Misconceptions about the Singapore budget surpluses

I think there has been some misconceptions about the Singapore budget surpluses mentioned here and elsewhere. I have my own take on it which I will share here in the form of a question and self answer format. The main thing to remember is that the PAP does not give a rat’s ass about Singaporeans and the budget, like every other thing in Singapore, is another attempt to squeeze money out from Singaporeans and hide in it their special places.

1) We have a budget surplus every year since the last election, so this is a good thing, no?

Answer: Absolutely not. The constitution calls for a balanced budget. So statistically speaking, you should have some years of deficit and some years of surplus, for no other reason then the fact that budgets are not always going to be on the nose due to the vagaries of the economy, revenue stream, and unplanned expenses etc. But we have had a surplus every year, and sometimes, the surplus exceeds the forecast by several hundred percent. What are the odds of that?

Initial estimates Actual/revised figures

FY2016 S$3.45 billion S$6.12 billion
FY2017 S$1.91 billion S$10.86 billion
FY2018 -S$0.6 billion S$2.12 billion (revised)
Accumulated surplus S$19.1 billion

Normally, in other countries, any surplus is carried forward to the next year, hence reducing the burden on the taxpayer for the following year. If these surpluses were carried forward, we may not have needed to raise the GST, or other costs.

But in Singapore, annual surpluses are transferred to an off book account called Past Reserves. This is an account that comprises all the prior years of accumulated surpluses, and is managed by the MOF. No one knows how much is in there. This account is not to be confused with Foreign Reserves, or other reserves that govt manages.

2) But don’t we need all these Past Reserves to draw on for a rainy day?

Answer: No. The PAP created many entities such as stat boards, sovereign wealth funds, and GLCs to off load its costs and hide its profits. Taking the pre-SLA HDB as an example. Land appropriated cheaply under the Land Acquisition Act, then developed into HDB estates with flats sold at a huge mark up to the peasants.

These profits, either retained by such stat boards or transferred to Temasek Holdings is in fact a rainy day fund for Singapore. If we should ever need it, the government can direct any or all of these stat boards, and GLCs which are owned by the various Ministries to liquidate some of its holdings and send them back to the owning Ministries. This is a luxury that many other countries don’t have. What we have in effect is a double back up system, which is ridiculous.


Kum Weng Lai



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10 Responses to “Misconceptions about the Singapore budget surpluses”

  • Natural aristocrat Wannabees:

    He proclaims Trickle-down Economics, but we peasants waiting decades long for its trumpeted effects to help us out in this pressure cooker society. In the meantime He’s gotten filthy rich while our blood sweat & tears CPF He just cannibalizes in a cavalier way that even my own father would not have the heart to eat up my lifetime piggy-bank savings.

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  • TruBlu:

    PA$T RESERVE$ or Foreign Reserves or * FT-reserves *,who care by what it is called?
    i dont!

    all i know is that sgs acculumlated such BIG RESERVES via TAXES/DIRECT/INDIRECT,levies,surcharges and PROFITS MADE BY GLCs/govt agencies just so for the PAPies to pay themselves $ky-high $alaries abd to $quander on aliens and alien failing companies and banks.
    and,if their WIFE OR wives lose some more MONIES,COLLECT EVEN MORE $ FROM DAFT sgs who KEEP VOTING FOR *US*???

    SUCH RESERVES from TAXING THE TRU BLU sgs and HOARDED one way or another,or HIDDEN, would eventually benefit NON-TRU BLU sgs who come to steal our JOBS in the first place with the HELP OF DAFT PAPies.

    we refuse to assist our poor and needy like jobless n elderly with decency but we are so willing to let the 6 million or more ALIENS come here and pillage these monies later on???

    HOW COULD ANY RATIONAL N THINKING SG VOTE FOR PAPies who insist on FARKING us up in such manner and extent???


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  • Surplus, surplus, surplus:

    Singaporeans need a good education between official “budget surplus” presented in Parliament and the real surplus.

    Real surplus is all govt income minus all govt expenditure.

    Real surplus is estimated at more than $50 billion each year. That is probably an estimate on the low side. It could be $100 billion a year.

    Do you need proof? Go calculate yourself. Find all big items that are not presented in the Parliament. Check whether expenditures are really expenditures. And go read KJ’s blogs about Singapore government finance.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    The SURPLUS is HUNG in a Suspense Account to be Drawn in case of Emergency Like Run Road leh!!!…

    or cover losses incurred by the JINX and she still gets paid by the hundreds of MILLIONS!!!…when NOT ready to Run Road lor!!!

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  • HarderTruths:

    $G has a budget surplus because we are told it is so.

    Who really knows what a budget surplus means in $G?
    How is the surplus worked out in detail?
    Was the original (too high) estimate made by Vivian? If not what is the excuse for getting this wrong?
    Who decides what is needed to be spent and what is not?
    Why was the money not spent? On what things should it have been spent?
    Are citizens being deprived because the government thinks their condition is not important?

    ….only silence I hear……….shhh the MP’s are sleeping……….

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  • fish:

    there is NO misconception.
    its has all the time been MISINFORMATION N CONFUSION.
    thats the so-called standard of meritocraps.

    GD Star Rating
  • Accountability:

    Good work indeed!!! We have so many Billions in our “Past Reserves” And why MAS still needs to transfer another $45 billion to the G?? (8 May 2019)

    That was what our National Hero (Dr Tan Cheng Bock) once said:
    “I go in because I want accountability. I want transparency. What’s happening to our reserves? Are our reserves all gone? Don’t know. What happened to our CPF?”

    Singaporean, please wake up. You might have had voted for pap but for this coming GE please give the Opposition a chance to bring back accountability.

    We need to kick out the Indian lady gardener in Isatan and have Dr Tan Cheng Bock to take over that position so we can have accountability.


    Read the above link and see how our neighbour commented on KS (“silly talk for a Cabinet minister), (wondered how Shanmugam knew that Singaporeans were in favour of the death penalty).

    The whole world is laughing at our CLOWNS in our Cabinet.

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  • IQ TEST for sgreans:

    Singaporeans, you think you smart ?

    IQ test :

    1. Can the majority audit the GDP?

    2. Can the majority audit the state secrets?

    3. Can the majority audit what they claim?

    4. Are the majority basing on Trust ?

    I rest my case, your humness.

    GD Star Rating
  • never trust pap:

    there is NO misconception.
    its has all the time been MISINFORMATION N CONFUSION.
    thats the so-called standard of meritocraps.

    well said, bro.

    it is all pap lies, more lies, and more more lies.

    after all, when INDIAN is malay, and INSIDE 200m is not within 200m, and 70% sheep agrees, Singapore as it now is pap governed is doomed.

    GD Star Rating
  • oxygen:

    @ Kum Weng Lai

    FINANCIAL RESOURCES SET ASIDE FOR MULTI-DECADE SPENDING TARGETS in those Pioneer Generation Packages and Merdeka Generations are all provision stored in some reserves accounts. In financial accounting jargon, it is akin to what is called ‘HOLLOW LOG ACCOUNTING” – just like cash stash in some hollow logs.

    If these budgeted sums are not spent fully in any budgeted year, the “surplus” can be retrieved and access to take out and spend buying votes in an election year or even on estate upgrading of HDB estates of votes baiting when peasants are “tenants” of their dwellings and HDB is the legal owner. IT IS QUITE SIMPLY OWNER-UPGRADE-OWNER PAPpypolitics and PAPpynomics and peasants supply the votes of “approval” in election time, LOL.

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