I will say this upfront. I am very disappointed with the first day of the Budget debate in Parliament yesterday.
Members of Parliament seem to have focused on the Singapore’s government’s decision to use our reserves to fight the current economic crisis. The general idea I get from the news reports seems to be that the MPs support the government’s decision to dip into the reserves for S$4.9 billion, but is afraid that this will “set precedence”.
I have to ask this: What’s the use of having some much money in the Singapore reserves?
Answer: To defend the Singapore economy during extraordinary times.
We saved for a rainy day and are there any doubts that it is raining right now? Why are our MPs arguing and worrying about using the reserves when they are clearly being used for the exact purpose they are there for? I can understand why some MPs want to know what the process was before the President gave his approval, but surely the more important thing is how the S$4.9 billion is being used. Why are there so much being made about using the reserves and so little about how is it being used?
Is the job credits scheme the way to go? Should money be given to the lower income groups in Singapore to help them tide over this period? Should more be done to help SMEs in Singapore? What can Singapore do to stop (or at least slow) the flow of money overseas by foreign workers in Singapore? Should Singapore continue to tag our economy to America?
Hopefully we will hear some of these questions by our MPs in the next few days and less no-brainer quotes like ‘setting precedence’.