The announcement of building more infrastructure is welcome. However, it is only onefacet of many other factors which contribute to quality of life.There has been no mention made of the 6.9 million target population espoused in theWhite Paper earlier this year. The blueprint addressing how we intend to address thisinevitable population crunch via housing supply, road networks, and public transportationnetworks, have not been addressed fully.
It is encouraging to note that the government has done much for the lowest percentile ofthe needy in Singapore. However, as our Gini co-efficient rises and social inequalitybecomes a pressing issue worldwide, it is imperative for Singapore to take the lead inlessening this inequality and creating a successful case for other countries to emulate,as they have with our economic success story.This can be approached two ways. First, Singapore has earlier espoused a SwissStandard of living promised to Singaporeans in the early 1990s. It is now time for us todefine what a Singapore Standard of living should be. The government needs to lookinto re-defining a poverty line that is unique to Singapore, to ensure that no citizen will beleft behind as our country becomes richer in its pursuit of economic growth.Secondly, more can be allocated to social expenditure.NSP's budget 2013 response earlier raised this issue, citing that developmentexpenditure versus operating expenditure has been dropping. While the population hasgrown by 45% from 1996–2012, development expenditure has only increased by 34%.We call on the government to adjust the development budget to invest even further insocial spending and public infrastructure such as housing, healthcare and transportation.We strongly believe that the government can afford to spend more on its people, and itcan most definitely afford to do so without falling into the welfare trap.
Politics and Civil Society
Politics has to be done right in Singapore, otherwise we will not be a fully functioningdemocracy in which people are empowered to make a stand on issues that affect them.Unfortunately, unsavoury tactics such as gerrymandering, the ruling’s party ties with thePeople’s Association and other legislations such as the Political Donations Act, the MDALicensing Scheme and the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act, the Defamation Act,et al., prove that the ruling party continues to maintain an iron fist and comparativepolitical advantage over any other entrants from parties of other affiliations.Separately, while it is encouraging that the government wishes to see more activecitizenry and has thus initiated a Youth Corps, it must be acknowledged that we do notneed another institutionalized system to encourage a concept as organic as bottom-up