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President Tharman lauds PAP Govt’s budget; RP’s Jeyaretnam questions his impartiality

President Tharman praised Singapore’s budgeting discipline, but RP Chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam questioned his impartiality, emphasizing the expectation for the former PAP Minister to remain above political affiliations.



SINGAPORE: Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Secretary-General of the Reform Party, criticized President Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s recent remarks, alleging that he is leveraging his position to endorse the People’s Action Party (PAP) amidst speculation of an early election this year.

Mr Jeyaretnam underscored the expectation that as President, Tharman should remain impartial and above political affiliations. He also reiterated concerns regarding the opacity surrounding Singapore’s reserves.

Last Friday (22 March), in a Facebook video President Tharman announced his approval of the government’s spending plans for the coming financial year, which begins on 1 April.

Tharman emphasized Singapore’s distinctive approach to budgeting, noting the nation’s proactive measures to ensure financial sustainability and prudent spending practices.

He emphasized Singapore’s avoidance of what he termed as “magical thinking,” a practice prevalent in many countries.

Tharman noted the challenges posed by ageing populations and the imperative to address climate change, suggesting that most countries would need to increase spending in the years ahead.

“We have avoided what many countries are doing: Which is to spend first, borrow so they can finance the spending, let government debts rise to unsustainable levels, and hope that revenues will somehow spring up to pay for it later,” Mr Tharman said.

“Magical thinking always ends up unhappily.”

Mr. Tharman emphasized that the next generation faces a “raw deal” when governments inevitably confront economic realities.

This can lead to cuts in government spending, deterioration of critical public facilities, or significant increases in taxes, all of which he deemed inherently unfair and contrary to the principles established in Singapore’s constitutional framework.

“That’s simply unfair, and something that our whole system of rules in the Constitution is set up to avoid,” he added.

He further explained that he and the Council of Presidential Advisers scrutinized the financial sustainability of the plans presented by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and the Finance Ministry (MOF).

“It is how we ensure that we never have to draw down our reserves, except when exceptional crises hit Singapore,” the President said.

“And that we remain fair, to today’s generation and to our grandchildren’s generation. And their grandchildren too.”

However, Mr Jeyaretnam suggested a perception of bias towards PAP, implying that Mr Tharman utilized his position as President to advocate for the party’s interests during a sensitive political period.

Mr Jeyaretnam further criticized the government, accusing it of subjecting Singaporeans to “endure unnecessary austerity and artificially high land prices in order to produce a vast and growing surplus that is never spent.”

He highlighted declining birth rates among Singaporeans and questioned the beneficiaries of this surplus. Additionally, he questioned Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong’s reluctance to provide transparency regarding the reserves.

DPM Wong hands out goodies in Budget 2024 amidst early GE speculation

On 16 February,  Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced Singapore’s 2024 Budget in Parliament.

DPM Wong emphasized that this year’s budget addresses immediate concerns related to the cost of living for both households and businesses.

Simultaneously, the budget outlines strategies to enhance economic competitiveness, offer support to young families, and ensure the relevance of the workforce.

While reassuring the government’s dedication to providing increased support to households, it is challenging for Singaporeans not to view this year’s Budget announcement through the lens of an “Election Budget.”

Speculation about an early poll in 2024 adds a layer of significance to the budgetary decisions made.

On 20 August 2023, PM Lee revealed intentions to step down in favour of Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, potentially around the PAP’s 70th anniversary on 21 November 2024, although an exact timeline was not disclosed.

Previously expressing his wish “to step down before his 70th birthday in February 2022,” the unexpected challenges of the pandemic disrupted Lee’s plans.

Despite the absence of a clear timeline, PM Lee’s announcement suggests a likelihood of the General Election occurring next year, possibly before the party’s anniversary in November.

In response to the PAP’s dominant 2/3 majority in Parliament, Singapore’s political landscape has witnessed increased manoeuvring,  intensifying grassroots outreach efforts, and witnessing alternative parties forming political alliances — both formal and informal — to contest in the upcoming GE.

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I doubt very very much PRODUCTIVITY is an Element on PAP Administration’s EXTRAVAGANT spending – looking at the various huge wastage of money THAT ARE ROBBED from the Reserves so freely by the PAP Without Accountability, One wonders How Tharman explained that the PAP don’t resort to Magical Thinking.

This is the BIGGEST Bull Shit from a very pro PAP EP. The Magic thinking was already there when SLA processed the rental of BW Bungalows

Tharman knows la, this is an Election year Budget.
Rub in for PAP a bit.
I am sure Tharman also knows, that Good Times are over.
There is competition all around.
This is just the start for Lawrence Wong.

hahaha…. i am independent.

Cotton and pineapple lovers.

Please remember $1000 salary can afford HDB

Go and check out what the latest HDB BTO and resales prices. tsk tsk tsk

So what has this People’s president done for the people so far?

As long as there is no withdrawal of the ‘Reserve’, the POS has no say in the budget and spending of the government.
So, to say that he and his merry men had “scrutinized” the Budget and then proceed to produced a nice sounding word salad of it, is truly nothing more than plain bias voice.

KJ’s critique is spot on.

Impartiality ?

The 70’s PAPsident .

Mr President just says those ‘magical’ words that we do not need to draw on the reserves.

Then why do we need the 2nd key the president is holding? Must as well throw away the key together with the bathwater?

Hot girls are waiting for you on —

Pappies dun practice magical thinking??? 1) Keep importing population, citing our birthrate issue, but our TFR continues to decline, hor. Magic thinking – importing population can improve our TFR, meh? 2) Pay PM/ministers world’s highest salaries will prevent corruption, meh? Ultimate magic thinking. 3) Kelong president, which ZERO VOTERS voted for, is a “people’s president”, hor? Truly magic. 4) SG has achieved Swiss standards – Magic of Ownself Say Ownself. 5) SG was a small fishing village before PAP took over. Small fishing village got largest dry dock in the region at that time, many of our established/reputable schools, hospitals,… Read more »

F…k KJ and you all the CB foul mouth okay. Tharman got the mandate from the people, and a very strong one, just a reminder in case you silly oppies got no memory, and where is your supported TKL? Still enjoying taking girls photo? You dumb foul if you don’t understand let me explain to you in very layman, government = PAP, president = ex PAP, how and where to draw the line. When he speaks about our government, you say he is bias towards endorsing. Means he cannot talk at all about governing? Better watchout your foul mouth don’t… Read more »

Independent Pineapple

It would have been better if he just quietly approved it to save his own face. The scrutiny of the budget now lies with the Opposition and others in the field. Tharman scored his own goal when he chose to become President. Now he falls into the same category of people as the past Presidents except for OTC.

LMFAO..all the pineapple supporters just found out their elected president is a PAP supporter? I could have told you that.

Remember the headlines on Sept02~2023, … … “He is going to make a clear difference as the new President”: Tharman supporters jubilant after win. Truly, … SillyPoreans deserve all that lays before them and ahead of them too. It’s naivety and plain stupidity, .., to seriously expect Tharman to be objective and impartial in his role as President. Besides, why rock the boat when the “role” is entirely ceremonial and serves no modern day relevance, … just like the SinoBritish joint declaration !!! Tharman, like the 2 previous Presidents, … are wholly, entirely and completely committed to the pap, their… Read more »

Here is the president you selected, lovers of Pineapples. Clapping like a seal in approval to whatever their masters propose.

I would feel pity, but then again he’s paid over a million dollars a year, and has the ability to resign at any time.

It turns out that no matter what ethnicity you are, you can be devoid of integrity. Truly we are all equal.