Responding to Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh’s suggestion to use more percentage of the national reserves for funding, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong slammed his suggestion as “ill-disciplined, imprudent and unwise”. The PAP millionaire Minister said that the government cannot use the reserves savings even when needed:
“The rules were discussed at length, debated in this House thoroughly, so that we can find the right balance between present and future generations, and ensuring the rules in our Constitution. This was done not too long ago. What does it say about us, and our mindsets and our attitudes, if the minute we need the money, the first thing we do is to relax the rules? Surely that will be ill-disciplined, imprudent and unwise.”
The PAP Minister avoided answering the second part of WP MP Pritam Singh’s speech, which is to get an estimated projection of the spendings required to justify the increase in taxes. The WP MP has earlier called for the government to disclose and explain spending figures during his opening speech.
The current amount in the national reserves is unknown, with the information privy only to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching, who sit as Chairman of GIC and CEO of Temasek Holdings respectively. Supposedly the custodian of the reserves, President Halimah Yacob is equally clueless of the amount. According to the authority, the size of the reserves must be kept a secret to prevent currency manipulation.
The Singapore government is currently also in debt, in an admission by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. The Finance Minister said that the government is borrowing from state-owned companies and statutory boards to fund costly multi-billion projects like the new Terminal 5 and Tuas Mega port.