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SDP's Dr Paul Tambyah: Defence spending cut, but Singapore is not any less secure

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In a letter written to The Straits Times Forum page, Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) central executive member, Dr Paul Tambyah, rebutted the forum page’s letter-writer Roy Goh Hin Soon.
Roy had in his letter, ‘Cutting defence spending will invite trouble“, said that he was very worried about what might happen to Singapore if the Government accedes to SDP’s proposal to reduce our military spending.
The letter writer referred to the six-day war in which Israel emerged victorious, and said that the middle-eastern country was able to triumph because because it had very advanced weaponry at the time, and a team of well-trained fighter pilots.
In his letter Dr Tambyah pointed out that Israel is a country that remains in an active state of war to this day.
“Mr Goh also ignores the contribution of the United States Pacific Command and the US 7th Fleet, which are a powerful force and a key factor for peace and stability in the region, as pointed out by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Shangri-La Dialogue last year,” Dr Tambyah said.
Highlighting the fact that the Singapore Government has significantly reallocated government resources from defence to social support, including healthcare, the medical doctor said that Singapore’s “defence expenditure has dropped from 26 per cent of total government expenditure in 2009 to 19 per cent in the 2015 Budget.”
Singapore is not less secure now than it was in 2009, the opposition party member emphasised.
In saying that the Government is right in taking the first steps towards greater investment in healthcare and social safety nets, relative to defence, Dr Tambyah asked the Singapore government to do more by “engaging the people of Singapore in deciding how our money is spent.”

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