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Hazel Poa: Majority relying on Govt grants for living costs signals unhealthy situation

NCMP Hazel Poa deems a reliance on government handouts for daily expenses unhealthy, emphasizing this concern during the Budget 2024 debate on Monday. Her remarks reflect widespread worries among Singaporeans regarding the rising cost of living.



SINGAPORE: Hazel Poa, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), expressed her view that a situation where the majority of the population relies on government handouts to manage the cost of living is inherently unhealthy.

Ms Poa conveyed this perspective while participating in the Budget 2024 debate on Monday (26 February), highlighting the persistent worry among Singaporeans about the escalating cost of living.

The newly ascended PSP’s Secretary General noted that the government currently assists Singaporeans in dealing with GST and cost of living increases through cash grants, rebates, and vouchers.

This has led to a situation where a significant portion of the population regularly receives government handouts.

Acknowledging the support measures outlined in Budget 2024, as announced by Deputy Prime Minister Wong on 16 February, with no additional major tax increases disclosed, Ms Poa cautioned that while short-term support is appreciated, the PSP maintains that these measures do not provide long-term solutions addressing the root causes of the rising cost of living.

“In any society there will always be people with different income levels and it is normal for government to give grants to the lower income families.”

“But if the bulk of the population need government handouts to cope with cost of living, then that cannot be a healthy situation, ” she cautioned.

Ms Poa suggested that Singapore should be cautious about the normalization of the idea that it’s common for the majority of the population to receive government handouts.

“It may be the easier route to provide handouts to cope with the cost of living, but we must focus on taking steps to keep costs in check. ”

Ms Poa identifies internal factors fuelling rising costs in Singapore

In her view, while external factors like global forces (such as oil prices, food prices, disruptions to supply chains due to pandemics, wars, or climate change) contribute to rising prices, there are also internal factors within Singapore driving costs, including property prices, Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices, population policies, and government taxes.

Ms Poa specifically points out the escalating rent as a fundamental cause of the increasing cost of living, particularly affecting the retail and food and beverage sectors.

To address this issue, she calls on the government to intervene by implementing guidelines on reasonable annual rent increases, drawing a parallel to the National Wage Council’s guidelines on wage increases.

On home prices, Ms Poa reiterated PSP’s proposal on the affordable home scheme in which HDB flat prices do not include the land cost component for homebuyers upon their first purchase, with the land cost deferred until they sell their flats.

“This will greatly ease the burden of housing costs on young people and allow them to more easily build up their retirement savings. ”

She also proposed the government to reconsider exempting a list of basic necessities from GST to alleviate the impact on lower and middle-income families as GST rates increase.

Ms Poa argued that land sales impact HDB prices, adding to the challenges faced by home buyers.

While additional grants make HDB flats more affordable, Ms Poa noted the taxpayer burden, urging a strategic approach.

Ms Poa reiterated PSP’s proposal: treating land sales proceeds as revenue and dividing them over the duration of the lease, which could potentially relieve the tax burden on Singaporeans.

Ms. Poa found it encouraging that the Prime Minister acknowledged this proposition during the recent public finances debate.

She said PSP welcomed the SkillsFuture Level Up program announced by DPM Wong. This initiative involves a S$4,000 top-up in SkillsFuture Credit specifically allocated for selected courses catering to Singaporeans aged 40 and above.

“We believe that full-time training will be more effective in enhancing the employability of our workers. These policies will also enable our middle-aged workers to switch careers more easily and move into areas with better or more job opportunities.”

Nevertheless, she expressed disappointment over the delayed release of details for the Temporary Financial Support Scheme, underscoring the critical need for prompt implementation to provide crucial financial assistance to workers facing retrenchment.

Ms Poa has raised concerns regarding the potential impact of the period of unemployment on the size of the training allowance for retrenched workers entering full-time training.

She calls for government confirmation, emphasizing that the training allowance should be based on the last drawn pay when these workers were employed.

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Clutch mentality had worked well for the Kayu Son, so he would think it would work best to Singaporeans. Especially the 61% morons.

We want solutions, not price increase . Thank you

VTO !! tsk tsk tsk

Well said fafs, what you pointed out makes sense. That actually help explains why pAp need rich foreigners here to make up the loss in taxes that poor sgreans they control could not pay. From the recent toilet washing training course in SkillsFuture, it seems like it is their desire to keep citizens poorly employed to maintain this trend.

One do not need to base on the situation of reliance on Govt grants for living costs to see that things are unhealthy.

Many years ago, Singapore is already known as a fine city because you get fine for everything they can fine you for. Using fines to control the citizens will only work if the citizens are consistently cash strapped. And to make the cost of living, taxes and others ever so high is a good way to keep the citizens cash strapped. Hence, the unhealthy situation has already been around for decades.

