Singapore tabled its budget for 2015 on Monday in Parliament, with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announcing new initiatives such as the SkillsFuture and Silver Support schemes as well as policy changes to the likes of income tax, CPF contribution and petrol duties.
“If I qualify, it’ll be good for absorbing some medical fees.” – Soh Gek Hiang, 84
“Hope I’m eligible; then I’ll use the money for marketing.” – Yeo Soe Lek, 84
“It’ll help to reduce the burden of utility bills” – Susan Tan Siew Lang, 66
“I don’t think I’ll qualify as 150,000 looks like a very, very minority (sic) group of seniors.” – Madam Chow, 84
Older workers aged 50 to 65
“Since (the increase in CPF contribution) is only half a percent, it doesn’t matter. But the more the merrier since CPF gives better returns for savings. I can afford to have that percentage taken away.” – Jenny, 63, admin manager
“At 55-years-old they already locked the sufficient amount for retirement. I see no point why I should contribute -- it means deducting my already-measly salary.” – Jasmine Aw, 56, part-time dental receptionist
Working adults interested in further education, training
“It will be useful to those who already have the intention, although I’m not sure how realistic it will be. S$500 will probably not even cover one module, even less a semester.” – Gabriel Huang
“The SkillsFuture scheme could help me further develop my hobbies and who knows, that hobby can be a second career. It will give me the kick to go for that professional cooking class then if I like it, I’ll use my own expenses to further develop my interest.” – Azmi Suhaimi, 29, account director
“It would be good as I will try to attend relevant courses every other year to keep my skill updated. But most of them are sports related – if they support these types of courses then it will benefit people like me. And also maybe they should look into simplifying the application procedures. Last time I tried to apply for some grant but the application is quite tedious.” – Patrick Fong, 52, canoe/kayak coach
“It depends on whether the government is going to compensate my employer for my time spent in these courses. If my employer isn't going to get compensated, say for like reservist training, then he or she may not and probably won't allow me to go.” – Douglas, 28, copywriter
“No opinion… I go to Johor Bahru to pump (petrol) every week, without fail. It’s nice that they’re giving a 60% discount on motorcycle road tax, but I'm certain they'll make us pay for it somehow. The last time they gave us 65 cents whole day parking, the COE doubled in price two months later.” – Julius Yang, 29.
“If the road tax rebate somewhat offsets the increase in duty for petrol, it may be easier to accept. It is likely, too, that drivers will switch to intermediate grade petrol, especially those that rely heavily on a vehicle to commute to work. Whether the increase in petrol duty has more bite depends on the usage of a vehicle… Not sure if this is a way to reduce reliance on cars or a way to generate more money for the government’s coffers.” – Jonathan 31, civil servant
High income earners
“The increase in income tax on the top 5% is bad, because it discourages excellence (the opposite of the learning grant). People learn to earn; now you earn, you get taxed. And the increase in one section of society is divisive for a country.” – Jonathan Wong, 35, SME owner
“I’m not pleased with the raise. I don’t want to be paying more taxes.” – Anonymous medical professional in his 60s
"Well, obviously I'm not thrilled that taxes will be going up but 2% isn't a lot. I'm ok with that provided there is prudent use of the money for purposes that would benefit society." - Anonymous lawyer, 39.