The more than two-hour long speech delivered by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday attracted a wide array of social media reactions, ranging from the witty to the wacky.
The minister tabled the country’s budget for 2015 in Parliament during which he spoke about various revisions made to several areas such as petrol duties, personal income tax rates for top earners as well as CPF contribution rates.
Tharman also announced the introduction of various schemes, such as the Skills Future scheme, which aims to support Singaporeans in their lifelong learning, and the Silver Support Scheme, which aims to support the bottom 20 per cent of Singaporeans aged 65 and above. You may also visit our live blog for more information on the speech.
So what do some Singaporeans think of this year’s budget? Well, it really depends on what parts stood out for them.
Here are some that we’ve handpicked for you:
1. Silver Surfer Scheme you say?
While DPM Tharman was going on about the introduction of the Silver Support Scheme and how it would be beneficial to the elderly in the country, local blogger mrbrown kept thinking of the fictitious superhero, Silver Surfer, from Marvel’s Fantastic Four.
“#SGBudget2015 will have Silver Surfer Support,” he said on Twitter. He posted about this twice, but it was this tweet garnered dozens of retweets after.
Another who goes by the Twitter handle, @Sailesh88, joined in saying, “Skilled Silver Surfer of the future wants to take all your money.”
#SGBudget2015 summary: Skilled Silver Surfer of the future wants to take all your money— Sailesh Aswath (@sailesh88) February 23, 2015
2. SkillsFuture “Everywhere”
Some had even pointed out the numerous times DPM Tharman mentioned the phrase, “SkillsFuture”, in his speech and created a meme for it. The scheme, which aims to give learning grants to Singaporeans, was one of the highlights in the budget speech, and was mentioned quite a lot of times by the minister.
“SkillsFuture, SkillsFuture Everywhere,” it said, against the backdrop showing a scene from popular animated movie Toy Story.
3. Sandwiched class remains forgotten?
On the more serious side of things, there were some who lamented that the budget didn't address people in the sandwiched class even though DPM Tharman did announce enhanced support for middle-income families in his speech.
#SGBudget2015 only benefit the youngsters and senior citizen. We, middle aged group, our duty is to work and pay tax for the country. 👍👍— Mardhiah Suardi (@MardhiahSuardi) February 23, 2015
Catching up on #SGBudget2015. Judging from comments, looks to be disappointing & not enough to address needs of sandwiched class. Surprise!— karen.yeo (@souterrain) February 23, 2015
On Facebook, a Sharifah Faizah said, “The middle class will always be at the losing end.”
A Hwang Koon Chee added right after the comment, saying, “There’s nothing to look forward to anyway for we are always been overlooked year after year.”
4. Is Singapore’s budget a “Robinhood” scheme?
Another talking point was the higher taxes for top income earners. Specifically, Singapore’s top 5 per cent, those who earn at least $160,000, will pay higher personal income tax rates starting with income earned in 2016.
“We have to keep the tax burden on the middle income low… Those with higher income have also seen stronger income than the average Singaporean in recent years,” Tharman said.
This led to some people to label the Singapore budget as the “Robinhood” scheme.
Here’s one by a Melvin L:
One even calls the DPM, “Tharman Hood”: