Friday, March 16, 2012

"Singapore’s Defense Policy: Essential or Excessive?"

Singapore spends more than any other nation in South-East Asia on defense. Singapore has the 4th highest defense spending per capita in the world. As a percentage of govt expediture, Singapore's defense spending is even higher than Israel. In absolute terms, Israel spends more but balances its spending with social spending.

"The Defense Ministry budget for 2009 and 2010 was NIS 50 billion in each of those two years. That works out to about 15% of the national budget, which is very high. Of course, we have become accustomed to that. Since its earliest days, Israel has always devoted a large part of its budget to security, mainly to the Israel Defense Forces  (the military )....." - The Shekel Stops Here[Link]

Singapore's budget allocation for defense is 24.4% [Link] vs 15% for Israel shows the severity of the imbalance in govt spending shaped by 4 decades of an ideological extreme under a semi-authoritarian rule. Ordinary citizens face extreme parsimony in social and healthcare spending as cost of living and income gap rises while defense spending increases even as the defense spending of our neighbors trend downwards in recent years[Malaysia Slashing Budget for Defense]. This is neither acceptable or sustainable.

 I have seen SDP's shadow budget and they suggest that we cut defense budget by 20% and increase NSmen pay to $1200.  But why 20%? Given the lack of information in this area, I think it is unwise that opposition parties jump in and start proposing the amount we should cut from the defense budget. In my previous posting on this topic, I discussed Ng Eng Hen's reply to MPs who questioned the defense budget including MPs from the PAP.  Minister Ng's reply was rather generic and superficial - did not get down to the underlying reasons for our high defense expenditure.

I researched this topic and found an interesting  masters thesis written by an SAF Officer that provides a good summary of how our defense policy has evolved over the years and how the purpose of defense expenditure has changed since we gained our independence.

"However, the magnitude of the country’s defense expenditure has also led to the occasional raised eyebrow. For example, Singapore’s reported defense budget for 2009 was more than that of Malaysia’s and Indonesia’s put together, which some may find surprising given the relative sizes and populations of these three neighboring countries" - Maj Lee Yi-Jin, "Singapore's Defense Policy : Essential or Excessive"[Link]

Maj Lee explained that our current expenditure level is no longer linked to maintaining security alone but is maintained and increased to expand our international influence
 "The role of Singapore’s defense policy has since evolved alongside changes in the security environment. As the threat of interstate conflict has receded, the significance of Singapore’s defense policy has become increasingly associated with its contributions to Singapore’s non-military instruments of power, and in particular its economic and diplomatic instruments. Framed in terms of Singapore’s national goals, this analysis contends that the primary motivation underlying Singapore’s defense policy has shifted away from a provision of security and towards an increase in the country’s international influence

He further explained that the high expenditure represents a commitment to defense and any reduction will perceived as a change in philosophy which can be interpreted as weakness or "waning commitment" to defense.

Here's the interesting bit from the thesis:

"Singapore’s leaders would appear to have skillfully removed any debate on Singapore’s defense policy from the realm of economic cost-benefit analysis. Instead, the current policy is couched as necessary to maintain the unquantifiable concept of “deterrence”, and to provide the stable environment necessary for foreign investment and productive economic activity. Such arguments are obviously extremely difficult to disprove, leaving the odds heavily stacked--at least for now--in favor of the status quo. Whether this trajectory can be sustained in the longer term will depend on at least three factors: 

(1) the public continuing to buy in to the vulnerability narrative;

(2) sustained public confidence in the military as an efficient and effective use 
of public resource towards reducing that vulnerability; and 

(3) the continued credibility of the political establishment insofar as making decisions that are consistent with the broader public interest"

The govt can keep increasing our defense spending relative to that our our neighbors as long as we buy the "vulnerability narrative" but in actual fact the current level of spending is far more than needed to maintain security. The purpose of our defense spending, according to the thesis, has evolved to become diplomatic instruments of national power, which in turn facilitate an expansion of  Singapore’s international influence.

