The Budget debate began yesterday. NMP Chia Yong Yong made an excellent speech about the CPF. I was not in the chamber to hear her, but watched it later on YouTube.
Yong Yong cast the question in a broader perspective: whether it is right to think of the CPF as “our money”, to be spent solely as we choose. She explained how choice always comes with responsibility, and benefits always carry obligations. When we exercise personal choice (e.g. by spending our CPF savings early), there is a price to be paid (e.g. we may not have enough to support ourselves in old age), and that price should not be paid by someone else (e.g. other taxpayers).
Yong Yong had asked me earlier whether we had settled the CPF policy, and if so was it worth her while to speak. I said we had worked out the main changes, but strongly encouraged her to express her view and contribute to the public debate. I am glad that she did, and to such good effect.
<<A speech from the heart>>
The Budget this year had many new schemes to strengthen our social safety nets. This is good and necessary to help vulnerable families. But quite a few Singaporeans have also advised us to be careful not to erode our work ethic and personal responsibility, even as we increase state support. Yesterday, during the budget debate, NMP Chia Yong Yong reiterated the latter point.
She said that collective responsibility must take place in the context of personal responsibility. Without personal responsibility, collective responsibility would break down. Intuitively, we know this to be true, because if too many did not take care of their own needs due to neglect or wrong choices, then others would have to support them and the burden would be too great for all to bear.
Ms Chia was speaking about CPF, but her beliefs touch on the core philosophy of our social safety nets. Indeed, our founding generation believed as Ms Chia did, that self and family should be the first line of support and then society – not the reverse. As we introduce new schemes, we should not inadvertently weaken this core belief.
Ms Chia is the President of SPD (Society for the Physically Disabled) and widely known for her accomplishments despite a muscle wasting disorder. So I thought her remarks on personal responsibility had a lot of credibility given her own life story and personal struggles. I respect her.
– Ng Eng Hen
- Could not have said this better. The price and burden on future generations should not be placed on another citizen. This generations and all future generations should learn delayed gratification. ‘Choice comes with Responsibility’
- this showed that we do not need WP MPs contribution in parliament, NMP can do a better job.
- Factual speech. Very practical.
- When we choose to live in a society, we need to be responsible for our actions regardless what rights we are entitled to.
The fact that we are not perfect beings, the law is still relevant.
- NMP Chia. awesome speech from the heart, 用心良苦.
- This lady is one who thinks and look for the nation’s good, where most are looking to benefit themselves, and causing others to take the effect from those who look after themselves.
If every Singaporeans were to be morally responsible to each other and themselves, do you think CPF is needed?
- I like a fresh perspective here abt the CPF.
- a non-biased speech by Ms Chia from a neutral perspective. Well said!
- She delivered a matured, well balanced and excellent speech!
- i really hope there will be more NMP… non-partisan MP that can represent us. i am not interested in politics but i am deeply concerned with the nation’s interest… and sometimes i feel that politics gets in the way of important issues that need to be discussed and addressed in a constructive manner.
Her view makes a lot of sense to me who can understand responsibility, collectivity and social obligation.
- Looks like more Singaporeans are becoming more intelligent. I support her views. Can draw out the money now anyhow spend then when really need but dun have left? Blame govt again ah, for not exercising personal responsibility for own finances?
- Dear Mr Lee,
Your government has unveiled the budget for 2015. And I applaud the budget for the measures introduced such as skill future credit. This will help individuals to upgrade themselves and remain relevant to the society.
However, I am concerned about the financial sustainability of some key features introduced such as the silver support scheme. As our population continue to age, the number of elderly will rise dramatically in the society.
Where is the money coming to fund these program mes?
I am sure that there is a limit to how high the tax rate can be raised without affecting our tax competitiveness.
Also I echoed MP Tin Pei Ling’s comments in Parliament expressing concerns whether Singaporeans will take the national reserve for granted and became over-reliant on it.
I am quite disturbed that the government has not been balancing its budget since last year.
I don’t want this nation of ours to turn into a welfare state.
I hope the government will continue to uphold good fiscal discipline and spend within its mean.