You oppie motherfuckers are really one kind. Government doesn’t help, you say government heartless. Government helps, you say unhealthy. So, what do you want the government to do?

The SG situation had been unhealthy for a while now..stagnated by lazy money crazy present PAP.
Vietnam , Cambodia, are catching up..their people are hungry for change after decades of war..
Our sgov have been lying on their laurels for far too long…always stealing the limelight of the 1G leaders…

The BASTARDLY way of FORCING the valuable seniors to cohabit and co share rental flats MEANS ONLY 1 thing – old folks ARE USELESS and REDUNDANT to Millionaire PAP.

See what – they have choicest rental rates to stay in Ridout Road – anyone contrarian gets POFMA. And these Monsters by ages ARE NOT OLD?

Use Common Sense – look AT ALL THE MULTITUDE of increases, th SA Removal, the REDUCTION of CPF interests rates, AND the Increase Contribution Rates, ADD ALL together, and the PICTURE is this :


Removal of SA and ONLY USE OA for housing MEANS to service Higher Flat Rental prices – bcz the other way is BOSSES sure Cry Father Mother of PAP increase OA for high flat prices.

As usual the very stale and stink PAP Administration template

– we have various assistance schemes, in place bla bla (the UNPUBLICISED issue is, yes, various assistances schemes, BUT BUT BUT what’s the Qualifications, Terms and C’s?) but ONE MUST be so bloody poor then qualify ; BUT THAT’S NOT ALL, the PAP will REVEAL all SECRETS and CONFIDENTIAL, IRRELEVANT info when the PAP is ANNOYED and CORNERED, and SHAMED.

This money centric regime, with the nation’s hardcore financial data at hand, must know, … that more than just a few 100thousand are in dire circumstances, financially which can and will only lead to mental pressures and issues. This number and crisis will only grow, … given the malign and money grabbing policies of this, dare I say, … democratically elected government of the people !!! As I’ve said on many an occasion over the years, there’ll only be a “moment of realisation”, … when more are affected and impacted directly and personally !!! That moment is drawing ever closer… Read more »

They won’t admit anything … Horrible Leadership and only want to use Might to subdue others!!!!

If the PAP govt can make NS an unavoidable (for most people … *ahem* Tony …) obligation. I think it would also be possible to make having a living wage job an entitlement for any citizen able/wanting to have one.

Rainy days are befalling most retired seniors who once help build the foundations of today ‘s Singapore.As was repeatedly emphasized by the government of those days ,our reserves will be drawn to weather rainy days.For all retired SG seniors that day has evidently arrived.Apart from free Medicare,all retired true blue seniors should be given at least S$750/= per month to help them live comfortably out their remaining short life span with dignity.

Are you telling us this 70% Pineapple Lovers:
1) Increase GST
2) Increase PUB utilities
3) Increase COE, ERP
4) Increase Food Prices
5) Increase Housing prices
6) Increase Cost of Living
7) Increase Transport fares
8) Increase Hospital and Medical costs
9) Increase Foreigners intake, increase job losses
10) Increase Prices on Chicken, Eat Fish
11) Increase in Ageing population, collect carton boxes, a good form of
12) Failed 2 Child Policy
We need solutions not price increase!!!! What do you think?

This is how the white termite colony can hold onto the power for status, money, power and sometimes women too.
If not, how to control the people like slaves and robots? Lol.

PAP believes that manufacturing, ship repairs, aircraft repairs, can be staffed with foreigners, and even done in neighbouring countries but with a Singapore registered ownership or control. Even with digital banking, it is staffed with foreigners. Ok. But what jobs will our own people do..? They cannot be politicians, as PAP is not encouraging it. They cannot even be police, as these are also outsourced. Ahhh…!! drivers…!! drivers of cars to chauffeur VIPs to ASEAN minister’s meetings, Airshows,F1, exhibitions, trade shows.. etc.. Might as well remove PSLE/GCE/Poly and go straight into skills future Unfortunately, 70% here are daft and will… Read more »

The loong-era has been a TOTAL FAILURE for SG and Singaporeans. To compensate for leadership incompetency, loong has resorted to dishing out handouts to quieten the growing discontent on the ground. (PAP has lost more than 20% of pre-loong-era voters and 2 GRCs – clear indications of rudderless leadership). Using a Kelong president to raid our reserves. Things are done in a “blur-and-fuxk” way, like the SimplyGo saga. Much like his clutch mentality to his daddy, Hazel is correct to say creating a sense of reliance on gov grants is not the way forward.