<Article by Tan Kheng-Liang>
For the PAP, it would seem that their underlying philosophy is that they value profits and monetary surpluses more than the well-being of its citizens. In turn, average Singaporeans who are compelled to pay bills whose inflation is higher than their salaries. Here are some examples to prove my point:
From next month onwards, HDB season parking prices will increase anywhere from $15 to $30 (as much as 40%) per car due to an increase in “operating costs”. However, an ASS reader had earlier pointed out that HDB had already made $595.2m from car park fees while the corresponding expenditure was only $78.8m!
Even if you don’t have a car, things as basic as electricity tariffs are not spared either. From 17.68¢ per kWh, the tariffs have since been increased to 19.27¢ (9.2%) with effect from June. However, the profits for Singapore Power for FY14/15 were already $1.58b, which is 14.2% increase from the FY13/14’s $1.39b!
Another necessity comes from NEA, which will increase waste collection fees by around 76¢ (10%) for each HDB household due to “higher manpower costs”. Similarly, their surplus for the FYE 31 Mar 16 was S$51.7m! And if this isn’t enough, it was a 33% increase from the past year’s $38.9m!!
Is there a need to make citizens pay more when profits are already so high? Even for some things like education (which is a basic necessity), there are also several fee hikes over the past year.
For the year 2016, Polytechnic tuition fees went up by $100 (4%) while hostel fees at NTU have also increased. This is happening despite NTU accumulating larger surpluses year on year while Polys are still getting surpluses (albeit smaller ones) after government grants due to cost pressures.
If there is a need to increase fees, shouldn’t the MOE cut down on their budget for scholarships on foreign students and channel it towards locals instead? Even as the PAP promised to trim the number of international students down to 18% (already very high), some sources have calculated otherwise.
Can you imagine all of these happening in the span of one year, especially when there are already sufficient profits? It’s as though the 3rd generation PAP leadership is an uncaring and elitist bunch who is not bothered about the lives of average Singaporeans!