The question on Singaporeans' mind is what is has been traded off to maintain such a high level of defense spending. As income inequality and poverty rise,  Singaporeans are told that they have to continue to work until an advanced age, and the sick and their families are told to shoulder the rising cost of healthcare, it is time to re-evaluate our spending priorities to maximize the benefits of govt spending for Singaporeans and ensure the long term sustainability of our society. Defense is not just about external threats and international influence. Cohesiveness of our society and the willingness of citizens to die for their country are equally important. If there is discontent, if ordinary Singaporeans think the Singapore Dream is dead, ...and "don't know what they are defending anymore"[Link], no amount of expenditure can bring security to our nation. Govt expenditure has to be properly balanced to achieve long term sustainability. We cannot maintain this level of defense expenditure relative to social spending as the social issues increase in severity and the deleterious effects of social inequality drives a wedge through our society.


unnamed said...

Hi Lucky, thanks for doing up a post on this topic.

I would like to hear your opinion on defense spending in a more global context. Given that we are unofficial allies of the United States and given that a large amount of the defense budget goes into the purchase of weaponry and hardware, how much do you think that defense spending in Singapore has been influenced by pressure from the American military industrial complex, if I may use that term, and perhaps the local version of that (e.g. the ST Group?)

We have been using the concepts of "small state vulnerability" and "increasing international influence" to justify defense policy. Besides, there is also the Singapore story narrative to fall upon if you want to find another excuse to spend more on defense. Perhaps it might be not so politically correct to mention benefits to both local and foreign defense corporations when Singapore's defense spending is increased.

ExtraPie said...

I wrote it before and will write it again :)

The problem with all countries is that there is always a group who wants to expand the military indefinitely and anyone who even dares to question it is a traitor!

The real question is who wants to invade Singapore and what will Singapore do.

If someone wants to invade Singapore it will be for the reason to kill everyone, because there are no other reasons.

So in response to this threat which has a very small % of happening what kind of defense is needed.

What is needed is that you can have some sort of holding action so that the decision makers can then launch some very powerful bombs or nuclear bombs.

There are non-nuclear bombs with the explosive power of small nuclear bombs

The US and Russia both have these types and Singapore could purchase those or build similar ones.

Basically any Singapore defense above the level of having maybe 20-50 powerful bombs and a holding army is just wasteful spending.

But of course there are obviously vested interests that would never appreciate a cut.

So you can't cut the military budget but you can freeze it until it becomes 5-10% of the Governments budget not like now 25% and do not confuse this with % of GDP which is different.

GDP is the total value of the whole economy, the Government does not own the whole economy therefore it is not the same.

Anonymous said...

Japan is also extremely vulnerable being so near to two Communist countries - China and North Korea. But yet, Japan only had a civil defense force for the longest time and could not (by WWII) maintain a professional military to match these two neighboring countries.

Did we see Japan ever being conquered? There are alternative to excessive military spending to prevent wars.

Once again, the PAP vulnerability rhetoric fails and PAP simply exhibits the mindless regurgitation from idea(s) passed down by their charismatic leader LKY.

Anonymous said...

Actually our military is built for offense not defense. That is why we have apache attack helicopters, Leopard tanks and submarines. Our neighbours would not invade us, all they need is to cut off the water and gas supply. I believe this is the real deterrence we are talking about, not so much on invasion.

Anonymous said...

"We cannot maintain this level of defense expenditure relative to social spending as the social issues increase in severity and the deleterious effects of social inequality drives a wedge through our society."
Lucky Tan

As long as the wedge divide 60:40 in favour of PAP at elections and giving PAP 93% seats, what's the issue?

SDP cannot even win any seats, let alone become govt. Shadow budget for what? They better spend their time to plan how to win seats at elections, not shadow budget or what not.

Anonymous said...

"Singapore’s Defense Policy: Essential or Excessive?""

How about ministers' million dollar pay?

Essential or Excessive?

Same answer applies to both questions lah.

Anonymous said...

"Instead, the current policy is couched as necessary to maintain the unquantifiable concept of “deterrence”, and to provide the stable environment necessary for foreign investment and productive economic activity."

Does that remind you the dignity excuse PAP give for their shameful salary ?

"If the annual salary of the Minister of Information, Communication and Arts is only $500,000, it may pose some problems when he discuss policies with media CEOs who earn millions of dollars because they need not listen to the minister's ideas and proposals, hence a reasonable payout will help to maintain a bit of dignity."
- Dr Lim Wee Kiat, PAP MP for Nee Soon GRC, 24

Lye Khuen Way said...

