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Generous Budget raises concerns of overspending

The year's generous Budget has been seen by some as left-leaning, earning the praise of MPs like Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim, who said it is "a direction I feel is right".

Among the highlights is the Silver Support Scheme that will give quarterly payouts to the bottom 20 to 30 per cent of Singaporeans aged 65 and above.

But during the Budget debate yesterday, Nominated MP Chia Yong Yong cautioned against overspending.

"We have in conclusion, a Budget that is arguably very generous, and for which I am also very thankful," she said.

"We have a Budget that has been praised and approved as being leaning to the left.

"But I would also argue that if we lean too much to the left, we will not have much left."

Her point drew applause from those in the House.

The concern about overspending was echoed by MP Hri Kumar.

"Spending is almost always a 
one-way street. Once the Government has implemented a spending programme, it is very difficult to take it away," the MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC said. He added that the Government has limited sources of revenue to fund spending.

"There is an enduring narrative among Singaporeans that we are sitting on massive reserves which the Government, like Mr Scrooge, has squirrelled away and refused to spend."