The Chairman: Mr Pritam Singh, if you can keep it to a minute, so that we can have a minute’s response.
Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied): I will, Speaker. Thank you.
I did not intend to rise, but I had to, after the Minister for Transport stood up and spoke of “intellectually rigorous”. I think he was going to say “intellectually honest” but he stopped himself and said “intellectually rigorous alternative proposals”.
Indeed, as part of this Budget debate, the Workers’ Party has put up four alternate levers. It is not as if the money is going to come from an unknown source. So, I just wanted to clarify that point, that the party put up four different levers to consider where additional revenues can come from to address some of the issues we have raised, not just here by Member Jamus Lim, but also in our manifesto. I think it is important for me to put that out.
Mr S Iswaran: Mr Chairman, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the clarification. Intellectual rigour, intellectual honesty – I am not sure, I mean the Leader of the Opposition appears to be imputing words. Whatever it is, I think you cannot have rigour without honesty. So, let us leave it as that.
In terms of proposals, I do not intend to canvass again the arguments about the different sources of revenue. I think they have been well discussed in the main Budget Debate on the Budget policies and so on.
However, I want to bring it back to this Ministry’s budget because it is an important point. Every year, we have to address this issue of the balance between quality service, affordability and financial sustainability. This is not going to go away.
So, when we make proposals, it cannot be that we make proposals that incur additional expenses under one Head, but then, say it will all be taken care of at some macro level. Because we do need the discipline of also addressing how, within that particular Ministry’s budget, we are making every effort to find the appropriate balance.
Ministry of Transport
9 March 2022