Chan Chun Sing, the country’s Trade and Industry Minister, assured young people on Saturday night, February 9, that the funds needed for the Merdeka Generation Package that the Government promised has funding that will not come from the coming rise in higher goods and services tax (GST), and therefore will not be burdensome for the government of the future.
The Trade and Industry Minister said this in a speech at a Chinese New Year dinner for Radin Mas SMC and Tanjong Pagar GRC. Chan remarked that young people were concerned that the Merdeka Generation Package was a mere “election gimmick” to gain support for the next General Election.
Chan sought to reassure the young people, telling them that “the rule in the Singapore system is that no government can make – or should make – empty promises on behalf of a future government,” since each government endeavors to stay within the national Budget and strive for economic growth especially at the beginning of their term.
Chan told the audience, ”If we decide to have the Merdeka Generation Package… then it is the responsibility of this term of government to harness its resources to put them into a fund, to make sure that this burden is not passed on to the next government or future governments.”
And since the onus for sticking to the budget is on the shoulders of the government, it will not fall on the future government by way of revenue from the 2-point GST increase, which is scheduled between 2021 to 2025.
The Merdeka Generation Package, which could cost up to S$8 billion, will be given to Singaporeans who were born in the 1950s.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the package will be “substantial,” and will greatly aid in defraying medical costs. Citizens who were born before 1950 who did not avail of the Pioneer Generation Package can still qualify for the Merdeka Generation Package, as long as they became citizens of Singapore by December 31, 1996.