$4.3b expressway vs 18 “Kueh lapis”?

By Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article “Marina Coastal Expressway to open on Dec 29” (Channel NewsAsia, Nov 13).


Costliest $4.3b expressway

It states that “Singapore’s 10th and costliest highway, on a per kilometre basis, will open on Sunday, December 29 at 9am.

The S$4.3 billion Marina Coastal Expressway will be connected to the Central Business District by interim roads”.

My thoughts on the expressway

When Terry Xu, Executive Editor of theonlinecitizen messaged me as to whether I have anything to say about the $4.3 billion underground expressway, my first thought was:

Balance and proportion?

Everything is about balance and proportion. Sure, its good to have

Sacred cows?

… reserves stashed away for a rainy day

… Budget surpluses instead of deficits

… be self-reliant and not have a clutch mentality, etc.

18 Assistance schemes (Kueh lapis)?

My next thought was the news report that we have 18 assistance schemes (like “kueh lapis”) to help needy Singaporeans.

Only 1 scheme that really helps most people?

When I read the list of schemes, it dawned upon me that if ;

  • you are not buying a house (Additional & Special CPF Housing Grants),
  • you are not sick (Medifund, Community Health Assist Scheme, Intermediate & Long Term Care Subsidies),
  • you don’t have young children studying (Kindergarten & Student Care Subsidies, Childcare Subsidies, MOE Financial Assistance Scheme, CDC/CCC Bursary for Post-secondary Students, MOE Bursary for Post-secondary Students),
  • you are not disabled or destitute (Public Assistance, Schemes for Persons with Disabilities, Programmes for Persons with Disabilities), unemployed or below age 35 (Workfare Income Supplement),

Only two of the 18 assistance schemes may apply to you – Comcare and GST Voucher – Cash, U-Save, Medisave (which are supposed to only offset the GST increase.)

Only $102m to help the needy?

And how much did Comcare give in the last year? – only about $102 million against the subject $4.3 billion expressway. That is a ratio of about 1 is to 42.16.

What $4.3b can do for the needy?

To what extent will the lives of Singaporeans be better off by having this expressway, compared to what some of the $4.3 billion can do for poorer Singaporeans?

In this regard, I estimate that all the 18 schemes may only total to about $2 billion a year.

Never spend a single cent on healthcare, CPF and HDB?

Moreover, this may have to be analysed in the context that from a cashflow perspective, the Government does not spend a single cent on Healthcare, CPF and HDB.

Party Against People?

So, like a friend recently said to me – we have become a Party Against People. After writing the above, I can’t help but agree with him.


Edit note – ratio of 1 is to 4215.7 is changed to 1 to 42.16.

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