In response to a forum letter writer, Mr Roy Goh Hin Soon, who criticized the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) proposals to reduce defence spending, Dr Paul Tambyah points out that the Singapore government has reduced its defence spending since 2009 with no visible reduction in Singapore's overall security.
Read his forum letter here.
In his letter ("Cutting defence spending will invite trouble"; last Thursday), Mr Roy Goh Hin Soon cites the case of Israel.
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.
The reality is that the Singapore Government has significantly reallocated government resources from defence to social support, including healthcare.
In fact, our defence expenditure has dropped from 26 per cent of total government expenditure in 2009 to 19 per cent in the 2015 Budget.
We do not think that Singapore is less secure now than it was in 2009.
The Government is right in taking the first steps towards greater investment in healthcare and social safety nets, relative to defence, as Singapore matures.
But much more can be done by engaging the people of Singapore in deciding how our money is spent.
Paul Tambyah (Dr)
Central Executive Committee
Singapore Democratic Party