Singapore Budget 2014: Looks, plastic surgery and the Budget debate

A photo that MP Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC) shared on Facebook, writing: "I asked to take their pictures and their IC photos of these four residents I met at a coffee shop on Mon. Can you be sure which IC photo belongs to whom?" Mr Baey, during
A photo that MP Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC) shared on Facebook, writing: "I asked to take their pictures and their IC photos of these four residents I met at a coffee shop on Mon. Can you be sure which IC photo belongs to whom?" Mr Baey, during the debate on the Ministry of Home Affairs' Budget, proposed that Singapore residents renew their identity cards again when they turn 50 and 70 to capture the "visible changes" to facial features as people age. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK OF BAEY YAM KENG

Budget Talk: What are MPs and observers saying about the Budget debate outside Parliament? We sum up some of the topics being discussed on social media.

Defence, security and the economy took centre stage at the Committee of Supply debate on the Budget on Thursday. But it was not all about heavyweight issues - the topic of looks and plastic surgery found its way onto the agenda. And it was raised by none other than MP Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC) who is known for his Facebook selfies.

Mr Baey, during the debate on the Ministry of Home Affairs' Budget, proposed that Singapore residents renew their identity cards again when they turn 50 and 70 to capture the "visible changes" to facial features as people age - or go for plastic surgery. Currently, Singapore residents have to register for their NRIC at 15, and re-register with an updated photograph when they turn 30.

It was a point he reiterated in a Facebook post - this time with photos to back up his case. "I asked to take their pictures and their IC photos of these four residents I met at a coffee shop on Mon. Can you be sure which IC photo belongs to whom?" wrote Mr Baey, who also shared in Parliament the story of someone he met who kept his tattered IC "in one piece by scotch tape" because of wear and tear.

 

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On a more serious note, Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong weighed in on the challenges faced by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - a topic raised during the debate on the Ministry of Trade and Industry's Budget.

"SMEs have borne much pain from a tight labour market and continuously higher industrial and commercial rents," said Mr Yee in a Facebook post. "Supporting SMEs is vital to lift productivity across a huge swathe of our economy."

He added: "In Germany and Switzerland, SMEs are celebrated as drivers of exports and economic growth. Some of their mid-sized companies have world-class capabilities and are global leaders in their fields. We should aim to help some of our home-grown companies become global leaders."

 

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MP Intan Azura Mokhtar (Ang Mo Kio GRC), meanwhile, weighed in on the hotly debated topic of whether Singapore is the most expensive city, as a survey by the Economic Intelligence Unit has found.

"It is important to note that the survey is meant to help HR managers decide on an employment and remuneration package for expatriates, taking New York as a base for reference," she wrote in a Facebook post.

"Among the prices of items the survey took into consideration are private schools, domestic help, home rents, and prices of items in 'supermarkets, mid-price stores, and higher-priced speciality stores' (i.e. more likely branded and luxury items) - not quite the sort of items that most of us purchase on a day-to-day basis."

 

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