Economic restructuring and inclusiveness must go together: MP Jessica Tan

Restructuring to create a more productive economy and building an inclusive society must go together, said Ms Jessica Tan (East Coast GRC) as she kicked off the Budget debate in Parliament on Tuesday.

Restructuring on its own without inclusivity will drive up costs for businesses and Singaporeans already concerned about a high cost of living.

But measures to raise incomes at the bottom, without continuing to strive towards high quality growth would not be sustainable, said Ms Tan, the chairman of the Finance, Trade and Industry Government Parliamentary Committee.

"Growth and quality growth are absolutely necessarily. But Singaporeans must feel they can actively participate and benefit from this growth in areas of opportunities, jobs, real income and, more importantly, well being," she said.

Members of Parliament will debate the Budget speech over the next three days, which was delivered on Feb 25 by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

In her speech, Ms Tan also called for more refinement of the eligibility criteria for means testing for retirees, and ways to keep car ownership affordable for families, in light of recent curbs on car loans.

She acknowledged the ongoing concerns of Singaporeans over the cost of living, affordability of healthcare, access to reliable and affordable public transport, and access to quality education, and said improvements cannot stop until all the concerns are addressed.

"The Government cannot promise success, But it must have vision and provide the environment for Singaporeans so that they and their families can do better," she said.