Another Year, Another (Likely) Useless Budget ‘Debate’

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.


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Someone who sees beyond PAP and "opposition" in Singapore politics. To understand more please see the Top 10 link below.
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10 Responses to Another Year, Another (Likely) Useless Budget ‘Debate’

  1. henry says:

    They are playing in safe.
    Take for example this focus on animal abuse. Its about people reporting about other people’s treatment of animals. Lots of penalties, lots of regulations. Animals are, in a way, neutral politics and redirects attention from innovation in work process, wages, and foreign workers.

    Next comes bicycles… and sports hubs and sports schools, sports grants.

    Who can afford time and money for these activities? buying a pet, buying a bicycle? perhaps those with the money and time. A better focus would be to tell employers in no uncertain terms that improvements in wages and work process is expected or else, close shop and ship out.

    Wage credits is a farce and a subsidy for businesses to play around. Its sick.

  2. Pingback: Daily SG: 8 Mar 2013 | The Singapore Daily

  3. hy says:

    And sinkie diplomat has got the balls to disparage Malaysia… talk about being pricks.

  4. I Am A Singaporean says:

    What’s wrong with pleading to allow singles to buy new HDB flats? This is a perfectly normal thing for MPs to do. Unless you are saying single Singaporeans are not in fact Singaporeans and they are not entitled to new subsidized HDB flats. What’s your definition of a Singaporean anyway? Or that you aren’t in fact a Singaporean?

    • Because they can plead any time. Budget time is for mp’s to decide whether to allow the govt to spend so much on Defence, so little on healthcare, etc. It is not for mps to plead, but for the govt to explain itself (ie how it did last year) and to get mp’s approval for this year’s budget.

    • I Am A Singaporean says:

      That’s the way Singapore works. You obviously have no understanding of the word ‘budget’ in the Singaporean context. It’s got nothing to do with PAP.

      • That’s what you’ve been conditioned to think after 50 years of pap rule. But I hope for a future where parliament is not just a rubber stamp, where no budget gets passed without significant changes made in the course of a real budget debate.

  5. Pingback: The Truth About Budget ‘Debates’ | Political Writings

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