End cheques by 2025 – yet another unnecessary deadline

What is it with the government and the setting of arbitrary timelines?

In 1984, there was the deadline of achieving the Swiss standard of living by 1999. Whether this was ever achieved remains debatable and there is now no further mention of this “standard” from official channels. Does the government consider this goal achieved? Or perhaps, have we realised that the goal was not really a realistic one to begin with and have quietly dropped it from the agenda?

There’s also the goal (no pun intended) of Singapore qualifying to play in the World Cup by 2010. By setting this agenda, have we actually scored an “own goal”? Not only did we not meet this milestone in 2010, fast forward 8 years we are still nowhere near meeting this objective.

Here’s what I don’t understand – why is there a need to set these arbitrary deadlines?

The latest in the string of deadlines is the aim to eradicate the usage of cheques by 2025 Why 2025? How is this timeline set and why? Besides, why do we even need to do this? Has the government thought of how this might penalise small cash based businesses or casual labourers? Small scale businesses may rely on cheques or cash to pay their casual workers or suppliers. If you take away the cheque option, you might then put them in the vulnerable position of having to carry large amounts of cash on their person! An unnecessary risk!

Besides, has Minister Ong Ye Kung spared a thought for the older generation who may not be as ready to navigate the world of online payments. Small businesses or market stallholders may not have the facilities to facilitate online payments.

While I understand the efficiency and convenience that comes with being able to transact instantly online, I do not think that it is fair to impose a deadline on when cheques need to be eradicated. This is a method of payment that will eventually come to a natural end anyway. Why forcibly hasten its termination?

Is this yet another unnecessary deadline?