This topic has generated many comments that can be considered taboo !
1) Yes, we actually cannot "defend Singapore" as in WWII,
2) Yes, we have offensive hardware & doctrines that honestly can be a diplomatic minefield,
3) Our only saving grace, is that we volunteered our resources in humantarian relief much like the USA's Peace Corp of days gone by,

Whatever, it is, the amount we spend year-in-year-out in comparison with what we do for our not so rich/ sick / elderly is PATHETIC.

Frankly, I do not feel secure/safe anymore. Am glad that there are renewed plans for Cops-on-wheels and better staffed NPP or NPC.

I belong to that age group, when our parents/grand parents can always rely on that " I will call the mata-mata, if you do not behave" if they needed some discipline. Now ...Sigh !

Anonymous said...

//Frankly, I do not feel secure/safe anymore. Am glad that there are renewed plans for Cops-on-wheels and better staffed NPP or NPC.//

Is that because of all the social ills deriving from the casinos effects? That's the price we pay. Eventually the bad money will flush away the good money. We have not seen anything yet...still early days for the ugliness to show, but some cracks are already quite obvious..suicides, loansharking, menace, and more dismeanour/scandals on sex/rape as the society gets more suppressed and crowded. And what is the price to treat these social ills?

Anonymous said...

(1) the public continuing to buy in to the vulnerability narrative;

I don't buy that and I know many who don't either.
I am surprised WP didn't drill the MIW hard enough.
Maybe they are still warming up, but I really expect more scrutiny in this area from opposition.

Anonymous said...

"I am surprised WP didn't drill the MIW hard enough.
Maybe they are still warming up, but I really expect more scrutiny in this area from opposition."
Anon 16/3/12 20:59

Maybe the opposition need more scrutiny for their future election candidates. Maybe even need to get PI to do it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 16/3/12 21:35 是一只典型的PAP走狗

Anonymous said...

Anon 16/3/12 21:35 不是PAP走狗,是以事论事

Anonymous said...

The next step will be S'pore developing tactical nuclear weapons --- those meant for battlefield use. Enough to wipe out regiments of 10,000 troops at one go, or to make an area the size of woodlands unliveable for a few years.

Anonymous said...

Hm... so in what manner has the military expanded their international influence, as opposed to simply buying toys, that need so much money?

Within the boundary of the Ministry of Finance, I can see Temasek H. doing that with their stakes in banks and corporations in various countries. What can the Ministry of Defence do to "make friends" overseas that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot do?

Anonymous said...

@anon at 20.56's question: what is the price to treat these social ills?

very little money is being spent to defend this country agst social ills, despite all the money being spent on defence.

in fact, the govt is obviously not trying to defend this country agst its real enemies. ironic, eh?

Anonymous said...

I always know the biggest threat to Singaporeans' security comes from the inside - PAP and ourselves. I also suspect the inexplicably gigantic budget is unconscionable, given our level of social spending and income disparity. I will continue to vote against PAP until this bearhug is removed.

Anonymous said...

after you guys have read the daily newspapers in malaysia and indonesia and find out the "very friendly" things they have said about S'pore for so many years, then you will understand why S'pore will always require a strong military force.

Lucky Tan said...

anon 8:17,

To base our billions in defense spending on what others have said in the past is not wise. Both neighbors have in recent years reduced their defense spending while we increase ours. I'm sure they will encourage us to continue our hawkishness by using words to encourage us to spend more and more which has long term implications in terms of sustainability.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure they will encourage us to continue our hawkishness by using words to encourage us to spend more and more which has long term implications in terms of sustainability."
Lucky Tan 17/3/12 08:31

As long as PAP govt thinks it is worthwhile to spend, they will spend.

Why do you think PAP emphasize GDP growth? Why do they welcome so many type of foreigners and their money to Singapore? Why even public housing is so expensive? Why CPF withdrawal is delayed? Etc, etc.

It's all about money, maybe including money for govt spending.

And as long as opposition is weak and so 60% continue to support PAP by default, the spending is sustainable.

And at the rate things are going, and Lucky Tan still only a blogger, you think opposition can become strong to be alternative by 2016?

Anonymous said...

Anon 17/3/12 10:04

I believe in miracles. Maybe a miracle will happen by 2016.

Anonymous said...

Mr Lucky

Its protection money to your beloved USA. U know. The land of the free and brave. Just ask the 2million or so Iraqis and Afghans who got into the way of yankee ammo. According to liberals it is obviously religions' fault.

And it is election year.
Your beloved Obama is making a new film...

