Foreigners pay more, but what’s in it for Singaporeans?

In its latest political move in preparation for the election, the PAP government has decided to reduce health subsidies given to Singapore permanent residents (PRs) by 10% this year and another 10% in 2011.

This comes hot on the heels of the recent increase in fees for PRs and foreigners studying in local schools. Back in 2008, the Ministry of Health had already reduced the PR subsidy in hospitals by 10% and completely eliminated the subsidies for non-PR foreigners. The government claims that these moves are to “make a sharper distinction between the privileges a citizen is entitled to, as compared to a PR”.

I fail to see how all this benefits Singaporeans. Are Singapore citizens now going to pay less when they are admitted to hospital or attend local schools? No. Is the PAP expecting Singaporeans to rub their hands with sinister glee, as they rejoice that their PR counterparts are paying more? I don’t think Singaporeans are that vindictive.

Therefore my conclusion is that this is simply a pathetic attempt to lull Singaporeans into thinking there is actually a significant distinction between the position of foreigners and Singaporeans in this country. Secondly, it seems this is another revenue-raising exercise for the government, since there has been no mention that the money saved in subsidies is going to feed into any programme that benefits Singaporeans.

If the government was really sincere about treating Singaporeans better, they would reduce the fees that Singaporeans are paying for government services, instead of punishing foreigners for political gain.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

11 thoughts on “Foreigners pay more, but what’s in it for Singaporeans?”

  1. I cannot agree more with you.
    I’m a singaporean but I’ve got no issues with PRs or FTs.
    Not their fault for wanting to come over here to make a living.
    Problem is our gahment, the foreign intake is really too fast, too furious.
    Elections coming so the gahment will pretend to listen to our feedback.
    When elections over, the gahment will screw us again.

  2. This reminds me of the means-testing — those who are perceived to be able to pay more are squeezed but the money saved are theirs to keep instead of being redistributed to those who can’t afford. They want you to be happy by making others look worse! Judging from what they have announced here, I guess they must have thought that you are still not happy so they had to “work hard” to make others to look still worse.

    I guess the money they squeezed from these poor people should help justify their million$$$ pay!

  3. This is the clearest sign that the government is clueless on the feelings of Singaporeans, yes, the same people whom the government is suppose to serve.

    Singaporeans boast of friends and relatives in PR and FT. We certainly do not delight in seeing them cough out huge moolah to see them pay hefty hospital bill. What we want is the government to recognise us as citizens and to give priority to us.

    Why not provide more hospital subsidy to citizen instead of increasing hospital fee for PR and FTs.

    This is the same with the issue of schooling education fees.

    Frankly, the government is always trying to sweeten the ground ahead of election. If Singaporeans are so daft, maybe they really deserve the government they elected in.

  4. Actually the main beneficaries are:

    1) Pte Sector hospitals who have become relatively cheaper
    2) MOH which will now have to give less subsidy per person. Given that it is unlikely the MOH budget will be cut, it is unclear what will happen to the savings.

    There are very interesting numbers to be found if you look at population growth, hospital beds and hospital profits.

    But there is a post for another day.

  5. Dear Gerald,

    Thanks very much for your interesting blog. It’s always nice to see how people on the other side of the globe live, how they share the same joys and sorrows, what they do in their free time, etc.

    I actually have a question about your blog. Would you mind helping us with a linguistic research project? We’re compiling data from various Singaporean weblogs. All it requires is checking a few boxes. If you want to take part and/or have more questions, drop me a note ( RE: Question ) so that I can then send you the ‘official’ project eMail. We’d really appreciate your help.

    Thanks very much in advance!
    Best regards,
    – Fran

  6. I agreed with you. Citizens won’t benefit a dime from
    cutting subsidies for FTs and PRs.
    When would the money go? You think they are going to
    increase the payment to those on the dole?
    I hope people can see their insincerity and deliver them
    a bloody nose this coming GE

  7. Exactly my sentiments, couldn’t have put it better myself.

    Who do they think they’re fooling in an election year? How
    does it benefit me or my fellow citizens when they charge
    foreigners more? Am I daft?

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