Defence Spending … Focus on Value not Absolute Dollar
Once again, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has raised the issue of Singapore’s defence spending. This is the same SDP that called for the merger of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Health during the 2015 General Elections.
The SDP is quoted as saying that a “strong military is not the same as excessive and unsustainable defence spending.” We wonder on what basis the SDP is claiming that our defence spending is excessive and unsustainable?
Our question is where was the SDP when the Singapore Armed Forces’ Special Operations Force (SOF) saved the lives of Singaporeans during the SQ117 high jacking or the evacuation of Singaporeans from Phnom Penh. Or more recently, when the SAF deployed to forces to ensure that the instability in Timor Leste did not filter down to affect Singapore, Or the Navy’s daily protection of our sea line of communications from piracy to ensure that our ports remain one of the busiest in the world.
The strange thing about defence spending is that it is a Black Swan. When the SAF is effective in preventing and defeating threats, no one knows and says that defence spending is a waste of money. However, if the Black Swan event occurs, people will curse that the SAF (and the G) had failed to protect Singaporeans. This is similar to the recent arrest of the 27 Bangladeshi in Singapore. If the Government had chosen to remain silent on the matter few Singaporeans would have known. This is the same with the military. There is much that goes on behind the scene that keeps Singapore safe which cannot be revealed.
So, in response to the SDP’s call to cut defence spending, we say focus on the value and not the absolute dollar. There is much hidden value which you know nothing of. And judging from your calls to merge the Defence and Health Ministries, it is clear that you know nothing at all.