Simplifying What “Populist” Means & Why Jamus Lim is Called a Populist


Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of how Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin recently had to issue a public apology.

Over calling Associate Professor and fellow Member of Parliament (MP) Jamus Lim a “f***ing populist”.

Ah, yes, Jamus is making words popular. Again.

While most of us probably didn’t have a clue about what “populist” meant before this, we’re all about to find out.

And no, it’s not the fan club name for fans of Popular Bookstore lah.

Definition of “Populist”

According to Oxford Languages, a populist is “a person, especially a politician, who strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups”.

So basically, someone whose policies focus on “the people”, making them attractive to communities who feel like their needs and wants are not being taken seriously by those in charge, i.e. the government.


Which makes them popular amongst those communities.

Why Was Jamus Lim Called “Populist”?

And if you’re wondering why Mr Tan called Associate Professor Lim populist, here’s why.

For context, the now-viral clip was taken from a Parliament sitting on 17 April this year, when a five-day debate with regards to President Halimah Yacob’s address was taking place.

Jamus Lim talked about implementing a poverty line in Singapore to ensure that those living in poverty will get more aid than just receiving necessities.

Apart from that, those who have followed his politics closely will also know that he is an advocate for minimum wage in Singapore, which he also reemphasised during his speech on 17 April.

And for those who still remember what Economics in Junior College taught you, you might recall why there’s no minimum wage in Singapore.

But if you don’t, here’s a quick recap:

But of course, to those earning less income than most, the idea of a minimum wage might seem attractive.

Hence, by appealing to those who are earning less money and feel that they are not receiving adequate support, Jamus Lim’s proposed policies have been labelled populist by other politicians.

And this isn’t the first time his policies have been met with resistance by the government.

Back in 2020, Lim challenged six MPs from the People’s Action Party (PAP) about his minimum wage policy.

Yup, he’s been more insistent in the pursuit of a minimum wage in Singapore than your ex was when he tried to woo you back.

He also insisted that a minimum wage could be implemented with a minimum impact on unemployment, but other MPs in Parliament disagreed.


Fresh grads, you don’t need any experience to earn up to $4,200 with this “secret”:

Read Also: