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Budget Recommendation: Slash defence spending by $1B and increase growth dividends by 65%

The following is an excerpt of an article published on March 4, 2011 by Ng E-Jay on his blog, Sgpolitics.net.


Much has been written about Budget 2011 and its shortfalls. By far, the most comprehensive critiques of Budget 2011 can be found in articles written by Mr Leong Sze Hian on TOC’s website, as well as on SDP’s website (see herehere and here). SDP’s Shadow Budget, the biggest academic initiative ever undertaken by any opposition party concerning the nation’s budget, can be downloaded here.

The purpose of my article is to propose that defence spending be slashed by $1 billion and the savings used to enhance the Growth Dividends given to all Singaporeans.

Why slash defence spending? Our defence spending is very high. As a percentage of GDP, Singapore’s defence spending ranks amongst the highest in the world, out of proportion to our geopolitical situation.

Of course, it should be noted that there is a limit as to how much defence spending can be slashed. There has to be continual purchase, upgrading and maintenance of equipment, as well as adequate compensation for NSFs, NSMen and military staff. Singapore’s obligations under the various defence treaties signed with our allies must also be upheld, and this constitutes a permanent draw on resources.

The Government has budgeted a total of $12.1 billion for defence spending in the new fiscal year. This is an increase of 5.4% from $11.5 billion last year. Is there a need for defence spending to keep trending upwards?

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