From time to time we are regaled with amusing tales to assuage the possible fall-out from any
new measures introduced by the government ostensibly for the benefits of the public, in this
case the ERP increases.
Mr. Lim Swee Say was reported in the Straits Times of 23-6-08 to have drawn laughter from
his audience in his two hour dialogue to his driving experience of getting car beeps four to six
times a day when he passed through ERP gantries on his way to and from work. The audience
would have laughed differently if they had realised that the minister was a person of vast
affluence drawing a whopping salary of over $1 million a year . Anyone with that kind of
affluence can well afford to be generous with not only four to six times car beeps a day but
many times more. The wealthy car-owners are not grousing about the ERP increases
including of course the honourable minister Lim. It is the run-of-the-mill type of car-owners,
the wage earners and the small time businessman, who will feel the pinch.
While Mr. Lim drives merrily through the ERP gantries without a care and hardly a dent on his
vast affluence, the social side effect that could arise out of the ERP ib-ncreases may have escaped his alert mind. In order to avoid the ERP gantries, the ordinary car-owners may
start to leave home early and return late. This may bring about a disruption of their social
lives which may have possible serious consequences to our population policy in that there may
be less tendency to procreate because there is neither the time nor the energy to engage in
such endeavour any more.
Mr. Lim and his fellow ministers should try to put themselves in the shoes of the ordinary
car-owners to empathise with them