Letters: A Government that “Feels Our Pain” Won’t Raise Prices of All Basic Goods during a Recession

PEI FEN: I view with skepticism Minister Chan Chun Sing’s statement that the government feels the “pain of our people”.

Mr Chan also said that this government is not a “cynical government”, but I beg to differ. A government that cares for the people will not raise the prices of basic goods across the board during a time when Singaporeans are going through a tough recession and an uncertain economy.

As it stands, like NCMP Leon Perera pointed out, economic growth is at its lowest since the 2009 economic slump, and there are not enough jobs available for job-seekers. As an average Singaporean, I too feel the pinch in my daily life and have had to implement belt-tightening measures for my family.

During this time, I feel that it is very uncaring of the government to raise costs of basic necessities, especially since they will have a ripple effect and cause the prices of other goods and services to spiral upwards. How can it be that during this tough time, the government raises HDB carpark fees by 20 percent, cost of gas and electricity, S&CC fees and now even water prices.

Water and electricity are basic goods and raising costs now will affect all Singaporeans, and some 80 percent of Singaporeans are HDB flat dwellers so they will have to incur higher expenditure for that too. While lower-income Singaporeans may receive subsidies, it is the middle class that gets squeezed even tighter.

Besides this, the addition of a carbon tax and the restructuring of diesel tax will only cause businesses to pass on the burden of cost to consumers. The government would be naive to believe that this would not be the case. As it it, some coffee shops have already raised prices such that a usual cup of kopi can now cost S$1.40.

Making Singaporeans face higher direct costs, and higher indirect costs at the same time during a recession – is this the mark of a government that feels our pain, Mr Chan?



Thanks Pei Fen for this letter.
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