Alumni, students and staff of NTU turn up in droves at the 17th Distinguished Alumni Forum to gain a better understanding of Budget 2011.
As many as 250 participants thronged the auditorium where the forum on “Post-Budget 2011 – Analysis and Review”, was held. The forum was fully registered even before its closing date, signalling a keen interest among the NTU community, to engage in a discourse on the latest Budget and how it will impact them.
The forum was chaired by Prof Euston Quah, Acting Chair, School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS), NTU. Joining him on the panel were alumni speakers Prof Chew Prof Chew Soon Beng (Commerce/Class of 1971), Professor at NTU's Division of Economics, HSS, and Mr Wong Sui Jau (Accountancy/Class of 1998), General Manager, Fundsupermart.com. At a glance: For individuals and firms
To put Budget 2011 in perspective, both speakers offered their analysis of the package unveiled by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on 18 February 2011.
Prof Chew reviewed that the Budget was a generous one as Singapore's economy fared well last year. He said: “If I have to grade the Budget, I would give it an A minus. I would have liked to see extra funding being allocated for job redesign programmes, as well as for more to be done for the bottom 5 per cent of households from the $4b taken from the reserves rather than have it put back.”
Prof Chew also touched on Singapore's rising income gap, escalating inflation, education cost, property ownership, tax breaks, foreign workers' levy and productivity, among others.
Of particular interest was his observation of Singapore’s baby woes vis-à-vis the Budget – “no money, no honey, no energy, no babies” – tickling the funny bones of forum participants.
Mr Wong, on the other hand offered an overview of the Budget's outcomes to business. He shared that firms were not reporting significant impact on their bottom lines because of the Budget.
Mr Wong said: “The Singapore economy along with Asia's and the emerging markets will continue to have a positive outlook, going by their fundamentals.” Agreeing that it was a relatively good Budget, he pointed out that it suggested the Government meant business when it came to getting firms to invest in productivity and cut their reliance on foreign labour with the increase in worker levies across all sectors. Making sense of the relevance
Attending the forum for the first time, Ms Lim Yean Yi (Accountancy/Class of 1996) shared that she found the Budget topic relevant to her line of work. Ms Lim, who is in finance, said: “It is good to have the perspectives of experts.”
Mr Tay Boon Suat (Commerce/Class of 1974) highlighted that he attended the forum especially to hear Prof Chew's views on the Budget. Mr Tay said: “I find that Prof Chew offers not only academic perspectives, but also industry knowledge given his experience in industrial relations.” Mr Tay was also looking forward to meeting fellow Nantah alumni at the forum and he certainly did.
They, like many others, enjoyed the Question & Answer session moderated by Chairperson Prof Quah, as well as his concise closing summary.
The forum organised by NTU's Alumni Affairs Office was held on 1 March 2011, at NTU @ one-north Executive Centre. © Alumni Affairs Office