Anonymous said...

There are so much wastes in Mindef. How can this be essential ?Too much $ floating around can only lead to waste or fraud.

Anonymous said...

In Singapore,
a fresh graduate Defence Engineer starting salary is $3800,
a fresh graduate combat Lieutenant starting salary is $4600,
and a Major salary is $14000.

So now you know the hard truth of why the defence's spending is excessive.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anon 17/3/12 11:27,

But how many % of voters are defence engineers, lieutenants and majors?

60% ???

Anonymous said...

The problem in Singapore is: for 46 years, the political system has been perceived as an unchanging, authoritarian, conservative feudal one and oureconomy is supposed to be very much the same. That is to say, it was stifled by the oppressive political system whose ingenuity has brought us 2 casinos.

That's how we're goin' to develop the Singapore economy. By building 2 giant casinos.

Do you really need to pay them such million dollar salaries to come up with such proposals? Elites, alright?

Anonymous said...

The median monthly salary in Singapore is $2700 in 2011. Meaning 50% of working people earn above $2700.

Assuming all those above this salary are voters and voted PAP, it means at least 10% of those earning below $2700 voted PAP.(PAP won 60% votes in GE 2011)

And in fact it can be much more than 10% because those above the median salary also include PRs and others who cannot vote.

So $2700 monthly salary enough to get married, buy flat and have children? And also be happy and satisfied to vote PAP?

Anonymous said...

The median monthly salary in Singapore is $2700 in 2011. Meaning 50% of working people earn above $2700.

Assuming all those above this salary are voters and voted PAP, it means at least 10% of those earning below $2700 voted PAP.(PAP won 60% votes in GE 2011)

And in fact it can be much more than 10% because those above the median salary also include PRs and others who cannot vote.

So $2700 monthly salary enough to get married, buy flat and have children? And also be happy and satisfied to vote PAP?

Kojakbt said...

Lucky, good article. It has also been published here:

Also, if I'm not mistaken, there is kind of a "standing policy" to peg our defence spending to about 5% of our GDP. With this "blindless" pegging, as our GDP increases, naturally, our defence spending will increase too.

I think this is due to the legacy of the "cold war" between Singapore and Malaysia.

LKY actually revealed that it was a Malaysian Brigadier Alsagoff who was instrumental in prompting him to embark on an ambitious plan to modernise the SAF.

When Singapore was part of Malaysia from 1963–1965, Brigadier Alsagoff was the commander of the 4th Malaysian Infantry Brigade based in Singapore, which had two infantry regiments of about 1000 soldiers each.

In his memoirs, From Third World to First: The Singapore Story, LKY stated that he had taken offence that Brigadier Alsagoff had "insisted" that his Malaysian motorcycle outriders would escort him from his City Hall office to Parliament House for the ceremonial opening of the first Parliament of Singapore. Brigadier Alsagoff had said that the instructions were from KL.

LKY was also fearful that Brigadier Alsagoff might be persuaded by Syed Ja'afar Albar (UMNO secretary-general) to stage a coup months after Singapore's separation from Malaysia. Brigadier Alsagoff with his brigade based in Singapore could have easily captured him and his ministers. Lee and his family eventually moved from their family home to the Istana guarded by a company of Gurkha guards.

Syed Ja'afar Albar had strongly opposed Singapore's separation from Malaysia, and had resigned as UMNO secretary-general in protest.

Eventually, the 4th Malaysian Infantry Brigade moved out of Singapore completely in November, 1967.

This little incident naturally shook LKY and started the "cold war" between Singapore and Malaysia.

Kojakbt said...

We are "suffering" from such old legacy issue and paranoia between Singapore and Malaysia...

Also, Lucky, another issue to consider is this. Quite a number of resources and jobs are tied to our defence industry now (ie, ST Group). If the defence budget is suddenly reduced, a lot of people (esp retired colonels, generals inside ST) will be out of job.

Food for thought...

Anonymous said...

Whether want to spend more or spend less, for defense Policy or what not, paranoia or not, if the govt cannot win elections with at least over 90% seats, what's the use? Of what effect?

Shadow budget, shadow healthcare plan, economic plan, or even shadow cabinet, what for?

Win election and form govt first, then have your whatever plan, paranoia or what not.

Anonymous said...

