SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said the government will strive to meet the aspirations of all sectors of society, including those in the middle—income group.
He said it will to do this by balancing the trade—offs and benefits for all.
Mr Shanmugam was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a community event in his constituency, Chong Pang, on Sunday.
The middle—income group in Singapore is often referred to as the sandwiched class — they may miss out on benefits targeted at the low—income group, but are still struggling with the cost of living.
The median monthly income of Singaporeans, including employer CPF contributions, was S$3,480 in 2012.
Mr Shanmugam said: "Any honest government should address the aspirations and needs of all sectors of society. Of course in many Western democracies, parties are clearly identified with specific segments. You look at it — conservatives or liberal democrats, and their policies are geared towards different segments of the population, even though they would go to elections and say that this is for the entire country.
"But our own approach has been that we look at the interests of all interest groups and then do the trade—offs and do something and put in policies that work for the entire country and all the people, which must mean that there have to be trade—offs, but there must also be benefits for all."
Mr Shanmugam said there will always be constraints in policymaking.
He added the government has to explain clearly what they are, even as it tries to meet the aspirations of all.
On the subject of animal welfare, the minister said he welcomes the recommendations made by interest groups to set up tougher laws and more regulation for the pet industry.
He said: "I think we need to strengthen legislation — it’s my personal view that we need to strengthen the legislation and deal more effectively with animal abuse and put in place norms, frameworks for better, more responsible ownership of pets and the pet industry."
The committee reviewing animal welfare laws in Singapore released its 24 recommendations on Friday.
Among them are calling on the government to double maximum penalties for animal abuse and having compulsory training for staff working in pet businesses.
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