“Your budget makes no sense at all” – Open letter to PM Lee challenging Budget 2018 trends online

An open letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Budget 2018 has been trending on social media. It is unknown who originally wrote and circulated the letter but the letter has been making its rounds on Facebook and WhatsApp from yesterday.

The letter lists six criticisms of the budget that was unveiled by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday. Besides questioning the mixed messages the Government appears to be giving, with the GST hike and the SG Bonus, the letter criticises the Government’s spending on defence and education.

It also calls on the head of government to further tax the wealthy instead of pushing the financial burden to average Singaporeans.

Read the letter in full here:

Dear Prime Minister. 
Your budget makes no sense at all. I am not like one of these many lemmings on here that praise it and don’t know what its about. Can you care to explain the following:
1) If you have a budget surplus of almost $10 billion from last year, why are u still raising the GST?
2) Isn’t giving u $300 on one hand (bribing one with one’s own money) and taking it away on the other hand with a GST increase, rather meaningless?
3) Why are we spending billions $ on infrastructure like rail and roads when we have a zero population growth and almost negative birthrate? Who are we building these infrastructure for? To accommodate your target of 6.9 million population? So, we are spending Singaporean taxpayer money on infrastructure for foreigners? 
4) Why is our defence budget 40% larger then our healthcare budget, more then $4 billion more. To buy weapons and equipment to fight who? Name our enemy, Mr. Prime Minister. With an aging population, healthcare should far surpass the defence budget, not the other way round 
5) Increasing the education budget by giving more edusave bursaries to our student is like giving crumbs to us. Your govt is giving full scholarships to foreign students, why can’t we get that deal instead? 
6) If u need more money, instead of taxing the poor with a GST increase, why don’t u raise the tax rate for the high earners (those earning over $1 million a year). I am sure there are thousands of such people, including all your Cabinet Ministers and many MPs. If you tax them more, u surely can avoid the GST.

Received from WhatsApp. Author unknown. Dear Prime Minister. Your budget makes no sense at all. I am not like one of…

Posted by Tan Kin Lian on Wednesday, 21 February 2018

100 COMMENTS

  1. The days of carte blanche for this PAP government is over. The budgets are getting scrutinised by the citizens and most of us see the raw deal we have been getting.

  2. Why locals sinkies are so Kum lan. Foreigners will be favoured becos they are here to support the property market. Where u think those FTs will put up in. Local stay in HDB , foreigners are here to rent the prestige apartments that the rich n elites has invested in. Locals are screwed big time without knowing why

    • Tan Tony it’s a direct wealth transfer from the middle class to the rich. Simply becos , the middle class PMETs will lose it job and pick up Low income job and those FTs will take over the PMETs and continue pay high rent to the property investors so that they can use it to service the loan. Imagine if rental market crashed, ppl will start to sell property and cause a dominos effect on the property market crashing it.

  3. Actually it is ineffective to criticise him. It may even be counterproductive because such criticisms encourage him to implement repressive measures to fix the opposition, silence his critics. It all comes back to us – the people end up paying twice, double – the repression and the costs of funding all the expensive projects and declining and loss in revenues. Nothing much can be done. Has criticisms done us any good? We criticise but keep voting them back

  4. Interesting observations. Now I’m really curious to hear what the G has to say to explain these questions, allegations, presumptions??? Don’t know what to call it.

  5. I am glad Singaporean are voicing and expressing their utter disappointment with this present bunch of Ministers and Government. I just pray and hope that we vote in a new and fresh government in GE 2020. That’s the only way we get to put in place a truly “Government of the People, by the People and for the People” Please Singaporean for the sake of our future generation’s vote wisely and not just complain.

  6. Pinky Loon ‘s strategy has always being ‘silence is my best defence’ since he hasn’t got any answer or solution or even idea. He’s not answerable to anyone except heaven. 70% voters gave him the mandate without even thinking what kind of policies he’s implementing or which direction he’s heading. So he can direct his team of millionaire ministers to whatever he pleases. This Pinky guy is taking us back to 3rd World with many, many Sinkies making ends meet with back breaking low paying jobs. Sinkies are too dumb for too long. Wake up!

