Singapore has one of the highest cost of living in the world. It's not going to get any cheaper with a slew of revisions announced in recent times.
Kok Ming Cheang, of the People's Voice Party (PVP), lays the blame at the government. Singaporeans wouldn't disagree when he calls the PAP government a "money-driven government".
Kok explains that such a government knows no other ways than to increase levies, taxes, and fines.
Such kind of money-minded government knows no better ways except by upping levies, taxes and fines on its citizens and people living in Singapore. They do so with minimal resistance from Singaporeans.
It achieves this by simply directing its public service agencies like URA and HDB to up their penalty rates to bring in more revenue immediately. This is understandable as the other agencies have done their duties to pull in more revenue for the government coffers like hike in water and electricity rates, parking rates, diesel tax, etc.
A simple press release by URA and HDB on 24-6-19 jacked up fines for illegal parking , parking without coupons or activation of digital parking or just over-parking by exceeding the time provided in the parking coupons.
It looks like a desperate attempt to squeeze more money from even the man in the street who has to ride a motorcycle to deliver food, drive a private-hire car or a heavy vehicle for business.
For illegal parking of motorcycles, the fine goes up from $25 to $35, for cars from $50 to $70 and heavy vehicles from $80 to $100, a rise of 40%, 40% and 25% respectively.
For parking without a coupon or activation of digital parking, fine remains at $8 unchanged for motorcycles but increases by 33% for cars and 25% for heavy vehicles.
For overparking, no change in fines for motorcycles but for cars , increase from $6-$20 to $8-$24 and heavy vehicles from $12-$40 to $16-$48, an increase of 20% to 33%.
Of course, this is to the disadvantage of Singaporeans who struggle on their meagre wages.
For a driver of a cab or commercial vehicle or a motorcyclist who delivers food, the increases in fines can mean the loss of one or two days’ earnings. Peanuts for millionaire ministers but bread and butter for the ordinary folks.
In fact, MHA even preceded URA and HDB when it announced on 21-2-19, bigger fines across the board for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, found guilty with traffic offenses. It is easy to justify the hefty increases in traffic fines as making them as deterrent to errant motorists. But to jack up the fines by 30% to 100% and even above to 117% is another matter, a very serious matter for people who have to drive scar or ride a bike for a living.
Even for an offence which does not incur demerit points, the fines go up by 40% and 50% for light and heavy vehicles respectively. For offences which attract 12 demerit points, the fines go up by 100% and above for light and heavy vehicles respectively.
Such kind of hefty increases in fines merely eat into the pockets of ordinary folks and create unforeseen burden for them, justifications by government agencies aside.
For Kok, the lack of any resistance from inside and outside of paliament is a sign that the governent lacks the creativity to think of alternative sources of revenue. Hence, they burden the people to "beef up the government coffer".
Kok reasoned that this happens in Singapore because of the PAP's parliamentary dominance over the past 50 years.
In PVP, Kok assured Singaporeans that they will have a party that will put a stop to such "abuse of power".
Politically, it cannot be business as normal in Singapore.
The PAP has to be responsible for their policies that have put a strain on Singaporeans. To that effectively, there needs to be more quality opposition in the Parliament. With this commitment, Singaporens should give consideration to what the PVP has to offer.