The Online Citizen

Chiam See Tong: Budget 2011 does not address country’s major problems

March 01
14:30 2011

The following is Mr Chiam See Tong’s response to the Budget 2011.


This is an election Budget.

The strategy is that of the US use during the pacific war against the Japanese whenever they want to take an island, the Americans will bombard that island with heavy artillery from the sea and dropped bombs from the air until the island’s defenses have become ineffective, then the Americans land their troops to physically occupy the island.

Similarly the ruling party will soften the ground and the constituencies with attractive goodies and sweeteners during the election period, even more so on the actual election year.

This year’s budget did not address the major problems that our country is still currently facing particularly rising cost inflation.

Cost of living (General)


Public housing, healthcare, transport, basic foodstuffs, and even ERP has increased drastically but the salary of the lower and middle income earners have not increased to the extent and most of the Singaporeans is undergoing turmoil in the current situation.

The government should take a drastic step to lower the cost of living. The government should review the GST and may consider abolishing GST for some basic necessities.

It should control the influx of foreigners so that Singaporeans have more employment opportunities.

Minimum salary levels for Singaporeans should be recommended by the trade unions depending on the cost of living.

Public Housing

HDB should change the policy to sell the HDB flats at cost-plus pricing instead of market based pricing. Any grants or subsidy granted is just a shot term solution.The government should do more in making the public housing affordable for the Singaporeans. Is there any review for the pricing of public housing under consideration by Ministry of National Development?

Medical Care

It is ever increasing.

Despite all the top-ups in the medisave account, it is insufficient for a lower or even middle income to manage the health cost.

Not enough beds in the hospital, long waiting time for appointments and walk in are some of the common problem the public are being faced on day to day basis.

Does the government have any concrete plans to improve on these services?

How is the government going to tackle the ever rising healthcare cost?

I would expect the healthcare cost to be lowered and be affordable to our citizens rather than catering to well off foreign patients who inevitably raise up the cost of medical care.

Chiam See Tong

1st March 2011

  • doctorwho

    singles still can’t buy new flat, sad :(
    as if, we didn’t pay taxes and we still have to take care of parents.

  • Jason

    More and more prosperous,but more and more becoming sick.
    What an irony!

  • How?

    A lot of Singaporeans having problems cannot get help. Help by MPs at the level
    of parkings, town counsel issues, small matters. No time to think about how current policies will harm us further as
    we have to work and work to not lose our jobs..

  • vermilionbrush

    Gratifying to note that Mr Chiam See Tong, our veteran politician, has raised the bread-and-butter issue of lost employment opportunities for Singaporeans. I would like to draw readers attention to a letter in the Straits Times, page A23, where Ms Laurelle Ho asked that we should have limits to foreign bosses bringing in kinsmen from their village or country (at the expense of Singaporeans) into the companies they work for.If we have quotas for housing estates, why not quotas here too. I am wondering which bank or banks are guilty of this. Thank goodness, this is finally coming out into the open.

  • Steve Wu

    The present taxation system is even more lopsided and insidious than some ardent critics have suggested.

    The GST is designed to be broad-based and heavily dependent on mass consumption. While it may be true that a richer individual pays more consumption tax (GST) than a poorer individual due to the former’s spending patterns, how much more can any one individual consume to make a difference at the national level, in absolute terms?

    Singapore is a tax haven for the very rich. There is hardly any tax for which they really cared about. There is no tax on foreign incomes, no capital gains tax, no estate duties.

    I am reminded of Goh Chok Tong who doesn’t know how to zero rate basic necessities (food, clothing, etc) because he cannot define “luxurious” items. I hope he will reflect on his blunder because MAS has done it for the financial products since GST was first introduced. Most financial products (except gold) are zero rated for GST. Goh Chok Tong is the current chairman of MAS.

    One who takes from the rich to give to the poor is a Hero; one who takes from the poor to give to the rich is a ZERO. The PAP cannot now absolve itself from accountability since it has created and perpetuated the tax system in the first place.

  • Orang Miskin

    Singapore belongs to Singaporeans, not the PAP. What we do with our country, whether we want it to progress at a slower more sensible pace, is our unchallengeable right, ours alone. There is no other way. If the PAP thinks otherwise and wishes to abrogate to itself that right, then it needs to go back to the people. No half promise, no false promise just for this election and then going back to the same story – with all the already proven failed policies and a total disregard for their adverse impact on suffering Singaporeans. The PAP has failed with its foreigners policy, it has failed to bridge the income gap, it has failed to provide proper healthcare especially for the elderly, it has a set a bad example re pay (no minimum wages, extravagant wages for ministers!), it has made itself unaccountable for the country’s reserves.

  • GST help the poor??

    So how come so many pap members do not know the basic of elementary economics.
    Everywhere else in the world GST is known to be the the most regressive tax you can impose on the poor.
    They spent a far higher percentage of their income on essentials,like food.
    GST help the rich,PERIOD.
    Back to school,guys…
    We are indeed becoming a tax haven for the RICH and INFAMOUS.

  • masterservant

    Pls note most of our roads and highways were built with HIGH CEO and high road tax and today, its paid by high ERP, so, why is gov expenditure rising. Even today, our high transport fares and cpf is used to built the MRT.

    What the people should ASK is, WHY IS CPF not paying the INFLATION rates we’re getting. How many singaporeans are “still” financing their housing loans via CPF and with the pittance they’re getting, 2.6% or less, the interest is used for paying our HDB loan, minus the principle.

    Please note your mortgage with HDB is always larger and with the added interest, will make it much more higher, compared to your total sum in your CPF, which is always smaller, so how can 2.6% paid by CPF board to your CPF be enough to pay for your HDB flat mortgage interest, ALONE.

    How many singaporeans have more than 20k in special account ?


    People should ” ASK ” WHAT ABOUT INFLATION ?


    Remember this, INFLATION will rise FURTHER in future.

  • fpc

    there was a pig mp trying to shoot down LTK.

    the problem is the pigs’ policies lowered salary and depressed salary for everybody except the rich.

    the 800 dollars rebate from the govt is not enough to compensate.

  • loo

    Brace yourself for life after this GE,
    they will surely push ahead with targets on immigration, GDP, and so called inflation aid like fix price of rice for 6 months.

  • vermilionbrush

    Someone should asked PAP MP Christopher de Souza what is 7 percent GST on a Gucci bag and what is 7 percent GST on a vegetable-cum-ikan bilis plate from Economic Rice at our foodcourts. The former is peanuts for the rich given to satisfying their wants; the latter weighs a ton to people trying to keep body and soul intact.

    The diminishing of the importance of progressive taxation, and seeking to recover it from a consumption tax, is not such a great idea. If the progressive taxation is deemed to fall hardest on the middle class, then shift and increase it at the top earners’ end. There is nothing to apologise for using it to redistribute income. Just remind the very rich: In the event of social instability who stands to lose the most – the 3-romer in Tampinmes or the one living in a glass house in Sentosa Cove? People cannot celebrate widening inequalities and not be mindful of its social consequences.

    Furthermore, bring back the Estate Duty Tax. I am baffled as to whom its abolitiion in 2008 is designed to benefit.

  • ineed2eataREALpuig

    doctorwho 1 March 2011
    singles still can’t buy new flat, sad :(
    as if, we didn’t pay taxes and we still have to take care of parents
    actually, truthfooly..our parents can really managed to take care of theirselvews since they raised us as ADULTs…
    unfortunately the pap party assumed our parents are too stupid to take care of their retirement cpf savins
    $ that leekingyou and son/dotter helped themselves on OUR cpf savin$…
    you peep see…
    you pay pay pay bus/mrt fares even if you dropped dead..
    your nextofkin will hav to pay for your funeral xpenses as well…
    ow much leftover$ we got?
    as you can further elobrate ow leekingyou/son inc calculate themselves
    as mentioned you THINK leekingyou/son inc needs to carry their wallets as they go out..includin organsin sunday branch bbq noon tea?
    even their owned related funeral is also bear by OUR ahkongs…
    so your honourable mr chaim..when can we get to lunch FREE abalone?

  • pointer

    How to make more able SIngaporeans stand out and kick out the Papayas. I seen some articles writers here are much better than our Papayas MPs. One of them is Leong. Please come out and stand up for Singapore.