  7. I guess the foreigners are being paid through scholarships to work for government. The jobs may not be what singaporeans are seeking for. Majority are looking out for great prospect and easy life. Govt giving more edusave bursaries are to help out slightly for students but parents should bear the full payments. Because of awareness of this different method on education, it is understandable, we felt unjust.

  8. Who dared to challenge the son of LKY? Singapore Prime Minister will simply ignored this. It is impossible for PAP to lose.

  9. I belong to the 70% who are grateful for the good leadership that we have. The government is far from perfect but is better than any other alternative.

    On the issue of scholarships for talented foreign students, this is a wonderful strategy to attract top young talent from neighbouring countries. Some of them may take up PR and citizenship later and contribute to our growth. Others may go back to their countries but Singapore will have a special place in their hearts and if they become leaders of their countries or businesses, this will help international relations. Talent is scarce and if we can attract the good ones, why not.

    Don’t be so negative and cuss all the time. If you take responsibility for your own fate, you will find it meaningless to keep blaming others, including the PAP.

    • What drugs are you taking? “Singapore will have a place in their hearts” my ass! Most of them not serving NS and yet you think they are thinking about Singapore? Gullible and naive. Tax increasing and yet salaries stagnate. “meaningless to keep blaming others, including the PAP”. Hopefully you’re not squeeze dry.

    • We have just been busted by China and US. When SG was trumpeting against China on SCS issue, all ASEAN members kept quiet. The worse is yet to be. No need to put on a brave front. Pinky messed up all our international relationships. The steep decline will be painful. When the boat sinks, all aliens will jump ship. So Stop dreaming and don’t parrot the talking cock. We heard it all already.

    • Wow!!!!! Are you on drugs!!!???!!! Listen to yourself talk!
      you don’t admit smelling smoke even when your own hair’s on fire?!?!

  10. treats foreigners better than local. what are these ministers doing. they are worst than A dog that bites the hand that feed them. if I know. I would rather kills these dog than giving them million dollars salary and yet they turn against us.

  11. “Don’t utilise the donkey and people say you are dumb, Utilise the Donkey and people say you are abusing the donkey, carry the donkey and people say you are stupid to carry the donkey”
    So what is the policy that can satisfy everyone ?

  12. The open letter is myopic. It is not about local vs foreigner. It is about : can meritocracy be based on academic results alone, whether the individual is local or foreigner ? Is the Confucian notion or ancient Chinese system of scholar, soldier, farmer completely outdated ? If you think quite a bit of money goes to foreign students who in any case did a lot better academically than the average of Singaporeans, what about scholarships from government, TLCs, banks etc given to Singaporeans ? Why did the writer not say reduce scholarships in total, which are given to a small group, and fund the education fees of the larger group, who definitely are not in the same academic results league.

  13. Scholarships should be scrapped altogether, it’s only producing greedy Yes men who serve themselves and beholden to one familee. Nothing good has come out from such ungrateful free loaders.

  14. It’s true. Governments grants to local graduates for scientific research projects are around $1800 a month whereas a foreign graduate can get over $10K for doing the same work

  15. 1) need to pay public servants higher salaries and spend on new ideas that won’t work. Ah Kong’s money no need to save. That is probably how the public servants think anyway.

    2) 300 dollars allows you to spend $16,350 without feeling the difference. After that the effect kicks in. Can always give to others if you don’t need.

    3) so commuters get more MRT access across the island. Also more roads. Construction industry will also boost GDP numbers to make it look like we are doing well. Why not? If this isn’t done, people will complain why no MRT station and why 2 hour bus trips from point A to B.

    4) you have no idea how high the salary scales are for armed forces regulars. Not to mention the maintenance and procurement of equipment. There are many to feed. For example, a captain is paid around 6 to 7k a month. There are many, not to mention the higher ranked ones who are paid more. You should have signed on instead of complain.