"If the defence budget is suddenly reduced, a lot of people (esp retired colonels, generals inside ST) will be out of job."
Kojakbt 17/3/12 12:27

How many % of voters only, these colonels and generals?

Definitely not a reason or concern to suddenly increase or reduce defence budget lah.

Pegasus said...

Could it be that this large defense budget which mostly goes to buying US made hardware is actually a way to buy US silence and acquiescence and even tacit silent support for less than kosher policies? Have you realised that USA is very vocal on human rights issues even for small intransigence in Malaysia (read Anwar story) but are totally silent on Singapore blatant abuses eg JBJ, CSJ and others? I may be mistaken but I have not heard of Hillary Clinton condemning Singapore's use of "defamation" in the kangaroo courts. The huge defense budget mostly goes to buying hardware, USA hardware. I view this huge expenditure to buy insurance not agst the enemies but to buy influence, silence and "look the other way" kind of supprt. When one sees more fighter jets and Apache choppers we buy being based in the USA desert than in Singapore makes you wonder wheter it REAL defense we are talking about or a bribe to the Americans to help them with their deficit!

Anonymous said...

Apache choppers and fighter jets are based in USA desert simply because Singapore does not have the space and airspace to keep or use it for training and exercise. And it's not just one or two but a fleet, maybe even in the hundreds!

And maybe when need to use for real, they can even fly thousands of miles non stop to reach attack targets too. That's why so expensive to buy and maintain and also to train the pilots.

That's why defence spending so high lah. That's why even paying $14,000 per month for a Major is peanuts compared to the expensive hardware.

This is my layman guess or understanding of it lah. Of course, I don't think the govt will explain to the public in this way lah, even if true.

Anonymous said...

after spending Billions of tax payers money to purchase the US made toys, there is the training costs to fly and operate these machines, costs for the use of such facilities in the US ....damn bloody good business for US govt.

don't be surprised there is also a deal to pay protection money to uncle the event our neighbours make trouble....
reason why our oldfart talks down to our neighbours.

Anonymous said...

Why else do you think your AhGong Lee wants you to learn american english?
By the time LHL retires, you will have to learn China mandarin.
After all, one of the sons are already dating a harvard we know, only the chinese elites can afford to send their princes and princesses to such institution.
2m more chinese here are difference from the old ancient times when kingdom marries for security and prosperity. The rest 3m here are excessive.

Anonymous said...

In summary, current policies are disincentivising Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Purality of opinions and views is happening right here. Very good robust debate on such an important issue.

This degree of interaction and exchange of ideas is not possible even with a free traditional print media.

Thumbs up.

Anonymous said...

I rwally .augh my head off when some singaporean regurgitate some crap about some alsagiff who spooked lee kuan yew because he wanted malay motorcyclist to escprt him in singapore? Truly the malays have always been the bogeymen until today ...the malays have always been the scape goat to legitimaze all of PAP rapant discrimination againts the malays(denial of scholsarships, university placements even jobs at a fast food joint under the guise of meritocracy)...and the import of he hanyu mother race aka PRC citizens is also to balance the brown menace hence we see the
Pseudo anglophile chinese emperor Lee !jan Yew dishing out doom predictions that malays have higher birth rate and will brcome a bigger minority..much to the horror of Singaporean
Eats embrace the PRC citizens until the chinese singaporeans realize that dwindling eesources(hdb and jobs) means the PRC are closing the rice pots of many singaporrans including the chinese s gaporeeans...even the high defence budget is justified by the sea of hostile you thnk we Singapirean Malays do not know what Singapirran Chinese are being indoctrined in NS far from Malay ears?...

Veritas said...

Re 18/3/12 10:43

Not Singaporean Chinese. LKY and gangs are peranakan that has Malay blood.

If you observe carefully, Singaporean Chinese are despised and discriminated by these peranankan gangs to the level of what Malay endure.

The real Chinese culture treats minority better than Han Chinese themselves,--well manifested for 5000 years.

The peranakan culture in this aspect is particularly racist and toxic. Peranakan culture is not the same as Chinese culture.

Anonymous said...

In this new Singapore, learn to look after your own self interest.

Ask yourself:
How does my family & I benefit if I support a big budget for defence.

How does my family & I benefit if we vote for the Opposition Parties? For PAP?

If I stand up for Singapore, will Singapore stand up for me?

