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MPs to pay $250 a year for permit to park at Parliament House

All Members of Parliament (MPs), including Non-Constituency and Nominated MPs will have to pay $250 a year for a permit to park at Parliament House for official business.

This was announced by the Parliament on Friday to media on Friday (Nov 30).

According to media reports, elected MPs can use the permit to park in any Housing Board (HDB) carpark, including season parking lots, when they do constituency work but they will have to pay the prevailing short-term parking charges through the electronic parking system or the Parking.SG mobile app.

It is not explained clearly by the Parliament circular as to what it meant by the elected MPs able to use the permit to park but yet still have to pay the prevailing short-term parking charges. In Channel News Asia's report, it merely repeated the statement without explaining how it works.

Elected MPs have been paying $1 a day for parking fees

It was earlier reported that elected Members of Parliament (MPs) pay only S$365 for an annual HDB carpark permit. This works out to S$1 per day parking at HDB carparks. The huge concession is supposed to allow them to park at HDB estates when doing constituency work and at Parliament House too.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) said in June this year, 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. It also added that Non-constituency MPs and Nominated MPs are not given this permit, however, they can park at the restricted staff carpark at Parliament House for free.

In comparison, HDB residents pay a monthly parking charge is S$80 for surface car parks and S$110 for sheltered ones (that is, S$960 and S$1,320 annually), which means elected MPs currently just pay just one-third of what residents pay for one year. And that's not all. elected MPs were paying $260 prior in 2016.

Review likely in light of public sentiment

Straits Times in its report, quotes an MND spokesman in response to its query, saying that the Government reviews carpark charges regularly and added that the new $250 parking permit is "based on MPs' average annual parking usage at Parliament House, and pegged to Parliament House's public carpark rate".

While ST did not reveal its question in its report, but one can assume that the paper had asked the reason for the fee review by MND.

The government was lambasted with negative remarks from citizens, online and on news forums when it was revealed that the elected MPs only paid $365 for carpark fees while implementing carpark fees for teachers who park at the primary, secondary schools and junior colleges.
 
Since August this year, all teachers are asked to pay a monthly parking fee of S$75 for an uncovered lot and S$100 for a sheltered lot for parking their cars in schools. During the school holidays, the rate is lowered to S$15 and S$20 for an uncovered lot and sheltered lot, respectively. Prior to this, no parking fees were imposed on the teachers.

Public anger was further stroked in response to apathetic remarks PAP Ministers or MPs about the new policy.  Then-Minister of Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said in April this year that "Singapore system is fair. Everyone can be expected to be treated fairly.” while MP Seah Kian Peng, who is also the CEO of NTUC Fairprice said years of free parking is equal to hidden perks and this has "tarred teachers with an 'unclean' wage"

With election looming next year, such a move is likely intended to pacify public sentiment even though no clear explanation was made for the reason behind the fee review.