SINGAPORE — Red Dot United (RDU), a Singapore political party, has suggested that while there were some positive aspects to Budget 2023, there is still much more that can be done to support Singaporeans and local businesses, and to strengthen key institutions to build more resilient people.
This was said in response to the Budget 2023 delivered by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on 14 February, which was hyped as a “Valentine’s Day present to all.”
While there were indeed many goodies for Singaporeans in the budget, RDU found that the measures announced in this budget came across as piecemeal and scattered solutions to complex and very serious problems facing Singaporeans and local businesses in the foreseeable future.
RDU raised concerns about the impact of increasing grants to help young couples buy resale flats or secure BTO flats, as it may inflate housing demand, cause the prices of resale flats to rise further, and contribute to deforestation. RDU also noted that Budget 2023 did not go far enough in doing more to make the lives of Singaporeans better and to give more help for micro and small businesses, which are grappling with rising costs and struggling with GST hikes.
The party asked if the $12 billion, which was not used from the drawdown of Past Reserves, the monies which the Government is not obliged to return, could have been used to delay the GST increase for 2-3 years.
“The GST Voucher Schemes have an expiry date, while the GST increase itself does not. The 8% increase (and the 9% increase next year) will have to be borne by all Singaporeans, from the senior citizens to the baby in the womb. This is why RDU is against the increase of GST, especially at a time like this. We have explained in the past about how we can better use other revenue streams without increasing the GST.”
While RDU found some bright sparks in Budget 2023, such as higher taxes for new luxury cars and big properties, the party urged the Government to carefully consider the policy proposals put forward by RDU on keeping public housing affordable and accessible for current and future generations of Singaporeans, providing more protections for workers in the gig economy, improving Medifund to provide support for needy Singaporeans, and helping local businesses lower costs.
It also claims that the Finance Minister has taken up parts of some of the policy suggestions offered by the party in its manifesto presented in the last General Election.
In its manifesto, RDU had asked for:
- More protections for workers in the gig economy.
- Improvement to Medifund to provide support for needy Singaporeans, as well as assistance in settling huge medical bills that can cripple the lives of average Singaporean families.
- Pathways to be provided for SMEs to partner GLCs/MNCs to venture overseas and provide risk capital in the form of debt instruments, quasi-equity, and equity alongside technical assistance.
- Paid parental leave to be increased from the present 16+2 weeks to 6 months (26 weeks), of which at least eight weeks need to be undertaken by either parent.
RDU also highlighted the need to strengthen key institutions with the core values of Fairness, Accountability, Integrity, and Transparency to build more resilient people, given the many uncertainties and risks that the world faces today.
The party believes that a combination of funding, a skilled workforce, collaboration, infrastructure, and supportive regulatory environment is essential for the successful development of the R&D sector.
RDU emphasized the need to set the right priorities to help families lower the cost of living, lower healthcare costs, improve education, create stable jobs, increase employees’ income, and help lower business costs such as rental and transportation.
The party believes that the people will be better off and more resilient with other policy options that can help them, rather than relying only on Government support year after year to cope with inflation.