Thursday, December 24, 2009

Old and new citizens

A reader wrote to the Straits Times to suggest that "old" citizens and "new" citizens should be treated differently for priority allocation into the choice schools. A new citizen wrote today to state that this would be unfair and is bad for Singapore.

For the past 20 years, I have strongly disliked the practice of our Government leaders and top civil servants in writing complicated rules to differentiate between different classes of people - graduates and non-graduates,  different allocation to benefits according to the type of house that you live in, different eligibility to tax relief according to the birth order of your child or the year of birth, different level of health care subsidy according to the type of house you live in and income, complicated rules to determine eligibility for welfare payments, and so on.

If you are caught on the wrong side of the rule, bad luck to you. And the people who write the rules will know how to be on the right side of these rules. It is unfair, but this is Singapore. We are used to this type of environment.

I wish Singapore to be fairer and simpler. We should make high income earners pay more tax, and after that, apply the same level of benefits to all citizens, regardless of income level or housing type. There is no need for complicated rules.

We should pay an adequate allowance, almost like a full time salary, to our National Servicemen. After that, there is no need to have complicated rules to give them slightly more in entitlement to Government benefits.

Tan Kin Lian


Anonymous said...

But Mr Tan.
If we do as you suggest, there would be less work for the civil servants.

Things would then become more transparent (shudder) and it will be more difficult to explain what it is exactly that top civil servants do.

If you simplify things too much, even an entry-level graduate could administer things.

As things stand, we need top civil servants to navigate the maze of distinctions. This is where the competencies acquired from years of competitive studying at top notch overseas universities is best able to flourish and bloom to benefit all (well, at least some) Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

"Old" Citizen. "New" Citizen.
Made in Singapore. Printed in Singapore

Anonymous said...

I think it is fair for the richer to pay more tax.
In reality, the rich & with power are able to turn the table around to put them in even better position. So the rich becomes richer & remain high on top. The poor remains poor if not poorer.

I recalled the story of Animal Farm.

Anonymous said...

Kin Lian,

As long as PAP is still around running the country, nothing will change as suggested by you.

So if they are voted in the next GE, the fault is in the voter not the PAP. They will do it, the way they think will perpetuate their holding of power.

Best of luck to Singaporean.

C H Yak said...

I agree with Mr Tan that there is "no need for complicated rules". I think we are too much a leviathan state.

Visit my blog at :-

to read what is a "leviathan" state.

Concerned said...

Given the liberal granting of PRs and new citizens, a distinction should be made between various categories of people here. If new citizens or PRs calls for no distinction, then very tight rules and quote restrictions should be applied for inflows of immigrants.

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan,

It is not difficult to understand why Singapore cannot pay NSmen 'adequate allowance close to the pay of a fulltime job'. If the govt do so, then the Defence Budget will go up, and our neighbouring countries will be worried and up their defence budget as well.

Anonymous said...

Two wrongs do not make one right. I am of the view that citizenship eligibility be strict and restricted, and after that all citizens shall enjoy the same benefits, there should not be different classes of old/new citizens.

Tan Kin Lian said...

Reply to 6:21 PM

You do not need to give excuses on behalf of the Government for refusing to pay adequate allowance for NS men.

They are able to spend billions of dollars on military hardware, but cannot afford to pay adequate allowance?

My Foot said...

The budget for defense is big. One reason is to use it for research. They cannot rely on private investors to finance research into technology such as artillery guns and machines.
Once they have improved on the product, they will launch launch it through holding companies such as semcorp, etc. This way, the manufacturing,R&D will pave the way for business to come in.
The R&D is not purely for military purpose, but used as a testing ground.
At the same time, the top grade white horses get to have a job in the R&D. Otherwise, who will employ them?
It is always business through commerce. Defense is just a smoke screen. This island is worth more intact than destroyed. No enemy will want to bomb it into ruins and rebuild it.

NS is merely a tool to control inflow of labour, and to force compliance from an early age.

Just think of commerce, everything Singapore does is for commerce.

Arts and culture is incidental.
Rights and humanity is incidental.
Social responsibilities is incidental.

Its ALWAYS JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! nothing else matters!!

Anonymous said...

We have been too trusting and believed what they said wholesale.
It is now time to use your brain.
It is now time to do some soul searching.
It is now time to do some critical thinking and think on your feet.

Anonymous said...

REX comments as follows,

I think it's very naive comment from anon. 24 Dec 6.21pm to say that neighbouring countries would worry if singapre pays more money to its NS men.

to quite a few people, the Singapore army is an army all fake no real experience half the time having fun on computer war simulation games hardware. Come a war, how well the men will do a big joke. I am sure indonesia or malaysia makes fun of how silly our army is behind our backs, all these scholars etc. holding ranks of generals including the great uknow who. "Increasing the pay of NS men would make the neighbours worried about singapore's might" surely, this is the biggest joke of 2009!!!

It is mainly the hardware that singapore uses, that they are monitoring. If singapore buys a nuclear bomb, yes they may get worried. But...Increasing pay for the conscripted non-commited non-professional cissy NS half baked men-soldiers, who cares....


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