Singapore Media Watch

Friday, October 27, 2006

Your views: Sinful spending of people's hard-earned monies

Despite all the reported hype, the Innovation Exhibition at Singapore Expo to celebrate Singapore's 25 years of infocomm achievements was a most disappointing let-down.

Nothing much of substance but a maze-like display of many flat-screen TVs and large wall panels with many words to read.

I saw many students on school visits but few adults. How many "couch-potato" adult Singaporeans actually visited the 5-day exhibition? The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) had expected a 30,000 turn-out.\

After all, Channel News Asia's documentaries have already covered these achievements in a cost-effective way and to a much wider audience.

Why then was it necessary to spend $11 million on the exhibition --- with $6 million from the IDA (i.e. taxpayers' money) and balance $5 million from industry partners?

Our taxpayer-citizens will recall the 2002 IDA "Honest Mistake" Fiasco involving non-recovery by IDA of an erroneous over-payment to SingTel of $388 million of the people's hard-earned monies. And the 2005 spending of $400,000 of public funds by the Urban Renewal Authority to "re-brand" Marina Bay as..... Marina Bay !!!

The IDA must be transparent and accountable in providing a detailed public explanation. Was the exhibition contract awarded in accordance with laid-down Government procurement procedures? If so, disclose the full list of contractors and tendered sums, with the name of the successful contractor.

The simple message to all our Government agencies --- Spend public funds prudently, whether in good or bad economic times. Return any surplus funds to the people or use them to lower your fees to the public and business community.

The simple logic --- If it does not cost so much to run our tiny island, the Government can afford to collect less taxes and dues from the people.

The people will then have more money in their pockets to, say, start their own businesses.

Or, to have more children and so alleviate our Procreation Problem.

Or, to pay for family holidays to foster closer family ties.


David See Leong Kit

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