Who is Singapore to me?
the new mini-LKY wannabes?
Opposition Parties?
My family?
My friends?
My HDB flat?
Their bungalows?
OCBC Centre?
Caltex House?
The National Mueseum?
My favourite bowl of laksa?

Which Singapore am I defending?

It's not about how and when we die.
And we can't take our million dollars with us.
It's all about how we live.
Did we stand up and fight for the things that really matters to us.

Anonymous said...

Our Ministers have the highest pay in the world. In order to continue to enjoy this benefits, they have to spend large amount on the country's defense to keep themselves in power. The people do not benefit at all at the big budget for defence. Why do people want to defend a life-style where they have to work until they die, the need to work for 30 years to pay for the mortgage of a pigeon-hole flat, the high cost of owning a car and living, the high medical cost citizens have to bear. Basically why support a system where government have no social responsibility for the its citizens.


Veritas said...

What we see now of low public expenditure on healthcare and high spending of defence is a result of peranakan racism.

We are held captive by a bunch of peranakan pretending to be Chinese. These peranakan despises everyone including the Chinese but lick up to Ang Moh.

With so many people they despise, these racist will not implement any public healthcare.

If we look at healthcare of US and Nordic Europe, the same principal applies.

In US, the white hates to give healtcare to blacks, hence, the elite white basically dig a hole for everyone making healthcare ever more expensive.

In Nordic Europe, the racial composition is more homogeneous. Hence, the elite can emphathized when their poor neighbor fall sick.

To regain our rightful ownership of the country, we must take the peranakan off power.

These are racist bastard of Malay and Chinese.

Awakened said...

Dear LT,

Look at what Singaporeans have allowed themselves to become by being told what to believe and what to perceive.

If you can manipulate the Singaporeans' minds, you can manipulate what they can perceive and what they can access.

We are perceivers, we are awareness; we are not objects. We are boundless....We, or rather our REASON, forget this and thus we entrap the totality of ourselves in a vicious circle from which we rarely emerge in our lifetime.

We are awareness. That's what we are.

And the idea of our government/manipulator is to limit that awareness as much as possible. So that we only see ourselves in limited terms.

We are living in a holographic world in Singapore. A certain picture is being painted by the incumbent government. They are releasing a certain frequency field through their mass media for the people to tap on; providing Singaporeans with a lens of reality and a set of beliefs of how things are.

The government wants you to set things in a certain way in Singapore. And they educate you to do so.

Stay awake. And create more awareness and consciousness raising on issues that matters.

It is clear the government has been controlling and suppressing many of Singaporeans' freedoms. And it is continuing to do so in the hope to turn us into a fraction of the potential we should be as humans and turn us into a robotic people.

And people will never submit to this manipulation once they realise what is being done to them.

We cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans SHOULD SERIOUSLY ask him/herself; what is there in Sin to defend?

Is there anything in Sin that is worth to any alien to want to invade and take over Sin?

If there is a military invasion, it WILL NOT BE a territorial conquest. IT WILL BE AS ONE POSTER PUTS IT; 'to kill all Singaporeans'. It could be due to political reason and or different ideology.


Anonymous said...

You're conscripted into NS and reservists to protect the assets of the rich people in this island.

You're not doing NS to defend the country.

Anonymous said...

Our generals have to be very well paid. Remember the threat about freak election results? Who will restore the rightful people to lord over us if the generals and their underlings are not well taken care of now?


Anonymous said...

Singapore cannot be defended - it is too small and depends on imports for food, water and energy.

The only countries that may invade Singapore are Malaysia and Indonesia, and as I said, Singapore cannot be defended.

Military spending to bolster international diplomatic standing? It is one reason, though it has become maniacally and single-mindedly carried out despite Singapore's diminishing diplomatic influence.

From what I see, the bang to the military buck is in sales of military hardware.

Anonymous said...

Lucky, I heard that our defence budget also includes a huge amount for R&D for weapon and technology development, the beneficiary of which is a ST. If this is the case is is not similar to the 1.1 billion for the private bus operators.

Anonymous said...

Lee and his family eventually moved from their family home to the Istana guarded by a company of Gurkha guard"

So according to the above statement he ensured his own were save. Nothing wrong with that, he was an outstanding protector of his family. During the Japanese occupation, the riots, and separation he has always made sure of this. Why?

