Jamus Lim

SINGAPORE: Workers’ Party MP Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC) explained how the high prices of the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), the document allowing Singaporeans to own and drive cars, affects everyone, not just wealthy individuals. In a Wednesday morning (Nov 22) Facebook post, Assoc Prof Lim talked about the issue, which is part of the motion on the cost of living crisis the WP filed and was debated in Parliament earlier this month.

“Some may wonder if COE prices are just the concern of elites. I don’t think so. Two in five households own a car. Many of these are just regular families, many with young children, for which wheels help get kids to classes, pull off grocery runs, and make work appointments. Others are those with an elderly or dependent with medical needs, for which a reliable ride becomes almost a necessity. Besides, pricey car COEs spill over into the cost of semi-public options, like taxis and rideshares, or low-cost alternatives, like motorbikes,” he wrote in his post.

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The Sengkang GRC wrote that he highlighted the high cost of COE prices because it has been the biggest contributor to higher and higher transport costs. COE prices made the news around the globe as they reached record highs last month, although prices have moderated since then.

Read related: Jamus Lim: COE system is broken; time to implement changes

He also shared the solutions he proposed in Parliament through a series of infographics and further explained why the proposed solutions show how important the opposition voice is.

“A vote for the incumbent PAP is for more of the same, an acceptance that the system, which has delivered ever-rising costs of living, does not need reform. What we’re saying is that, despite having served a solid purpose, more of the same no longer cuts it when the young worry about being able to afford their first flat, or young families a modest car, or lower-income households relief from high water and electricity bills.”

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The proposals Assoc Prof Lim put forth include segmenting the COE market into more specialized categories and creating a category specifically for vehicles driven for commercial purposes and for Electric Vehicles (EVs), which he had already proposed in Parliament last year. He also proposed removing private hire cars from regular Category A and B bidding, proposing that car dealers should no longer be allowed to bid and that second car purchases should be required to be in the open category.

The Sengkang GRC MP also proposed solutions for addressing high COE costs for motorcycle owners, many of whom are from lower-income families. /TISG

Read also: Increased COE Quota For Category A, B, And C From Nov 2023 To Jan 2024