In a ministerial statement, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat had said the Government would be channelling an additional S$8 billion for these new measures.
Mr Leong wrote on Facebook on Tuesday (Aug 18): “This is a welcome move by the Government. Those who are concerned about the draining of our reserves should note that these latest measures do not draw down the reserves. DPM Heng has said that the financial resources would be reallocated from development budgets that have been delayed.”
However, Mr Leong stated that the Government should not hesitate to draw from national reserves as long as it was done so “for our people”, especially during unprecedented times.
To ensure economic recovery, he felt that “$20b to $30b of additional spending for financial years 2021 and 2022 would be necessary”. This amount was approximately equal to the net investment income generated from the reserves annually.
He stated: “The reserves were accumulated from years of hard work and sacrifices of the Singaporeans and this is the time to draw on it to guarantee our present and future livelihoods.”
PSP’s views on what more can be done
Mr Leong mentioned the party’s suggestions on what could be done in addition to the new plans that would be initiated by the Government.
With regard to the Covid-19 Support Grant and Workfare Special Payment schemes, the party suggested that eligibility checks should be sped up as many Singaporeans had complained about the slow processing of applications for these schemes.
In addition, the Jobs Support Scheme, which was implemented to offset local employees’ wages and help protect their jobs, should be reviewed.
Mr Leong stated: “Review whether further JSS payments should include the PRs which is another issue that we have received a lot comments from Singaporeans too. After all, the reserves belong to Singaporeans and should be spent on Singaporeans.”
Rental was another concern for the party. Mr Leong stated that the Government should find more ways to reduce rent, and that “rental has not come down much during this crisis, in fact property prices have gone up, and this shows that the property owners are not sharing the pain”.
Mr Leong also offered the party’s view on how the Government can aid start-ups. He wrote: “Government should refrain from providing equity directly to start-ups but should help through a venture eco-system led by the venture capital industry with proper tax incentives, in the same way as it is providing loans to the SMEs through the banking system.”
Mr Leong’s full post may be viewed here.