Because he wanted to ensured that not only him but his entire family served the nation. The people needed them so they had to be protected at all cost. His wife served the nation for years by doing conservancy work for HDB.His sons served in the army, telecommunications, retail, airport services and politics (Look at the outstanding talent to serve in any field). His daugher served the nation through medical service. Even his daughter-in-law sacrificed serving the government investment companies. The countries reserves are at stake here and it's not an easy job.

Thanks God they were protected, otherwise we would have lost so much talent. They did all this without enriching themselves, it was fueled by the desire to serve the nation. So they too must ensure that they own are safe so that generations can be served by the outstanding family.

Compare this to people who could not be a good head of the family, because they ended up being sued, detained or fled the country.

Ng Eng Hou said...

Singapore as a small island will be always vulnerable. No amount of military spending is going to reduce that vulnerability. The simple fact is when you look at the geography and location of the Singapore, it is militarily non 'defendable'.

During 2nd World War, when Malaysia Peninsula fell to the Japanese troops, Singapore was not able to hold on to itself.

It really won't take much to destroy Singapore, because we're so densely populated. If I'm the enemy and I want to conquer Singapore, what I do is I will blockade the sea route to cut off supplies of food and other necessities coming from the sea and most likely we will be starved to surrender.

Those huge amount of money throwing into defense is only a psychological boost more than any actual effective defense.

Now the fashion is more of limited warfare or terrorism. In this aspect, I don't see our security forces really equip to handle this. This kind of war fare needs good military intelligence, which I don't think they're doing much about this.

Our Government Is Sleeping!

Anonymous said...

"...LKY and gangs are peranakan that has Malay blood.
...Peranakan culture is not the same as Chinese culture.

...We are held captive by a bunch of peranakan pretending to be Chinese. These peranakan despises everyone including the Chinese but lick up to Ang Moh."

They call themselves Chinese when convenient. Even if they can be called Chinese (they trace their ancestry to the Huns of Central Asia), they are the 'lost tribe' without any province to consider home. A large number settled in Guangdong province during the Ching dynasty and riots against these "guests" by the locals were caused by their attempted land grab. They founded Lanfang Republic in Kalimantan for their new homeland but ceded it to the Dutch. They now own this place, Kingdom of Lanfang, the little red dot.

Anonymous said...

How to slash defence budget when we have idiots like mahathir who threaten to bomb us. Can anyone guarantee we wont have another mahathir after Najib?

Have you forgotten the Nanjing Massacre?

Have you forgotten what the japanese did to us in 1945?

Have you forgotten 1990 incident where Singapore & Malaysia almost went to war over the Israeli President visit to the republic?

We need to send a strong signal to our muslim neighbours.

Anonymous said...

Most important is 60% continue to vote PAP.

This is the most essential (all in 1)
policy by the people for Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Why not outsource our defence?

Bring in the REAL foreign talents.
American soldiers.

I'm pretty sure the Americans would protect us for a price that is half our current defence budget.

Then our NS boys no need to do national service.
Can join workforce straight away.
Then no need so many foreign guest workers.

American soldiers staying in Singapore to protect us will be paid salary at market rates.
No NS men salary.
And there is nothing like the spending power of an American soldier on leave.

Our domestic economy will surely benefit.

Anonymous said...

As long as 60% voted for PAP, NS boys need to do NS.

Anonymous said...

Whether it is essential or excessive depends on who you are and how significant you are.

Anonymous said...

Frankly they can spend as much as they want on defence but please don't neglect on the people welfare,especially the sick.
All citizens should be have access to affordable health care.

Should not have case of debt collectors after them for unpaid hospital bills!.It just means they cannot afford to pay the high medical cost inspite of so many schemes to help them.

Anonymous said...

"Should not have case of debt collectors after them for unpaid hospital bills!.It just means they cannot afford to pay the high medical cost inspite of so many schemes to help them."
Anon 19/3/12 22:41

They are the minority lah. Not possible to have 100% can afford their medical bills, right?

There is no perfect society on earth lah. If at least 60% can well afford to pay, very good already.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of proponents of the defence spending, about how defence should be a certain precentage of GDP (what yardstick does this follow?) and that a small nation should be always well equipped to handle external threats.

That would be true, until you consider the inept management style of army officers, the wasteful exercises that battalions pretend to 'win' and 'lose', the squandered human life in exercise accidents and IPPT deaths, and exorbitant spending on army vehicles and weapons that are placed on a parade every year to boost the ego of some politicians with small d**ks.

