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What Singaporean youths think of Budget 2020

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NewsOpinions

Besides the COVID-19 relief package and delayed GST hike, Budget 2020 had plenty in store for youths.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and concerns over its implications on our economy, the Singapore Budget 2020 was anticipated by many Singaporeans. Notable announcements like the delayed GST hike and the one-off cash payout for all Singaporeans above 21 could offer some relief.

But what about Singapore's youths?

In a Youth.SG Instagram poll, 42 per cent of youths were most interested in the delayed GST hike. In the same poll, 53 per cent of youths were particularly excited about the raised annual bursary amount for pre-university students, from $900 to $1,000.  

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About one third of youths were interested in the COVID-19 relief package and the new $5b fund to tackle climate change.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/ALIYAH KHAN

We spoke to five young Singaporeans to find out which topics in Budget 2020 resonated with them.

More opportunities for tertiary students to gain overseas exposure in ASEAN, China or India

''I was most impressed with the 'Asia-Ready Exposure Programme' as I believe it will benefit youths like me who want to gain a global perspective of the industry they're interested in.

''Last year, I was able to do a five-month internship in Shanghai, China, and it gave me many eye-opening experiences and a global perspective of the advertising scene. It also helped me better understand China's market, enabled me to build my network, and enhance my understanding of the Chinese culture and lifestyle.

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Yan Jun worked as an account executive at an advertising company during her internship in Shanghai.
PHOTO CREDIT: QUEK YAN JUN

''I would definitely recommend others to go for an overseas internship. It gave me a guided industry learning experience in another country, which is an opportunity that does not come by easily.'' - Quek Yan Jun, 20, Polytechnic student

New measures to stabilise the economy after COVID-19 and efforts encouraging Singaporeans to upskill

''The COVID-19 Support and Stabilisation Package was the main takeaway for me. I wanted to know what the government has planned in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the measures they wish to undertake to mitigate these impacts.

''Since many sectors like the aviation and commercial tenant sector were affected by the outbreak, I thought it was a good step forward for the government to propose initiatives that addressed unique concerns regarding each sector. Initiatives such as rental waivers, rebates for commercial tenants and food services will help to cushion the impact resulting from a declining traffic.

''I was also interested in the $500 Skills Future Credit top up given to Singaporeans aged 25 and above. It would be useful in acquiring new skills or interests, and help to supplement our existing expertise.

''It also provides a platform for us to feed our hunger to learn new things and inculcate the spirit of lifelong learning. This could bolster our current workforce and help businesses to thrive and succeed, maintaining a competitive edge in the global market.'' - Arif Izzuddin, 24, Undergraduate

More employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in Singapore

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Local business Foreword Coffee employs differently-abled persons. The new employment credit encourages more employers to do the same.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/JAMIE LEO

''The 'Enabling Employment Credit' to provide wage offsets to firms hiring Singaporeans with disabilities stood out to me because building inclusive workspaces is something I hold close to my heart.

''Persons with disabilities are an untapped part of our workforce because there is a stigma that they are not competent enough to work. This is the reason most businesses are reluctant to hire them.

''Encouraging the employment of persons with disabilities helps to eradicate this stigma and empower them with skills that could help them maximise their potential. It is a good first step in encouraging employers to allow persons with disabilities to contribute to the workforce, giving them the rights they deserve.'' - Claudia Yap, 20, Polytechnic student

Mitigating the impacts of climate change

''Like many youths, I believe climate change is an existential problem. How are we going to live in a comfortable environment if in decades' time we will have constant floods, for example?

''It's good that the government is taking decisive action now. Many governments are very cautious about taking action on climate change because it's usually politically costly. I applaud them for these climate change policies, and hope more MPs can lobby for it in their budget cuts.'' - Sean Lim, 25, Undergraduate

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Many youths at the Singapore Climate Rally 2019 urged the government for more climate action.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/JEREMY KWAN

''As a geography student, I'm most intrigued by the new coastal and flood protection fund to protect Singapore against rising sea levels. Since Singapore is a low lying island surrounded by water, we will definitely be able to experience the detrimental effects of climate inaction.

''Taking necessary measures to mitigate and protect our island from rising sea levels is a significant and progressive step, because Singapore will lose everything if we lose our land.'' - Renee Ho, 18, Junior College student 

BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/NURUL ASYIQIN

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