a) Whether to charge the corrupt official
No, this is non- negotiable. The integrity of the government official is strictly non-negotiable. As from the Prime Minister point of view although removing the unpopular move will be unpopular, the reputation for incorruptibility would be destroyed. As the Minister for Defence have expressed our country was built on the principals of incorruption, no matter the circumstances, no exception can be made.
Closing an eye to the corruption case and allowing Mrs Chye Soon Boh to continue serving in the government will question the integrity of the government. This may have some detrimental effects. For example it distorts the accepted and cherished values, particularly achievement orientedness and diligence. It also undermines the fairness and stability in government and society. Furthermore if for instance the government really allows Mrs Chye Soon Boh to continue her service and the public finds out, the citizens would start to question the reliability of the current ruling party and this might not be too good in the following elections.
A corruption free environment will provide a source of competitive advantage. Since no investor will get the upper hand by means of bribing but of honest government representatives with high integrity.
Sacking and charging Mrs Chye Soon Boh will also to some extent cause investors to be happy doing business in the country because it reflects the government’s exceptionally fixed stand on anti-corruption no matter the situation.
Though it cannot be dismissed that the sacking of Mrs Chye Soon Boh will have almost immediate detrimental effects to the already declining country’s economy, however it is no reason to keep her in the government service. Furthermore the country cannot rely on one person to attract foreign investors to invest in the country. Instead it should rely on the country and the people itself. Exceptional infrastructure in communication and transportation, a highly skilled and disciplined labour force, tax exemptions, availability of industrial facilities will naturally attract foreign investors.
Another important factor would be political stability and integrity. The government taking a hard stand against corruption; sacking and charging Mrs Chye Soon Boh will contribute to the meritocratic ideal, and the levelling the playing field. Thus ensuring people and investors that there is a sense of fairness. In the long run this would attract foreign investor, as they will be ensured that Singapore is free from corruption and these in turn will benefit the economy.
Thus the government should and will take a strong stand against corruption and sack Mrs Chye Soon Boh charge her at court. Honesty in the government must be upheld.
b) Justify your priorities in the allocation of fund for each ministry.
Firstly, I disagree with the minister of finance to increase the GST by two percentage points. Instead I suggest that it be increase by 1% to 4%. 2% is probably be too severe and may instead adversely dampen the economy especially the retail sector. Also this will affect the county as a whole especially the middle class. The spending power of the middle class will be reduced. The lower class and higher class will not be as badly affected. This is because the lower class already has little spending power only buy the essentials which GST are mostly absorbed thus the price of the item will remain the same. The upper class will still be able to purchase their luxury items as they have a large spending power and the increase in GST will be rather insignificant to them.
However the middle which make up the bulk of the population will be affected the most as a two percentage increase will result in the middle class being unable or chose not to purchase items which and services such as clothes and tuition services. This would than instead result in GDP declining instead of increasing GDP which is the rational of increasing GST thus defeating the purpose. Furthermore I feel that there is no urgent need in having such a drastic change. Lastly a significant GST increase would be unpopular with the people as this may affect the chanced of re-elections. On the other hand a one-percentage point increase would not have such a great effect on the economy and instead will provide the government with an addition $1 billion of revenue.
In total the government will have $1.5 billion dollars at their disposal. $ 1 billion from the increase in GST and the extra $0.5 billion from government revenue.
From my perceptive, I feel that emphasis should be on retraining and education to prepare the people for the new economy so as to remain relevant and competitive.
Thus the request from the minister of manpower for a $0.5 billion grant for retraining programmes will be approved. Retraining is a top priority. Re-training and skills upgrading is needed to meet the demands of critical sectors and cannot be over emphasized. For knowledge based professionals, retraining though lifelong learning is important to enhance their competencies and employability. Thus, government must ensure that sufficient financial are channelled to the development of manpower skills. Furthermore as highlighted by the Minister for Community Development, retraining will help people to escape from poverty. This is possible, as retraining people who are unemployed will provide with the necessary skills for available jobs. Furthermore retraining would result in a more skilled workforce is would be a plus point in attracting MNCs to invest in Singapore.
Similarly the $0.5 billion addition requested by the Minister of education will be granted in full. Similar to the ministry of manpower, the ministry of education is requesting for addition funds for upgrading purposes. This corresponds with the government’s main priority. Though I must agree the minister of Information and the Arts that we should emphasis on creative thinking in schools however it cannot surpass the importance of technology. In this IT-age, technology plays a very important part in various industries and economies. It serves as a communication link between people all over the world.
A highly efficient IT structure encourages foreign companies to use Singapore as a business and industrial centre and also high-tech and high value added manufacturing and service industries to Singapore. Therefore in order to prepare students for this, schools must emphasis on the importance of IT and in order to do this the government must again provide financial support so as to enable schools to acquire the necessary facilities for this to happen. Moreover from the Minister of Trade and Industry, the ministry of education proposed IT upgradement in school might stimulate the electronic sector and increase GDP by $0.5billion.
The request from the Ministry of Defence for an addition $200 million will be approved. However the money is to be spending more on purchasing and researching on military hardware, training and upgrading of existing full-time military personals. This is to keep our defence relevant and up to date, maintaining competence in handling new weapons and equipment and learning new tactics of war. The defence force should be kept vigilant at all times especially in such times of regional and even global uncertainty. Furthermore this would support the countries defence industry. However conducting additional military exercise for citizen soldiers may be provocative. As expressed by the Minster for Education and Minister for Trade and Industries, extra military exercises would be a disruption to the economy and lost of manpower education system. Instead military exercises for the citizen soldiers should be keep the same.
As for the Minister of Community Development’s proposal of $300 million for offering financial assistance we will support the idea however the government will only provide $200 million. This is to provide partial financial assistance for lower income citizens, however the government does not wish too provide complete financial assistance. This is to prevent the people from overlying on government assistance. Providing some form of financial help will still cause people to feel that the government is concerned about their welfare, but at the same time they still have to work to achieve financial stability, this will thus motive them to upgrade themselves through retraining and find jobs accepting it even if the salary does not meet their expectations. Thus this will win the people over and vote for the existing ruler party for a new term in the coming year elections.
$100 million will be given to the Ministry of Information and the Arts instead of there proposed $200 million grant. This is because it is not seen as a priority at this moment of time. In an economic downturn, the focus should be on how to improve the economy in the most efficient way, I am not implying that the Arts is not vital in the development of the country. Information and Arts do provide revenue for the government by attracting tourism and foreign talent who are interested in the country’s arts scene. Furthermore from the Minister of Education point of view, a vibrant arts scene adds to the educational experience of the pupils. Therefore, the additional $100 million is to provide a foundation to establish the arts scene in Singapore. Further develop would have to be put on hold until the government has the adequate resources to provide financial help. However before this would happen, public as well as private sections in the Information and Arts can brainstorm creative ideas to promote the arts scene in the country without or little financial assistance from the government.
Overall the total additional expenditure for the government would be $1.5 billion dollars. This is equal with the remaining government revenue, which is also $1.5 billion dollars; $1 billion coming from the one percentage point increase in GST and the other $0.5 billion form existing revenue. There would thus be a balanced budget as expenditure and revenue is equal. This would thus prevent a situation from happening whereby the government’ expenditure surpasses the revenue which would result in inflation and the citizens with lower income being effected the worst.