    5) Suck it up sinkies. No matter how talented you are, you don’t qualify for that pot of cash. You can renounce early on in life then apply for these as a foreigner.

    6) this argument is getting old. Rich people don’t want to be taxed. We need low taxes to remain competitive. The poor are here to stay, so nothing they can do except pay for it. Become rich if you want to lower the pain of increased GST.

  16. i really dont care… 70% voted for this and they will continue on to vote for pap in the next election. whole cycle will keep repeating. better to migrate to free yourself from this constant bout and live for your family and yourself. Singapore doesn’t deserve us, pap doesn’t deserve us,

  17. As always : Ownself Praise Ownself. One adds other titles : Group Think, Mindless Applause. Dear Great Leader. Too Big to Fall, too Big to Listen, too Big to Resign. Money No Enough. I fear for my Country!

  18. Dun put anonymous… sgp in sg have become second class citizens already… we contribute to society and we got peanuts… vote as per last election.. support them more.. we sg will see what will we become… buget talk also no use.. no transparency.. see for what??

  19. Obviously PAP has groomed a bunch of LIARS.
    From Tharman, Ng Eng Hern, Ng Chee Meng, Ong Ye Kang etc.
    All have been education Minister.
    Now look at SG, we have pumped in almost 10 billions yearly budget.
    However, lots of Poly Graduates are not able to secure jobs related to
    their field of studies.
    Yet Stat boards are filled by IMMIGRANTS who know STUFF that can be easier
    complete by LOCALs.
    Keep throwing money, keep taxing and NO DUTY and RESPONSIBILITIES.
    F the PAP.!

  20. Gratefulness. Humbleness. Thankfulness.
    As citizens we need to cherish what we have and are given. Subsidies and assistance are made available for the needy.

    Our government exceeds in their decisions and implementations for their nation. Try living in third world countries or highly citizen favoredcountries if Singapore is not a suitable nation for you. Experience poverty, war, selfish living, distress to appreciate your country more. We are free to explore. Travel and discover.

    • Riiiiight… and live like a slave that knows no freedom.
      “Any society that would give up essential liberty to obtain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
      Ben Franklin”

      So go live in your false scenes of security. Singaporeans never tasted freedom before that’s why we have a nanny state always been told what
      To do ,how to wok, where to stay and what to think.
      We have a weak constitution that’s why government it is what it is. This government or any government for that matter that takes up the next mantel next, must absolutely abide by the constitution of Singapore!!!! Period!!!!!

  21. Increase the corporate tax and reduce gst. Stop companies to keep importing foreigners while papies use this to disguise their money laundering acts.

  22. The last GST increases did nothing but inflate the coffers even though it was promised that they would be used to pay for social programmes. They left it entirely vague and it left people wondering how much of the increase went into these social spending.

    How about telling us what social programmes they’re going towards and how much these would cost this time?

    In a commercial setting, would you go to the bank with firstly vague ideas of what you wanted money for and secondly how much money you’ll actually need? That they have in fact done this shows us that they’re not rigorous and/or don’t think we deserve that level of rigour.

  23. This government cannot follow the track of the world , China which is slower but now they ahead us many year China already use QR code , internal
    Business we just follow , what we ahead the world is suck money ERP , parking using phone, auto payment to cpf , levy etc those make money for government we r the first one , other behind behind far behind

  24. I hope Singaporeans remembers that this government does not really care. The good things you hear from them are just a dog and pony show. Really they need time to spend their obscene salary do you really think they have time for you Singaporeans?

  25. Our Singapore Government is very smart in earnings the Main Importers of Goods paying Gst 7% to the Customs and they sold the same goods to the wholesalers + Gst 7% again which also goes to our Government and then the same goods sold to retailers again with +Gst 7% so Totally our Smart Government is getting 21% from our pockets. And still they are very greedy to increase Gst. God is great!!!!

