Issue 105


Grassroots with passion

the Tuas Desalination plant was desalinating water at $0.78 per cubic metre, more affordably than a plant in Israel. Mr Singh also pinpointed that there seemed to be a discrepancy in government communications regarding water supply and prices: In 2013, the government’s stand was that there would not be a need to raise water prices. The government’s proposition is that Singapore has to rely more on desalination (which is more expensive than Newater) and there is a limit to how much used water could be treated in Newater plants. Another dire fact is that Johor’s Linggiu Reservoir water level has been falling drastically in the last three years and Malaysia may not renew the water pact when the deadline comes.

five years while Self-Help Groups get another $6 million in the next two years. All in all, the budget 2017 is seen by many as a continual plan to fix problems that Singaporean families face. There are many uncertainties ahead: new employment is getting scarce, costs of living are rising, and even basic needs such as water may be denied. No doubt, the government’s efforts are laudable but it can also get more feedback from the ground to learn if the policies it has implemented are actually working to come up with more effective ones to grapple with the future.

Also evident in the budget is the government’s effort in recent years to build a more inclusive society, taking into account the concerns of members of the less privileged in society. The government will fork out $400 million a year to prepare students with moderate intellectual and multiple disability for work as well as set up a caregiver support centre. Another $600 million will be used in the next five years on community health efforts including integrating more people with mental health issues into the workplace and society. In addition, more funding will be set aside for VWOs and charities amounting to $100 million in the next

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