Apparently famous food blogger ieatishootipost was asked by PAP MP Baey Yam Keng to give him ideas on how to preserve local food culture so the latter can raise it in Parliament during the Budget Debate.
According to ieatishootipost, “I have been asked to meet with MP Mr Baey Yam Keng to give him feedback on how Singapore can continue to preserve our hawker heritage and food culture. He will table it in Parliament as part of the budget debate.”
Noble as Mr Baey’s intentions may be, this just shows how much of a mockery Singapore’s Budget debates have become, and how low Parliament has sunk to.
Instead of pressing the Govt to account for itself for last year’s results (like good shareholders would do at any listed company AGM), and pressing the govt to justify why it proposes to spend so much in certain areas (eg Defence) and so little in other areas (eg healthcare), MP’s use the Budget debate as air time for their pet causes.
Much as I love local hawker food, using the Budget debate to talk about preserving a hawker food culture really takes the cake!
Instead of grilling the govt over its financial performance, MP’s plead with the govt to give more money for their pet causes, to allow more singles to buy flats, and (very likely this year) to do more for SME’s to help them cope with reduced foreign labour.
Are MP’s beggars on our behalf, or is the Govt accountable to the Parliament? Are MP’s there to scrutinize the Govt’s spending and revenue plans and approve or reject the budget based on how well they believe it meets their voters’ needs? Or are MP’s just there to present long wish lists on our behalf, and hope that one out of 10 of our wishes will be granted by Ah Kong?
Or worse, do MP’s even bother to scrutinize the budget at all? How many MP’s use their legislative allowances to employ financial analysts or accountants to analyze the budget in preparation for their speech? Or do they perhaps not even bother to dissect the budget, and merely use their 15 mins of fame to talk about whatever cause they champion– in the case of MP Baey, aparently it is local hawker food culture.
I believe Singapore has a really long way to go before MP’s, voters and the Parliament itself recognize the purpose of a Budget debate.