A National Scandal ? – Why is Singapore spending so much on the military?

10 Jul

According to this online report, ‘Singapore Defence Spending Will Amount To US$11.4bn Or 6% Of GDP In 2009’, the Singaporean authorities has announced that it would spent US$11.4 billion on defense in 2009.

11.4 billion? One is forced to ask the rationale for devoting so much money into a sector which generates few benefits (except perhaps provide employment) for the general population.

Sure, there are expenses going to contractor services, national service and the professional armies, the maintenance of facilities and weapons. But beyond that, 11.4 billion seems an extraordinary amount which cannot be justified given the Singapore economy is sliding into recession. Wouldn’t that money (or at least a major portion of it) be better used to help those who have lost their jobs? to subsidise poorer Singaporeans who are having to cope with the increase in costs of living? or even to transform ourselves into a eco-friendly/ sustainable economy?  It doesn’t take a trained economist to ask these simple questions. Why is the Singapore government frittering away public money on the military?

Just at the top of my head, at least 3 questions need to be asked:

1. Where is all these money going to?

2. Which are the expenses that can (or cannot) be justified?

3. How can the budget allocated for military be further reduced?

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3 Responses to “A National Scandal ? – Why is Singapore spending so much on the military?”

  1. Singapore Democrats July 20, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    Thank you for the insightful blogpost. The Singapore Democrats have featured your post in our blogs of the week section – http://yoursdp.org/index.php/news/blogs-of-the-week

  2. testtuberwasher July 27, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    It was reported in the ST some time back when there was a promotion/pay raise exercise for SAF, our PM said that every cent was worth it, else how can you expect foreigners to feel safe about paying 4000psf for a condo ??

    I felt internally that it was wrong on every level – pragmatism and free-market loads of BS, the only people who truly benefited are those who have the connections and economic clout to front-run (pre-book a unit with the developers at 3000psf) – and oh yah, they still don’t want to build enough HDBs.

    Yup some additional jobs were created for bellhops to carry bags, security guards and cleaners to make the place safe and clean. And they can rest assured that their measly pay will be eaten up by inflation and hot inflow of money supply.

    More good years for Haliburton and its $99 per laundry load for Iraq soldiers…

  3. Anonymous October 27, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    Based on FY 2008 budget, MINDEF contributes only $39 mil to government revenue but defence spending is $10.8 bil. In fact, MOE contributes more than MINDEF, with $42.8 mil. This is surprising since MINDEF also owns the defence industries and should thus, contribute more to government revenue. GST contributed $6.2 bil and personal income tax contributed $5.9 bil. Hence, the government revenue from our GST and income tax has all gone towards defence spending.

    I’m not sure how much of our GST and personal income tax has really gone into improving the military capability for the defence of Singapore, or has they gone into the pockets of the SAF regulars? When MINDEF propose the SAVER scheme to the SAF regulars in 1998, it promised the SAF regulars a huge sum for their retirement upon their retirement at age of 42. However, a few mths ago it raised the retirement age of SAF regulars to 50 years old. This means that more of our GST and personal income tax will go into the pockets of the SAF regulars.

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