Despite the Straits Times explaining very clearly that the budget with many one-off items is meant to prepare for the long term, WP's Low Thia Kiang accuses the govt of "cash giveaways were an election ploy and that these one-time cash handouts were only a temporary way of alleviating Singaporeans' financial burdens."
Come on Low who are you trying to bluff? Our PM, has explained that the budget is for the long term not short term. I guess the PAP has done a thorough job to think through this budget, they did nothing much since the Asian crisis occurred and people lost their jobs in big numbers - now 8 years later, our highly efficient PAP govt thinks there is an urgent need to help Singaporeans. It is just coincidence that this goodie budget coincides with the impending elections. After we collect our goodies this time we should all be better off in the long run.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that thinks long term and does not practise pork barrel politics. Once we get those goodies, we will all start paying back in the long term, in the form of higher ERPs, fees and GST.
Singapore PM Lee says budget not vote-buying scheme
SINGAPORE, March 1 (Reuters) - Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday that generous cash handouts announced in the government's 2006/07 budget were not just designed to win votes. Rebutting opposition charges that the budget was a vote-winning ploy to boost the ruling party's new leadership ahead of a potential early election in the coming months, Lee said the budget was meant to prepare Singapore citizens for the long-term challenges of globalisation.
"This budget is not a mere Hong Bao to get votes," Lee said in a speech to parliament, referring to the Chinese tradition of giving money in red envelopes to the young during the Lunar New Year.
"This budget makes the right long-term commitments so that the government wins not just the next election but also the mandate to govern over successive terms," Lee said.
On Feb. 17 Lee announced a S$2.6 billion ($1.6 billion) budget spending package flush with handouts, including a S$200 handout for every adult Singaporean, discounts on housing and utilities charges and up to S$400 for all army conscripts.
But Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang, who holds a seat in parliament, said this week the cash giveaways were an election ploy and that these one-time cash handouts were only a temporary way of alleviating Singaporeans' financial burdens.
Low also accused the government of repeatedly giving out money before elections, only to take it back after the polls.
Rebuking these allegations, Lee said the government has spent about S$10.5 billion on measures to assist the poor since 2001.
The lavish budget, which also included huge investments into research and development, is expected to drag the city-state's fiscal position to a deficit of S$2.9 billion in 2006/07 -- the biggest deficit in at least 20 years.
But Lee said the fiscal position was sustainable as the government had accrued funds from previous years.
Lee -- whose ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has had a stranglehold on parliament since independence in 1965 -- was appointed prime minister in August 2004 and is expected to call early elections this year.