The Straits Times
Published on Feb 27, 2013

Drive home message of tackling problems together


WHILE disbursing generous handouts in the Budget ("Budget for 'a better Singapore'"; yesterday), the Government should drive home the point that the people and businesses here have a role in working with it to tackle the problems we face.

Otherwise, the ever-increasing assistance to them could be taken for granted over time. The Government should make it clear that some of these measures are not to be taken as permanent features of future Budgets.

The Budget debate is also a good occasion to do a performance review for the past years. Any huge under- or over-provision in past Budgets should be explained and discussed.

For example, if we had an under-provision for public housing in the past, we need to know how much to make good for. Also, if we do not plan to make good the entire deficit in this fiscal year, there should be a timeline for the restitution.

Likewise, it is good to point out if we are going to have a very significant outlay this year, but the benefits of which would be apparent only in future years.

The refinement would enable a more accurate monitoring of the financial accountability of each fiscal year.

Ng Ya Ken