Singapore not any less secure today

In his letter ("Cutting defence spending will invite trouble"; last Thursday), Mr Roy Goh Hin Soon cites the case of Israel.

Israel is a country that remains in an active state of war to this day.

Mr Goh also ignores the contribution of the United States Pacific Command and the US 7th Fleet, which are a powerful force and a key factor for peace and stability in the region, as pointed out by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Shangri-La Dialogue last year.

The reality is that the Singapore Government has significantly reallocated government resources from defence to social support, including healthcare.

In fact, our defence expenditure has dropped from 26 per cent of total government expenditure in 2009 to 19 per cent in the 2015 Budget.

We do not think that Singapore is less secure now than it was in 2009.

The Government is right in taking the first steps towards greater investment in healthcare and social safety nets, relative to defence, as Singapore matures.

But much more can be done by engaging the people of Singapore in deciding how our money is spent.

Paul Tambyah (Dr)

Member

Central Executive Committee

Singapore Democratic Party

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore not any less secure today'. Print Edition | Subscribe