Jamus Lim

Jamus Lim sought to clarify the policies proposed by The Workers’ Party concerning Singapore’s reserves, as the writer of a letter published on Chinese-language news site zaobao.com.sg appeared to believe that these policies would “raid” the reserves and leave the next generation of Singaporeans “impoverished and indebted.”

The context of the letter is about the Goods and Services Tax hike, which the WP continues to oppose. The letter-writer, by the name of Mr Lim, wrote that WP’s policies involving using Singapore’s reserves in order to fund the government’s aid packages would take a toll on future generations. 

The letter was published on Nov 15, and the rebuttal from the Sengkang GRC MP, an Associate Professor of Economics at ESSEC Business School, was published three days later.

Assoc Prof Lim first thanked the letter writer for recognizing the importance of having multiple opinions in Congress, before clarifying that neither he nor the other WP MPs are suggesting that aid packages be financed by borrowing.

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Furthermore, in April, the WP explained why its alternatives to GST hike would not “slay the golden goose,” which is how former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong once referred to the nation’s reserves.

And in a Facebook post on Sunday (Nov 20), the MP added that he has a hard time buying into the argument that the policies proposed by the WP would deplete Singapore’s reserves.

“First—as I stressed in the piece—slowing the rate of accumulation of reserves can hardly be called taking from it. It is like someone declaring that since they’ve cut down their meals from 6 a day to 5, they’re now on a diet. 

Second, it’s not as if the money spent today is being squandered. Often, it’s used to fund important public expenditure needs, like education and infrastructure. These are investments in the future to begin with, even if the spending occurs today. 

Finally, even if the spending goes toward non-investment needs such as healthcare for the elderly, why would this necessarily amount to selling our children short?” 

Assoc Prof Lim ended his post by writing, “After all, if we scrimp on paying for essential preventative and corrective healthcare today, the bill will eventually come due down the road, and our kids may eventually be burdened with an even costlier palliative care bill.”

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The letter to Zaobao may be found here, and Assoc Prof Lim’s rebuttal here.

/TISG

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