PAP Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling’s recent statements on Singapore’s 2020 Budget has struck a nerve with some netizens.
MP Tin Pei Ling on Thursday (Feb 27) addressed two of her key concerns regarding the 2020 Budget, saying that the Government should cater to the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as that of freelancers.
Describing the budget as “a responsive budget that prepares Singaporeans for the challenges ahead,” Ms Tin cited the S$4 billion Stabilisation and Support Package which “helps companies to stay liquid and thus preserv(es) the jobs of Singaporeans.”
She stressed that amid the challenges Singapore is now faced with, especially the Covid-19 outbreak which has served a strong blow to the economy, it is paramount that the Singaporean work force is supported by the Government “with measures to encourage them to be more productive and innovative.”
With this in mind, Ms Tin, the youngest MP in Parliament, zeroed-in on SMEs and freelancers and gave two key suggestions.
“SME’s, comprising 72% of our employment, are most in need of supportive measures to help them retain local employees, ” she said. She suggested that the Government sees to it that these measures “ultimately flow through to the micro and small enterprises.”
According to a report by Mothership, Ms Tin urged the Government to give SMEs access to the Enterprise Financing Scheme, which provides local enterprises with loans. She also highlighted that though “banks may be less motivated to serve individual micro-enterprises,” if the said enterprises come together, and they are aided by merchant associations, then obtaining financial assistance from banks could very much be possible.
Tin said that many events and work assignments are cancelled or deferred as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.“They have little savings to see them through this period of work drought"
Aside from assisting SMEs, Ms Tin also suggested that the Government “provide more recognition and support for freelancers” as they are “especially vulnerable to changes in the economic conditions.” She went on to stress that as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, the cancellation of numerous events and tasks have become a common occurrence. Highlighting that freelancers also have families to provide for, “many of the financing options available now are not readily accessible to them as they are not registered companies and have no GST registrations.”
Given this, she urged the government to allow freelancers to avail of the working capital loan and to help them more easily access financial measures put in place to help keep their businesses running.
After giving her suggestions, Ms Tin stressed that at a time such as this, the Government must prioritise its people. “I would like to reiterate the importance of investing in our people to ensure high concentration of high-quality talents in Singapore for Singapore,” she said.
However, not all netizens found Ms Tin’s suggestions praise-worthy. The way Facebook user Grace Hew saw it, Ms Tin was merely “stating the obvious.” Ms Hew then called for “bright(er)” ideas, stressing that that is what politicians like Ms Tin are “paid high wages for.”
Another netizen called for the Government to speak on behalf of the citizens who voted them into their seats of power.
To netizen Jessica Chan, Ms Tin’s speech was nothing new. “Notice this one never says anything new,” she said, wondering why Ms Tin “just tag(s) along on the key issues already raised by others but get(s) a lot of exposure from the media regardless.”
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