Should politicians compete with voluntary welfare organisations for donations?

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By: Leong Sze Hian

Overcoming the barriers to giving

I refer to the article “Overcoming the barriers to giving” (Sunday Times, Dec 25).

“Are we giving to the right people, and in the right ways?”

It states that “Caught up in the festive spirit, rarely do we ask other questions: Are we giving to the right people, and in the right ways?

When those doubts emerge, they can be piercing. At least that was my experience this year, when my social media feed started presenting a jarringly schizophrenic view of the world in the days leading up to Christmas.

“Donations to a variety of causes have dipped this year”

… this newspaper reported last month that donations to a variety of causes have dipped this year due to a gloomier economy.

“Explore the ways we give and the people we give to – and whether we can give enough, and in time, to those who really need it”

In this season of giving, it may be worth spending some time to explore the ways we give and the people we give to – and whether we can give enough, and in time, to those who really need it.”

Corporate donations to CDCs?

I understand that when the Community Development Councils (CDCs) were first established in 1997 – the politicians arguably, did not personally and very actively raise funds from corporations for the CDCs’ activities.

In recent years, I understand that donations from corporations to the CDCs have been increasing, with arguably, relatively more active fund raising by politicians.

VWOs finding it tougher to get donations from corporations?

One possible effect of this, may be that voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) may be finding it tougher to get donations from corporations.

The donation budget of each corporation may often be fixed – and thus funds that go to the CDCs may in a sense, be funds that could have otherwise gone to the VWOs.

Easier for politicians to get donations from corporations?

Also, arguably, it may be relatively easier for politicians to get donations from corporations.

High implicitly taxed – politicians compete with VWOs for donations from corporations?

In the light that from a cashflow perspective – we may be one of the highest implicitly taxed citizenry in the world, by way of indirect (COE, etc) and consumption (GST, etc) taxes, CPF returns, etc – perhaps we should relook the current state of affairs, whereby politicians actively compete with VWOs for donation dollars.

Merry Christmas!