PAP GPCs scrutinise ministries’ budgets and policies during Committee of Supply debate    


The People’s Action Party’s Government Parliamentary Committees (GPCs) scrutinise ministry budgets and policies to ensure they improve Singaporeans’ lives. Chairpersons of the GPCs shared with their committees’ focus as the Committee of Supply debate started today. 

After debating the Budget statement, a committee of the Parliament sits for seven or more days to review the expenditure plans of the ministries. Members may propose nominal cuts of $100 to each ministry’s estimates. By moving a cut, a member gets a “peg” to debate on the policies and details of programmes of that ministry. The respective GPCs would focus on topics relating to their committees.     

National Development GPC focuses on flat availability for families and housing options for singles 

Chair of GPC for National Development Cheryl Chan told that the GPC hopes there will be greater focus on flat availability for families and more housing options for singles as they age. Additionally, the GPC hopes longstanding issues like neighbour disputes, bird feeding, noise and hoarding can be addressed more holistically, she added.   

“The public wants to understand the government’s efforts to ensure housing affordability and availability in the near term. Given earlier construction delays and the resulting backlog, people want assurance of a steady supply of BTO flats, for example, certainty regarding key collection, and whether the prices of resale or BTO flats will moderate after the recent measures implemented by MND,” she added.   

She pointed out that GPC members have raised these topics over the years. She hoped there would be policy changes to help residents facing such challenges. She also hoped MND will share plans on how Singapore aspires to better use or transform the limited land to serve future needs. 
Chair of the GPC for Sustainability and the Environment Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) said that the GPC has met with the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment to not only review plans for 2024 but also take stock of progress made in protecting the environment, ensuring resilient food and water supplies, and safeguarding public health in 2023.  

We will continue to be the extra eyes and ears on the ground, to scrutinise and ensure MSE continues its good work. For 2024, we will urge MSE to do more to involve more Singaporeans and businesses to join our green journey,” he added. 

Chair of GPC for Transport Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) said the committee will examine the government’s infrastructure and transport plans to ensure they remain up to date. They will also review if these plans provide equal access for all demographics, including the elderly.   

The committee will look into how the government could help Singaporeans mitigate fare increases. For example, expanding public transport subsidies to benefit more low- and middle-income residents. 

He added, “Could we provide more Public Transport Vouchers as part of budget transfers like CDC vouchers in the future? Public transport subsidies likely benefit low- and middle-income Singaporeans the most. However, if higher-income individuals also use public transit more due to the help, that would advance our sustainable transport goals. These would be subject to budget constraints and in context of our zero-vehicle population growth policy and car-lite approach.” 

Chair of GPC for Social and Family Development Melvin Yong (Radin Mas SMC) said he and committee members will ask how Singapore can continue to refresh our social compact through the Forward Singapore initiatives.  

“I will speak about the importance of strengthening our social compact. I will focus on key issues like strengthening families, providing better support and access to quality early childhood education, and uplifting the early childhood sector so that it remains an industry of choice, “he added.  

Health GPC will focus on capacity of healthcare system and whether it is suitable for an ageing population 

Chair of the GPC for Health Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) said the committee has been actively discussing healthcare issues with different interest groups in the community. They have heard from patients, caregivers, healthcare workers and those with views on Singapore’s future healthcare system. 

He added that the committee will focus on several areas: our healthcare system’s capacity, what Ministry of Health is doing to keep Singapore’s healthcare system suitable for an ageing population. It will look at ways to better support seniors, including older patients who are frail or with mobility needs, and their caregivers. Improving the health of families is also a concern.  

“Supporting our people’s health must go beyond treating sickness.  When we care for young expecting mothers and babies and children, it promotes better health and wellness for a younger generation.  Supporting caregivers recognises that care goes beyond patients in hospitals, clinics, or at home,” he said.  

The GPC for Manpower closely monitors manpower developments and key drivers affecting employment throughout the year. Chair of the GPC Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC) said members examine a wide range of manpower issues to address constituents’ concerns.   

“Given rising risks from geopolitical tensions and artificial intelligence, the GPC will discuss how the government can partner Singaporeans to stay resilient in their careers and support them if they lose their jobs,” he added.   

In the upcoming COS debate, Mr Choo will examine issues like caregiving, the gender pay gap and increasing support for older workers.  

“These are long-term issues requiring capabilities to address. While tackling immediate needs, we must build long-term support to future-proof Singaporeans,” he added. 

Chair of the GPC for Communications and Information Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson SMC) said the committee will focus on how digitalisation, especially in the age of artificial intelligence, shapes Singapore’s development and the lives of Singaporeans going forward.  

“We will discuss investing in digital infrastructures and capabilities critical to Singapore’s next phase of economic development, what more can be done to preserve and strengthen digital trust, and how we can leverage digital capabilities to build communities and better lives,” she said.  

Chair of GPC for Education Patrick Tay (Pioneer SMC) said his committee will focus on mainstream school issues such as preparing our students for the future of work, the Continuing Education and Training and Skillsfuture, and special education.