In Parliament yesterday (4 Jun), Member of Parliament for MacPherson SMC Tin Pei Ling noted that Singapore is among the top countries in terms of relief given per citizen or permanent resident, at S$23,225 per capita.
While a coarse estimation, the figures give a good sense of the Government’s determination in supporting Singaporeans and the country through this crisis, she said.
She said that she believes it is necessary to draw on the reserves to weather the current COVID-19 crisis.
However, she also cautioned about how to balance sustaining help to those in need and not depleting the reserves for future generations.
“We have a duty to use this pot of gold wisely and make sure that we put back what we took once we can, so that our children and their children will continue to have this asset to fall back on when they face the crisis of their generation,” she said.
“Will the Government assure us that it will do so? How does it plan to do so?”On her Facebook page, Ms Tin also reiterated that the budgetary support per capita in Singapore is S$23,225. This is higher than Japan or the US, she wrote.
“On per capita basis, Singapore tops the chart around the world. Based on the figures, I thought that this demonstrates our government’s determination in helping our people and seeing Singapore through the crisis,” she added.
Netizens asking how MP Tin obtained her numbers
Meanwhile, many netizens are not impressed with the S$23,225 per capita figure quoted by Ms Tin in Parliament. K Leong Lim sarcastically asked when he can receive this amount.
Others feel Ms Tin is misleading Singaporeans by mentioning the S$23,225 per capita amount in Parliament.
Some pointed out that the $600 payout they have received from the government so far would not enable them to survive.
Another netizen, Choco Lim, chided her for glorifying how much the government has done for Singaporeans. She said, “Just be straight with your numbers. Don’t glorify to boast how much government has done because Singapore is already world famous for not doing many things right with no hindsight and foresight to cause the immense spread of the covid virus here. We are not naive. Stop pulling wool over our eyes.”
Not all netizens were negative towards Ms Tin. Calling those who questioned Ms Tin “lunatic” and “small minded”, Anthony Teo said most Singaporeans are grateful and have benefitted from the “lavish treatment” by the government.
In any case, Ms Tin did reply to those negative comments on her Facebook page. She said her intention is “to show, compared to other countries including advanced economies, how much budgetary support Singapore government has put in to help Singaporeans.”
“It is not to diminish the pain Singaporeans endure,” she added.
She explained that she took the entire package value given by the government divided by citizen population size. “This is the same concept as GDP per Capita,” she said.
“This calculation is only a rough estimate meant to illustrate how determined the Singapore government is in combating the pandemic.”
She said that her point was not about calculating cash payments but to compare the strength of support given by Singapore government with other countries.
“And that the government has been able to do so, without taking loans,” she added.