Singapore—Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera, who is from the Workers’ Party (WP), spoke in Parliament on Friday (June 5), calling for a reduction in the expenses of this year’s National Day Parade (NDP).
In Parliament yesterday, I expressed the view of many Singaporeans, that we should reduce expenditure on this year's NDP…
He made the call “in solidarity with the needy at this difficult time,” Mr Perera wrote, as Singapore is in the midst of the severe economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
And while he acknowledged Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen’s point that it’s “important for the country to rally together to have a keynote that underlines our unity during this difficult time,” Mr Perera raised two additional questions in Parliament.
He first suggested that at this time, when “public finances are stretched” and citizens and small businesses are feeling economic stress, “perhaps the resources to give a pack to every household could be diverted to those who are more in need at this particular time.”
Mr Perera then underlined the importance of “consultation and buy-in from the public” as these would be “useful to understand whether most people would really want to have this and whether it would serve that purpose of banishing the despondency, raising the spirits, rallying and unifying everyone.”
He then proceeded to ask his supplementary questions.
“I wonder whether there could be a bigger role for consultation in future before a very large or elaborate logistical exercise, such as distributing packs for everyone, is undertaken.”
And secondly, he said, “I understand that REACH set up an online poll to solicit views of Singaporeans about the Funpack. I was wondering how long this poll was up for and what the results of this poll showed, if that is available.”
However, Mr Perera cautioned that “we should not allow different views on this issue to divide us in celebrating this coming NDP together as one united people.”
Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng also suggested consultations with families regarding the Fun Packs, specifically asking each household whether they wanted one or not, so that an accurate amount of Fun Packs could be determined.
Around 110,000 people in Singapore have signed a petition calling for the Fun Packs to be used for other purposes, given that the country, and the world, is still in the middle of the pandemic.
This year’s Fun Packs are called the Singapore Together Packs, and will be available at residents’ committee centres from July 20 onwards.
Many Singaporean netizens voiced out their agreement with Mr Perera.
Others said they disagreed with the Defence Minister’s point that to not allow NDP celebrations would allow despair to prevail.
Dr Ng had said in Parliament, “We should guard against a mood of despondency overcoming us or allow(ing) individual preferences to divide us.
If we allow despair to prevail in our national psyche, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic, then that will be the greatest harm to the future of Singapore – much worse than the economic impact, the loss of jobs and businesses.”
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