Updated: 03/14/2014 01:11

Health, transport and manpower issues dominated Budget debates



Health, transport and manpower issues dominated Budget debates

Health, transport and manpower concerns dominated the last nine days of parliamentary debates on the government's Budget. 

But there was universal support for the Pioneer Generation Package, as well as satisfaction over public housing policies. 

Leader of the house, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, says the debates sit midway in the government's electoral term. 

"In sporting parlance, we are at half-time. And at half-time, an appropriate juncture for government and this House to take stock of how we have performed and what else needs to be done to finish the job and deliver on our promises to Singaporeans." 

Wrapping up the debates, Dr Ng says the government has rolled out measures to deal with issues brought up by MPs in previous years. 

The 8-billion-dollar Pioneer Generation Package, for example, won universal support. 

"Many Members of this House have also noted that what was extraordinary was not only the Package, but that it could be funded entirely. By doing so, this government has set a virtuous precedent of not making grand promises for subsequent governments to bear the cost." 

Many MPs have also given their inputs on MediShield Life. 

On transport matters, he acknowledges that MPs do not yet approve the quality of train travel. 

As for manpower, he says MPs have recognised that innovation and higher productivity are key to building an economy that provides good jobs and good wages. 

Dr Ng adds he is glad that MPs feel that the housing problem has been decisively tackled by the National Development Ministry. 

"The results speak for themselves. Shorter waiting times, lower costs and greater affordability of housing pushed MND off the hot seat, to the relief of Minister Khaw's eyebags."

-By John Yip

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