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Singaporeans Relieved that Kim-Trump Summit Didn’t Go S$280 Million Over-Budget like YOG

Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan’s selfie with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un struck fear in Singaporeans.

Not so much about nuclear bombs, but ballooning budgets.

Some factions of Singapore have already been complaining about the S$20 million spent on hosting the Kim-Trump Summit, and there were worries that Mr Balakrishnan’s involvement might lead to a bigger drain on public tax monies.

Mr Balakrishnan was in charge of Singapore’s hosting of the Youth Olympic Games 2010.

According to the then-Minister for Community Development, the Games was supposed to cost Singapore S$104 million to host.

The final expenditure: S$387 million.

Taxpayers were livid, despite the explanation that the Games, being the first ever YOG, would put Singapore on the map.

Mr Balakrishnan later admitted in parliament, “We were plain wrong.”

Adding to that, he said:

“We underestimated the requirements and the consequential cost for several major functional areas in hosting the Games.”

Still, Mr Balakrishnan maintained that the S$387 million spent would reap value, despite him having “no excuse for getting it wrong the first time.”

“Singapore will now be remembered as the country that hosted the world’s first Olympics for youth.”

While Singaporeans lauded the government for being transparent about the S$20 million cost of hosting the Kim-Trump summit, there were worries that the cost would balloon just as it did the YOG.

Said Lisa Yong:

“A bit over-budget is play and quite normal, but hopefully we don’t get a shock later when the final bill arrives”.

Matilda Teo called for more transparency on the part of the government:

“If really the government spent S$20 million on this meeting to bring peace to the world, then it’s money well-spent. But it would be good for the government to give a breakdown of cost so that the public know how our money is being spent.”

Some, apparently, haven’t gotten the YOG fiasco out of their heads.

Said Damien Lim:

“How did someone who can over-budget by S$200 million not get the sack, but get a promotion to Foreign Affairs Minister instead? If private sector, this fella jia lat already!”



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