Ease pain of economic makeover, urge MPs
Inclusive Budget lauded, but concerns raised about impact on SMEs
By Lydia Lim, The Straits Times, 29 Feb 2012
THE pace of economic restructuring and the pain it will inflict on local companies and low-skilled workers emerged as a key theme of the first day of Parliament's debate yesterday on the Government's Budget.
The 25 Members of Parliament (MPs) who spoke gave their support to the Government's broad push to raise productivity. While generally supporting the long-term gains that the Budget measures would bring, they voiced concerns about the short-term pain.
Veteran People's Action Party (PAP) member Inderjit Singh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) was the most hard-hitting. He rapped the Government for expecting SMEs to become more productive overnight, and for allowing industrial rents to shoot up. He called on the Government to do a thorough review of ways to cut business costs.
Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) and Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) warned of the impact on workers if SMEs fail or are forced to relocate because of cost pressures and tight labour supply.