds to make mortgage payments]

[1] Public Housing Scheme (PHS), Residential Properties Scheme (RPS) and Non-Residential Properties Scheme (NRPS)

4 comments:

Readymade said...

Actually, you might be able to find these stats on the Singstat website that the Dept of Statistics maintains.

I haven't the time to go poke around thoroughly, but I do know that the Household Expenditure Surveys for 02/03 and the General Household Survey 2005 results are up there, among other datap0rn :)

o said...

First, I want to commend and thank you for providing this blog. As I see it, this provides a voluntary layer of accountability to your role as an NMP. I very much appreciate it.

Some questions (not necessarily to you) about the statistics:

From the paper posted on the SingStat website, the definition of "employeed househould" is "households with at least one working person". This is somewhat ambiguous. If one member of a household has occasional or seasonal work that is less than a full year, then are they counted? If not, then the lowest quintile is likely overstated.

Are annual bonuses included on a pro rata basis in the monthly income? If not, the highest quintile is likely understated and the Gini coefficient is less sensitive than it should be to the economic cycle.

Siew Kum Hong said...

readymade: I should have been more specific. The hitherto unavailable figures I was referring to were the household per capita income figures. They do not appear in the HES or other surveys.

Siew Kum Hong said...

O: I've asked DOS for clarifications, and will post an update when I receive their response.