Anonymous said...

Pay million dollar salary not necessary will sure attract the best what.

So high defence spending not necessary will also have the best defence lah.

If only 60% best, very good already.

Anonymous said...

If you want a U-turn in the military budget;
Just like a U-turn in our 2012 budget;

Vote wisely in GE 2016.

And get your friends & family to also vote wisely too.

Anonymous said...

my opinion. the high allocation to military is just to pay the "superhigh" ranking officers who might not even withstand a single hit in times of trouble.

MP has multiple appointments, these are extra revenue for them.

Anyway, if we were to invade by any of the nearby countries like indonesia, philippines, china, india, they dont even need any special recon unit to infiltrate. Overnight we could have easily taken over by who-knows how many undercover.

Anonymous said...

This cuntry is aredi peacefully invaded with millions spent to welcome the invaders.
Sinkies must be blind not to see or know it.

Anonymous said...

Defense spending for anything other than "defense," including international commitments to the wars of opportunities and maintaining foreign hegemony (of America) over Asia is unacceptable - and on these grounds I agree completely with the need to reevaluate Singapore's defense spending.

This "ASEAN" supranational bloc - based on the already disastrous EU comes with it ridiculous requirements for "extra" defense spending to maintain and protect the bloc, not just individual nations.

Singapore can easily increase defensive deterrence against would-be aggressors through both defense spending on traditional items such as anti-aircraft systems, a formidable fleet that can be distributed to prevent a "decapitating" attack from being carried out on the island - as well as non-traditional means that have dual benefits for Singaporean society.

That includes leveraging technology to become more self-sufficient in terms of agriculture and manufacturing - as well as working on pragmatic solutions to resource scarcity that allow geopolitical expansionism to be justified by aggressor nations in the first place.

And the "Singapore dream" depending on what that might mean - if it were to mean a nation as small as Singapore being able to give the best standard of living to its people through excellent education, science, technology, and pragmatism - may serve as the best "defense" of all - by setting an example for a model of development other nations could follow (or at least demand of their respective governments) instead of imperialism and perpetual expansion.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. The weapons are not there for foreign invaders but to keep us in check. There are nothing worth plundering in Singapore. No land no natural resources even the seas are filthy.

Anonymous said...

With crazy muslim Malaysia next door, its no wonder Singapore needs to arm itself for self defense.

Anonymous said...

it seems to me that your assumption for the singapore's government to attain international influence is negative, such that it is something we should reduce our budget for. However, i would associate such efforts of the government in attempts to increase our soft power (for e.g. a sense of nation pride and sense of security among our citizens) and could be a means by which we build our recognition from other countries upon. Singapore as we know is highly dependent on external forces, and the high proportion of budget to military use could be to achieve such a purpose, ultimately to build a strong foundation for the progress of singapore. What is your opinion on this?

Anonymous said...

So, with the current "testing" from neighbouring country to Singapore's resolve and national integrity. Does all the Defence spending make you sleep matter at night??

Anonymous said...


Malaysians have never and never will see Singapore as a threat so the chances of there being a war between both countries is very slim.

Malaysia is more concerned about Indonesia claiming Sarawak and Philippines claiming Sabah.

Ironically,Malaysia is 'closer' to SG than Indonesia even though both are Muslim countries, owing largely to the cultural similarities,geographical proximity and Commonwealth links. Moreover,many Malaysians work in SG and many are still MY citizens despite having SG PR for ages so attacking SG is unthinkable and not to mention irresponsible.We also don't have that many Malaysians in Indonesia or Philippines.

So stop worrying.MY is more concerned about losing Sabah and Sarawak and is thus preoccupied with Indonesia and Philippines.Plus,majority of Barisan Nasional's votes come from those two states.Strangely,majority of people there are natives with Bumi status with Chinese ancestry!

No matter what happens,MY will not attack SG or allow Indonesia to attack SG because of the many Malaysians in SG now.We cannot and will not watch our MY citizens get slaughtered should war erupt between Indonesia and Singapore. Every time a Malaysian is in distress outside Malaysia,MY government goes to his aid and majority are MY Chinese ....latest being the four Sarawakian sailors kidnapped few months ago.

Harap maklum.

Ps:Indon and Pinoy ultra nationalists can go die.

Proud Malaysian
Negaraku tanah tumpahnya negaraku
(My country,the land where my blood was spilled)