  26. Goh’s FB comments is trying to hint to PM not to overstay his welcome. There is seriously nothing much on his report card during his rein – besides increase in taxes.

  27. Why hint? He is the emeritus prime minister after all, no power to remove the dishonorable son?
    Then why is Lau Goh still around if he is ineffective in doing anything?
    He should be gone and not be paid.

  28. Sgp’s poor is basically “sleeping” with the Govt who promise them goodies at every election.
    After the election, the poor lap up all the goodies and wait for the next GE to come around.
    Again the Govt promised the poor goodies. And the poor vote them in again.

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  30. Although I have said in an earlier post that we should refrain from constantly criticizing the authorities, it does not mean that we do nothing. We only have one place and one time to do something effective – and that is at the polls. We need to have more representation from the alternative parties. The little representation is barely enough, sorely too little. We have reached the bottom, things have become worse, one could say this is the worst, cast aside your fears, give other parties a chance, give those like WP a bigger chance, give parties without representation an opportunity in parliament. You need your MP to represent your interests, concerns and make a difference. Please do not limit your concerns to a covered walkway, a shelter at a place or a hub, look at concrete concerns. Think about what they are. You know what they are. Make your vote count. That is your last and only chance.

  31. 1) If you have a budget surplus of almost $10 billion from last year, why are u still raising the GST?
    There is a reason we name PAP
    2) Isn’t giving u $300 on one hand (bribing one with one’s own money) and taking it away on the other hand with a GST increase, rather meaningless?

    It’s why SG is least corrupted in the world.
    3) Why are we spending billions $ on infrastructure like rail and roads when we have a zero population growth and almost negative birthrate? Who are we building these infrastructure for? To accommodate your target of 6.9 million population? So, we are spending Singaporean taxpayer money on infrastructure for foreigners?

    Spending to boost GDP to boost MP KPI and bonus tied to GDP.
    4) Why is our defence budget 40% larger then our healthcare budget, more then $4 billion more. To buy weapons and equipment to fight who? Name our enemy, Mr. Prime Minister. With an aging population, healthcare should far surpass the defence budget, not the other way round

    Arms dealing is actually very lucrative business to gov.sg thanks to Singaporean taxpayer money and their sons as labour protection for the rich is also generating premium safe harbour status.
    5) Increasing the education budget by giving more edusave bursaries to our student is like giving crumbs to us. Your govt is giving full scholarships to foreign students, why can’t we get that deal instead?

    foreign is talent…any other question Singaporean.
    6) If u need more money, instead of taxing the poor with a GST increase, why don’t u raise the tax rate for the high earners (those earning over $1 million a year). I am sure there are thousands of such people, including all your Cabinet Ministers and many MPs. If you tax them more, u surely can avoid the GST.

    Go back to answer four….why SG is safe harbour for rich….

  32. The amount of imbeciles in the country… you guys and girls need to calm down and think about this rationally instead of complaining about how bad your life is. To be honest you sad blokes are just jealous of the wealthy (Don’t get me wrong im not rich as well, but i dont whine about it… the world is unfair). Everything is justifiable and reasonable, from the announcement of the gst hike despite the surplus, to why we arent taxing the rich. Jesus, if you guys are armed with “surface-level” information, of course it seems bad. But if you actually look at macro factors, you will know it is not as simple as it looks.

  33. Hi Anonymous. Why do you keep talking to yourself? Wait. Am I talking to myself? Why am I doing that? Am I speaking to myself from another dimension? Are you satisfied now? I mean, me. I mean… You! Me! Arrghhh!

  34. Are you guys serious ? Without seeing the true importance of what he/she is conveying. Just dissing an argument away doesn’t help with anything , why not think rationally without putting your own emotions first into the whole conversations like kpoh singaporeans you are. Trust to think that maybe some of you might agree with his/her thoughts and feelings. No empathy at all. I am one of those average or even poor majority who cannot afford to this nonsense of increase in gst. I believe in karma to those who don’t even give a damn about this or causing more harm to this society 🙂

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