28 Nov 2011, 4.49PM
In conjunction with the opening of the 12th Parliament on 10th Oct 2011, REACH introduced a microsite to provide background information on the Parliamentary proceedings, and to provide a platform for our contributors to share their views on the inaugural address of our newly-elected President, as well as the addenda to the President’s Address. In all, over 600 inputs were received. We thank you for taking the time to share your views with us. Here, we bring you some highlights of what our contributors had to say!
Many welcomed the calls to enhance Government-citizen engagement, though some remained sceptical as to whether this could be realised. They urged the Government to be sincere and to showcase its commitment to better engage the public through concrete actions, instead of just words. They also urged greater transparency in sharing information with citizens. Some also expressed scepticism as to the neutrality and independence of the mainstream media, noting that this was a key reason many sought out alternative views on new media platforms.
Inclusive Growth and Social Well-Being of Singaporeans
While supporting the Government’s intention to seek inclusive growth for all Singaporeans, some point out that the term “inclusive growth” lacks definition. They wonder why the fruits of Singapore’s growth do not seem to filter down to the common man. They urge the Government to better define its commitments through clear targets and regular reviews. A few also note that more can be done to strengthen Singapore’s social safety net, such as refining the ComCare schemes, CPF top-ups for “in-risk” and “at-risk” groups, and using household per capita as criteria to assess assistance cases.
The Government’s effort to prioritise the housing needs of newlyweds and vulnerable families are generally well received. However, they stress that housing is a basic necessity, and that the term “affordable” is subjective. Some call for the cost price of public housing to be revealed, noting that a 30-year loan for public housing certainly cannot be deemed “affordable”. Calls to refine existing policies to limit the resale market of three-room flats to low-income earners, and expand the HDB rental scheme are also supported. A few stress that any policy refinements considered by the Government should seek to primarily benefit Singaporeans instead of PRs.
Foreigners & Employment
Despite the stated emphasis to pay special attention to lower-income and elderly workers, contributors remain concerned over the availability of jobs for older workers. While they welcome the review of the CPF contribution for older workers, they hope that more will be done to assist retirees and middle-aged Singaporean workers who may have lost their jobs to younger, cheaper foreign workers.
Selected Contributors’ Quotes from REACH’s Platforms:
“Be transparent with your information, and trust that Singaporeans, especially the younger generation who are generally more educated than their parents, can distinguish misinformation when it occurs.” – Sg Watcher, REACH_Singapore Facebook
“I think the minister should be more transparent to the public of the real cost of the public housing, not affordability by his own definition.” – Guest, Discussion Forum
“I hope HDB can focus on their fundamental policy to provide good and affordable housing for Singaporeans. The resale prices are still hitting new highs, and with it, the new flat prices… Our young couples buying their first homes are overburdened with high mortgages, please help to accelerate the stability of the housing market.” – Guest, Discussion Forum