Govt looking at helping Singaporeans overcome economic hardship
18 October 2008 2149 hrs (SST)
SINGAPORE: Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said the government is looking at how it can help Singaporeans overcome temporary economic hardship next year.
Mr Goh, who was speaking at a community event on Saturday, said Singapore's economy is expected to grow by about 3 per cent this year, but next year's growth could be even slower.
But the senior minister believes that with Singapore's current diversified economy and strong economic fundamentals, the country can bounce back if Singaporeans stick together.
"The government is already thinking about what it can do to help businesses and ordinary Singaporeans – in particular lower income Singaporeans – next year," he said.
On financial products that are linked to failed investment bank Lehman Brothers, Mr Goh said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) expects financial institutions to pay attention to vulnerable investors such as retirees.
Where there are sufficient indications that the product was mis-sold, the senior minister expects the financial institutions to take full responsibility and reach a fair settlement with investors, on a case-by-case basis.
Mr Goh said: "MAS understands from the banks and financial institutions that they will try to be helpful, so they will investigate each case thoroughly and where there is any doubt, they will try and settle in favour of the investor.
"MAS is a very professional, rational institution. It doesn't try to put pressure on people, it doesn't make big speeches to convince people that it is doing many things.
"Behind the scene, I can tell you, MAS has been quietly working with the banks and financial institutions to find a fair solution for people who have invested in the products."
The senior minister said everyone must view the losses in perspective – millions have lost their savings worldwide, so Singaporeans must be realistic in their expectations.
I think it does not take a genius to know how to "help ordinary Singaporean" but rather the question is, does the Govt really want to do it . Or as usual, they have their own interest in mind.
Some ways which I think the Man- in- White can do to help ordinary Singaporean, please bear in mind I am not even paid millions a year to come up with these ideas.
1) Cancel or reduce the 21% Electricity Pay Hike
2) Freeze all public transport fare increase for the next 3 years (Note these Public Transport Companies are still making money and I bet their business will increase even more during bad times)
3) Guarantee all deposit and Insurance in Singapore.
4) Pay cut for all ministers plus the president to set up a fund to help the old and low income Singaporean.
5) GIC and all Ministries to relook into the employee bonus and salaries especially for the Super Scale one. (Remember they just got some bonus and pay increament this year)
6) GST waiver for all essential food stuff.
7) Reduce NDP budget for the next 3 years.
8) Tax reduction for companies that did not lay off any employee.
9) Stop influx of “Foreign Talent” for the next 3 years.
10) Reduce rental of shops so these tenants will not pass the rental cost to the consumers.