Photo from NTUC's blog

Ng Chee Meng says “everyone expected to be treated fairly” but MPs and teachers pay different parking rates

Speaking to delegates from the Singapore Teachers’ Union (STU) on having the teachers to pay for parking in April this year, then-Minister of Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said that “Singapore system is fair. Everyone can be expected to be treated fairly.”

As many should be aware by now, it was announced in March this year that teachers at all national schools and junior colleges will have to pay when they park their vehicles on the school premises starting from 1 August onwards, following a review by the Minister of Education (MOE) on car parking fees.

To park in uncovered lots, teachers will have to pay for $75 a month during the school term and $15 a month during the school holidays in June, November and December. While, those who wish to park in sheltered lots, have to pay for $100 a month during the school term and $20 a month during school holidays.

So what this means is a teacher will have to pay $720 a year for an uncovered lot or $960 a year for a covered lot.

Everyone can be expected to be treated fairly

One of the delegates in the April’s dialogue session brought up the issue of the carpark fees, noting to Ng that while she agrees that it is time for teachers to pay something for parking, consideration must be given to the money teachers spend on teaching materials – all out of their own pocket.

Ng replied to her that the decision process, which took him two years, was difficult.

“I see the respect our public has for our teachers,” and that if he could decide with his heart, he would fully agree that teachers should not be paying parking charges.

According to the NTUC’s report of the dialogue session, Ng said that he had to look at the bigger system when the Auditor-General’s Officer and the Public Service Division imposed certain rules on MOE.

He iterated: “If we think with our heads, Singapore system is fair. Everyone can be expected to be treated fairly.”

Ng said that to address the issue of teachers paying out of pocket for teaching materials, MOE can consider topping up the School Operating Funds.

MPs pay only $365 for annual permit

It was revealed this Monday that elected Members of Parliament (MPs) pay S$365 for an annual permit that allows them to park at Housing & Development Board (HDB) car parks when doing constituency work and at Parliament House when on official business.

Ministry of National Development said that the rate is a proportion of the prevailing HDB season parking rate since MPs do not park overnight or full day at their constituencies, adding that the permit fee was increased from S$260 in 2016.

The ministry noted that this rate is about a third of prevailing HDB season parking rates, saying, “We will continue to review and update the parking rate regularly to keep pace with prevailing HDB parking rates.”

Season parking for residents at HDB’s parking lots is $80 per month for uncovered parking lots and $110 per month for covered lots, which means $960 and $1320 for the year worth of parking fees.

Members of Public voice displeasure over apparent inequality

Commenting on TOC’s Facebook page on the MND’s revelation of MP’s annual parking permit, readers voice their displeasure and contempt on the apparent inequality between MPs and teachers, along with citizens.

Meyer Tan wrote, ‘Goes to show they are unaware how much normal citizens are paying per annum for their season parking at their car park, let alone how much more parking charges a normal citizens are paying in public car parks, to justify their bragging about MPs are also fairly paying for $365/annum for all/any public car parks on this island.”

Goh Rayson wrote, “Teachers don’t park overnight too. Ownself-checkmate-ownself! If MPs cannot afford to pay for parking while discharging their duties, don’t drive! There’s always Ofo and Mobike even though Obike has ceased operations.”

Clarkson Lim wrote, “Citizens should also be allowed to buy an annual HDB season parking for a year at $365 regardless of estate. Why so special? This country will still be running with or without you guys. Don’t you guys realise this FACT?!? You guys are the servants of the people, you are paid by the people. You are not above the law. Everyone should be able to have this too. Why the double standard again?!?”