The Committee of Supply (COS) debates kicks off in Parliament today (5 March). This follows Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s wrap up of the Budget Debate.
The COS debate this year will see Members of Parliament (MPs) file a total of 436 “cuts”. Cuts are typically a question or suggestion posed to a minister on the ministry’s programmes and policies.
The MP who files a cut, calls for a nominal $100 reduction in a ministry’s budget, and uses the opportunity to express his or her own disagreement or complaint against the ministry’s programme. After the cuts have been debated, the respective minister, minister of state or parliamentary secretary will respond. The MP will withdraw his cut if he or she is satisfied with the reply.
With this year’s Budget, Singaporeans see a lot of new measures relating to Manpower – SkillsFutures initiatives and CPF enhancements. Hence, it is no wonder that manpower issues will dominate the debate. A total of 53 cuts have been directed to the Manpower Ministry.
Even Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin mentioned the big number of cuts to his ministry on his Facebook page.
The Manpower ministry’s debate will include hot topics such as SkillsFuture initiatives, mature workers and retirement adequacy.
Other hot topics set to be discussed widely during the debates include the housing policies for single parents and rental flats under the Ministry of National Development, as well as sports and heritage conservation under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.