  • loo

    All you need is courage to stand up bec
    you know what is right from wrong. Rest of us will support if you tell us HOW to REALLY correct the existing wrongs. You must make sense, in practical terms.

  • pointer

    This foreign talent immigration at a so large scale and speed for a small red dot is indeed a very risky social enginering gamble by our good old man that think Singapore belong to him and his children! It also mean that something seriously wrong is committed by the papayas and they have no balls to admit their mistakes but try to cover it up. . Our good old man once said he do not like to gamble. Over my dead body will ever a casino be opened in Singapore. But this curse had happened to his loved one instead. SO the heaven is watching us! ALl papayas would be punished very soon.

    This foreign talent immigration is a elitism game or politics from papayas to entrench themselves so that they can continue to earn millions for themselves and cronies.

    All True blue Singaporeans can see these so called “quality candidate” MPs(80), what they can do is keep quiet and said “yes Sirs”

  • ineed2eataREALpuig

    All True blue Singaporeans can see these so called “quality candidate” MPs(80), what they can do is keep quiet and said “yes Sirs”
    noped the socalled elected 80 mps..did not hav the oportunity to say AYE capitan on the casinos issues…
    and the 1 who says over my DEAD body is the 1 who dropped dead and hav a farewll party in istarna…


    what we need here is a little bit more of democracy and less of self-declared meritocracy by the ruling elites.

    if meritocracy is truly practised here,then, i dare say,VERY FEW OF THE very-low-productivity FTs could have it it here and cannibalise our jobs based on UNFIAR WAGE DETERMINATION.

    So too would those non-performing or poor-performing MIW-scholars whose sole concern is to SELF-SERVE rather SERVING THE PUBLIC.

    it is hypocritical to expound MERITOCRACY when grave errors and failures of the elites themselves are overlooked and even rewarded with ‘PROMOTION’?

  • Reasonable Citizen

    Would all this have happened if only we had more alternatives in parliament to speak for us? Time and again we Singaporeans did ourselves in and now we are in this situation. There is only so much two peoples’ representatives can do.

    Mr Chiam had already asked for the cost of building flats in the mid-80′s. Until today nothing has changed. They even had the cheek in the mid-80′s to challenge Mr Chiam to built a block of flats and prove it to them, as if no one knows what is economy of scale.

  • shix

    Are we treated like beggars or what? I keep hearing the stupid parliament talk saying that the budget this year is very generous. What is $800 of 1 million? 0.08%! If that’s very generous, we have been extremely extremely generous to pay our ministers what they don’t deserve!

  • Five Point Seven Million People

    5.7 million. this is the number of people crowding the MRT in 2017, when we will have our next elections.


  • Tom

    There should be no GST on fresh and uncooked food and cooking oil.

    There can still be GST on cooked food, prepared meals, ready-to-cook meals, and sugar.

    There should be no GST on school uniforms, school textbooks and books on the MOE/school reading list.

    There should be no GST on prescribed medication.

    This will help many low income households.

  • Naive

    Mr Chiam,

    Budget statement aside. The theme ‘For Middle and Working Class’in the upcoming elections? I hope this is a joke. If it is meant for the Upper Class and Elites to ‘work’ for the ‘middle and working class’, the theme becomes outright patronising (just like the PAPa). If it is meant to be for SDA to ‘work’ for the ‘middle and working class’ then so much for People in SPP and Justice in SJP and National in SMNO. Outright divisive as it is reduces the significance of the school of hard-knocks wealthy, the powerful wealthy and the elite-wealthy (the elitist can exclude, no problem), also it excludes the underclass who are dying to have their voices heard beyond the consumer grumbles of the working class.

    I really really hope it is a joke. Big Big advanced April Fools’ Joke.

  • red_dot

    That’s right! Singaporeans must be given full rights to vote at any election. Scrap the Peoples Association, NTUC, Resident’s Committee, and all committees that are subordinated to the PAP! Abolish MM, SM, Minister Without Portfolios, Minister Of State posts etc. Abolish GRC and remove appointments of NMP. Free the whole society of Singaporeans!
    The Election Department must be autonomous!

    I believe the Electoral Boundary Review Committee are the same people in the PAP cabinet unless I am convinced otherwise.
    I believe the boundary changes are meant to disadvantage the opposition parties unless I am convinced otherwise.
    I believe the GRC is nothing but to cripple the opposition. I am not convinced that it is not!
    I believe it is good for Singapore to have a two-party political system!
    I believe the Ministers are excessively over-priced in serving their country! I believe they are not much worse then the Wall Street bankers
    where they think they deserve it!
    I believe the PAP ministers are generally incompetent politicians although they may have a good academic qualification.
    I believe it’s time to CHANGE!

    I am a Singapore and Singapore is also my home!

  • eaglefly

    do not fall into the trap of 9 smc seats, “allowed” by the ruling gov, this is hogwash.

    9 seats does not CHANGE this gov, WAKE UP




  • judy

    Country’s major problems all knows already, only left those PAP suporters still blur blur or act blur. And those dont know politic still hanging on the air.
    Chiam See Tong is clever, now talk so much on parliament also no use. Wait for the GE rally, we can see what his idea & how PAP oppose it.

  • Pingback: Daily SG: 2 Mar 2011 « The Singapore Daily

  • SamaSama

    Throughtout history, everywhere in the world faces the same so-called problem. But it is the ignorant that will have to face this problem. The wise don’t.

    No use blaming and whining. Just that the world is full of ignorant fools who really enjoyed being fooled.

  • Mel

    honestly, while we are all “ranting” here.. i wonder whether those living hand to mouth day by day in SG will even think abt politics… and whether they know how their votes could count in at least giving a shot at change…

    all tat crap abt Opp being not ready… No good Opp etc..

    everyone needs an opportunity to prove themselves & their worth right? When LKY started governing SG… was he “tried & tested & PROVEN”?

    still he got the chance did he not?

    IMO, we will soon come to a point in time whereby a change is good… any type of change rather than the current status quo.

    A country so rich on paper… tat it doesnt even makes it citizens feel like they are invested in with the country’s future… sigh.

  • Getting Fed Up

    Spore is a country for the rich. They make tons of money from property, company shares, investments, foreign income… and do NOT pay a single cent of tax!!!!! The poor and middle class pay taxes on their income because they do not have capital to make capital gains tax! They pay even more on indirect taxes on GST, petrol tax,alcohol duties, ERP, COE…. These are nothing for the rich but a burden for the poor and middle class. The govt keeps saying they want to help the poor but for every $ they give out, they take back $2. On top of that, how many Sporeans are having a hard time looking for a job when they are past 40? look at the tons of employmt passes given out to those earning above $2,500. these jobs could have been taken up by locals.

  • gdfgdg

    Price of cigarette, food & drink has increased again. Siow liao la.. Budget money havent take yet..

  • Magi

    It is frankly people like de Souza that turns me off about the current parliament. There is no golden, magical rule in the world that states GST will eternally be “beneficial” to the poor. (However that works to begin with). So is asking for a review after a few years, so wrong?

    He responded so strongly, so sarcastically. As with so many things here, issues must reach breaking point, some Singaporeans must have permanent liabilities inflicted, before the PAP is willing to “listen.”

  • pointer

    The Finance minister said in parliment they going to pay the senior civic servant and themselves 3 months bonus as they had a big GDP last year.

    THey are really blood suckers. What have these GDP growth have any benefits for most Singaporeans!!!

  • Robert Teh

    The current system of taxation is a tax-and-recover system.

    Using fear tactic like avoiding danger of welfarism, the whole system is run on “Tax and Recover all possible costs” system. There are all sorts of taxes from personal income tax, corporate tax to GST, ERPs, Development charge, stamp duties, fees and charges.

    Billions were regularly made from land sales and all sorts of direct and indirect taxes. Through privatizations infrastructures and assets originally paid for by people were sold to privatized entities for billions but people have to pay all over again for capital investments.

    If government is open and accountable it should have taken into accounts such huge profits already made instead of raising GSTs.

    The fact that there were so much pre-election goodies to entice voters to vote for incumbents just before election time, is evidence enough that government has been making huge profits from commercializing government for its own hidden purposes like paying millions to their own incumbent elites called talents instead of serving the people.

    Let the truths come out. May be the success stories should be called “World’s Greatest Circus”, “Hard Truths untold” or “Good Griefs”