The rising cost of living is a problem. We are tackling it for S’poreans.

07/11/2023

We hear you: Things are getting expensive

This inflation is a global problem which needs prudent policy solutions.  

A spirited discussion on the cost of living dominated Parliament today (Nov 7), with 10 of our MPs speaking up for the needs of diverse Singaporeans. 

One major consensus emerged: Singaporeans can — and should — stand firm.  

This is because much support has already been distributed to Singaporeans and the PAP will continue supporting Singaporeans most affected by inflation.  

This support, significantly, will be sustainable and responsible. It will not kick the can down the road: Doing so would only progress a problematic momentum which will crash hard against future generations of Singaporeans. 

Hence our MP Liang Eng Hwa (Bukit Panjang SMC) proposed Amendments which improved the cost of living Motion which the Workers’ Party (WP) put forth during this session. 

Sound policies, targeted support and empowering Singaporeans

Singapore is in a strong position to weather this difficult economic climate.  

For example, we need not look further than to our strong Singapore dollar. This results from sound policy decisions. The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) measures have contained imported cost prices in the face of global inflation, pointed out MP Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh). 

Adding to this sound fiscal policy is targeted and generous support for Singaporeans.  

MP Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC) mentioned one everyday example — FairPrice supermarkets. Here, he set the record straight on disingenuous Opposition claims that the NTUC has stood by and did nothing during these few years. Rather, it has leaned in and helped everyone from young families to seniors. 

“FairPrice Group releases supplies at regular prices even if there are external global factors like logistics issues experienced due to COVID which can cause huge upswings in prices. This helps to moderate domestic prices …FairPrice Group’s Pioneer Generation, Merdeka Generation, and CHAS Blue discount schemes have brought about $65.5 million worth of savings since 2015,” he said.

Source: Desmond Choo / Facebook 

Moreover, support for Singaporeans is not limited to financial handouts. The PAP Government also empowers Singaporeans, raising their income and employability through training opportunities and as well as providing a conducive and competitive business-friendly ecosystem. This is a firm foundation which prepares and hedges Singapore against the challenges of a global inflationary backdrop. 

Amendments for protecting Singapore’s workers and households

This position of strength and long-term preparedness is a key reason why Singaporeans can stand firm.   

In fact, MP Liang’s Amendments to the Motion — both of which Parliament passed later in the session — are also an important call for calm and for helping Singapore thrive.

Source: Liang Eng Hwa / Facebook

This Amended Motion add the nuance that the rising cost of living is a global problem; not just for Singapore. They also nuance that the problem needs solving together and that, well, the problem is simply that — a problem. Not, as the WP labelled it, a “crisis”. 

There is an easy reason to see why the Opposition may use this inflammatory language for political posturing. This naming has political currency now, particularly in countries with neither reserves and resources, nor the foresight for long-term growth.  

But imagine if the WP Motion was passed unchanged. It would signal that Singapore is in a localised “crisis”, instead of being a part of a global problem. It would stoke an exploitable panic and polarisation in society. It would dent the confidence which foreign investors have in us. These ultimately do not help Singapore at the very time we need to protect Singaporean workers and households.   

As MP Sitoh Yih Pin (Potong Pasir SMC) said in an impassioned speech during this session, Singaporeans are not in a hopeless situation

Moreover, we can get through this globally difficult time if we stay united and cohesive — there will be sunshine after the rain for us and for future generations of Singaporeans.