More help wanted for fresh graduates
Singaporeans young and old tell The New Paper their wishes for Budget 2018
By taking charge of his own learning, Mr Y.Y. Ling, 26, has had his fair share of challenges.
The film-maker said more can be done to support fledgling businesses and young people starting out in their careers.
Mr Ling said when he first became interested in the industry, the transition from graphic design to film-making was costly and not accessible.
"Learning a new skill costs more than the $500 SkillsFuture budget we are allocated, and to support the transition into new industries, there needs to be more extensive subsidies, and the courses available should be more intensive," he said.
"Most of us turn instead to seeking knowledge online or learning from our own experiences."
He said the process to access funds and support for small start-ups is so time-consuming and complicated that it could set such businesses back by months - time that they do not have.
He said: "The processes are so complicated that there are start-ups dedicated to help other start-ups navigate the application for funding.Perhaps some money can go into working out systems and infrastructure for start-ups to tap in to."
Mr Ling circumvented the issue by seeking ways to independently fund his project - including the use of crowdfunding - but he added that should there be more support, start-ups will likely flourish even more.
Meanwhile, undergraduate Esther Yeoh, 21, is concerned about the job hunt she faces when she graduates.
Last year, it was reported that fresh graduates have been finding it harder to secure full-time employment in the last few years.
Miss Yeoh, who is studying English literature and European studies, hopes for more courses to help graduates bridge the ever-widening skills gap they face when they enter the workforce.
"The Government, with its SkillsFuture Credit, is doing a good job, but I am thinking of courses that help people cross that bridge from university to work, instead of just reaching out to people who are already in the workforce," she said.
These courses could teach skills such as photo editing, marketing, graphic design and communications in a way that is aimed at young graduates, she said.
Budget 2018: Experts on transport, tech and environment
How will the Budget tackle issues such as transport, technology and the environment?
"Greater regulatory oversight" may be needed in the private-hire sphere, said Singapore University of Social Sciences economist Walter Theseira.
"There may be only one ride-hailing platform that will control virtually all ride-booking services and have unprecedented control over prices, where rides are available and who can work as a driver.
"It may not be necessary to regulate overnight, but the tools should be in place to monitor the market," he said.
Dr Theseira added that Singapore might invest in electric vehicles or autonomous vehicles, both of which will require new infrastructure if they are to be adopted by the masses.
Mr Benjamin Chiang, partner at Ernst & Young Advisory, said there should be more initiatives to enhance Singapore's digital literacy and mastery, with necessary systems in place to "build and maintain digital trust".
There is also a need to "nurture a vibrant ecosystem of private sector business for smart cities to thrive", he said, with possible approaches including encouraging funding for targeted innovative companies and enhancing the effectiveness of research and development incentives.
Associate Professor Rajasekhar Balasubramanian, who is the deputy head for Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the National University of Singapore, said 2018 will be the year of climate action in Singapore.
He said: "I foresee allocation of more research and development funds with a stronger commitment from the Government to transitioning to a low-carbon economy."
This can be achieved by improving energy efficiency and conservation, decarbonising electricity and fuels, and switching end-users to low- carbon supplies.
He said deep cuts in carbon emissions are needed to prevent adverse impact arising from climate change, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will have beneficial effects on public health.
- SUE-ANN TAN & CHEOW SUE-ANN
Budget 2018 wishlist: More training opportunities for elderly
Mr Malcolm Chen is 72 years old, and his goal is to keep the wheels of learning turning.
This positive attitude to lifelong learning has translated into the retiree starting his own non-profit organisation, known as Ageless Bicyclists.
Under this banner, he has been teaching children with special needs to cycle.
However, he first had to learn to be a cycling coach, as well as understand how to deal with children who are differently abled.
"I think the Government can put more funds into training courses such as SkillsFuture so that people like me can constantly upgrade themselves," Mr Chen told The New Paper.
"The courses can be more specific as well - tailored to people in certain age groups. I know there are courses for mid-career professionals, and it would be nice to have some targeting say, the pioneer generation. "
In terms of healthcare, Mr Chen is happy with what the pioneer generation currently receives.
However, he hopes that more can be done in terms of transport infrastructure, especially in areas with a higher proportion of elderly residents.
"They should do away with the button that you have to press to get the traffic lights to turn green. Instead, they can just let the lights turn green at regular intervals.
"Sometimes, older people like me forget to press the button and we stand there waiting for the lights to turn green," he said.
Mr Chen also felt that the traffic light duration for people to cross the road should be longer in areas where more senior citizens live.
"Sometimes, the road can be so long and the duration of the green light doesn't give me enough time to cross," he added.
Currently, the elderly and people with disabilities can get more time to cross the road, but they have to first tap their cards on the card reader on the traffic light pole.