THE TEMASEK TIMES

News and views from an unique perspective

COEs and babies

Posted by temasektimes on September 9, 2012

The Certificate of Entitlement (COE) was introduced for the purpose of controlling the Singapore car population more than two decades ago. Its initial purpose is, however, displaced by the churning of huge revenue for the state as it enters into the realm of astronomical proportions.

Should Singapore continue to allow the COE to function as before? This question depends on another, “Is the family car a necessity or a luxury to the Singapore family unit?”

The usual lifestyle of the younger Singapore family entails ferrying kids from one point to another, to school, tuition or enrichment classes, swimming or piano lessons, etc, not just for the weekends. Convenience in transport and the minimization of traveling time make car ownership a necessity to the young family unit, particularly when it comes to the decision of having more babies.

The need for a family car do not diminish where the kids grow older and when a couple is confronted with ailing older parents. With just a call from the grandparents, mum or dad may have to rush either to their home or for the hospital. The situation is more demanding if the illness is terminal or chronic.

Car ownership is definitely not a luxury for modern day Singapore, let alone speaking of a Swiss standard Singapore.

Current rocketed COE prices imply that only families with reasonably high income should own a car, not that of the average Singaporeans. The average working Singapore folk is now either a professional or semi-pro as compared to that of earlier days. Shouldn’t they be entitled to an “affordable” car? If we start telling the Singapore people that cars are reserved for the very rich, how do they convince themselves that they are living in a family oriented society?

Even though procreation is also a problem faced by other developed nations, isolated solutions with baby bonuses and maternity/ paternity leave work better elsewhere than in Singapore, the reason being, other developed nations do not have the additional issue of land scarcity and do not face a traffic control system like the COE that indirectly stifles their family mobility.

The case of having babies is definitely a materialistic one, directly linked to one’s costs of living. Hoping for Singaporeans to change their value on producing babies but by not relaxing the taxes on the facilities that support the family lifestyle would never have the issue addressed.

HO K H

20 Responses to “COEs and babies”

  1. Lim said

    Govt wants us to have babies but not willing to curb its greed for exorbitant profits from HDB flats, COEs – so expect people to have many kids but squeezed with grandparents and use our infamous breakdown foreigner sardine-packed public transport to ferry kids and old folks to school, nursey and hospitals. So I can only conclude this call for procreation is merely lip service because they need to admit more foreigners to service the Ponzi public debt (read the Economist article) and withhold our CPF monies till we drop dead. COE was supposedly needed to control road congestion – now like ERP they are for filling up govt coffers to pay astronomical salaries to incumbents and stem investment losses – congestion is just as excuse to rip off more water from the stone.

  2. Sad Sad said

    You can buy a car without COE. just don’t drive🙂.
    or u want car to be at $1 so the street is filled with them and the road is congested everyone can’t move?

    • Gong Gong Piak! said

      We have to earn above SG$30,000 to be able to apply for credit card…why not make that a prerequisites for people to buy car so that not any Tom Dick and Harry can own cars? I’ve came across people who are willing to forgo more than half of their monthly salary just to look good!

    • ganina utama said

      Didnt u know coe was once $50? And the traffic condition then was perfect?

      • GK said

        Didnt u knw police was in short, now they are in pants? pls dun compare to the pass.. All this problem is because we do not have enough space and land.

      • Idiots Idiots Everywhere said

        Did you know that COE was $2 in 2008? And I still see no improvement. Btw, that time police alrd wear pants.

      • Angry Stone said

        “we do not have enough space and land.” is a fact that was here since before Singapore was named. it is the problem with the pple who control and plan our resources. will you let 50 pple stay in your 5 -room flat?

  3. Francischuanghli said

    We are already gotten Folded-up by Foreigners occupation. I just don’t understand why the young TBS still asking for personal comfort !
    It’s time for us TBS to bind up & defense our holy soil in which your forth fathers had create.
    When it come to time where we get chase out of theis holy soil, will U people still needs that stupid COE to live in the foreign land like the JEWs?? Wake up my dear & get mature up.

    From your Senior TBS with sorrow.

  4. loo said

    I believe those people in the sales line will suffer alot. Supply and demand. Car has always been a luxury thing. But the funny thing is alot of times, people tell me that they will need a car after they have a baby. Why? because it is inconveniet to travel around with the baby pram and so on. But think of what you see in a car advertisment. Happy family faces in a MPV. We are all being brain washed by Advertisments. Why dont the goverment show advertisments of family taking public transport with happy faces. I know why, they know they cant do that because the infrastructure is not designed for our current population to have that happy experience. So help fellow singaporeans change thier mindset, i suggest minitry of home affairs? come out with a advertisment. The advertisment should address all the financial issues Singaporeans have and at the same time the COE and baby. Jack Neo, if you are still in the filming industry, time to make a short film and regain your supporters. i bet they may even want to elect you as the next minister if your movie speak their hearts out. Ha, you wont last as long as arnold. The movie should go like this. Born in a poor family. Mother is a working at a kopi tiam late hours at night serving heineken and tiger beer. Dad works shift work as a SBS bus driver. The young man thinks everyday why he was brought into this world. Why not like his friends born with a silver spoon. His then, brings the family out taking a Double decker bus ride, showing them enjoying the ride (Smiling but not drinking coke and macdonalds fries in the bus ok…). And on the way, see 2 cars accident, and tells his son, look, its safer and cheaper taking public transport and one day you are going to be like daddy, drive a bus with pride. So his son sets out in life inspired by his dad. Of course, it takes time. Then the boy grows up… found his true love and wants to get married. The message to brain wash is Stay with your parents and not buy your own HDB. Show lots of family love. See, it addressed the shortfall of bus drivers, shows poor can be happy also, shows COE high or low not important, shows 2 generation of family bonding ( Of course house will be left for the son so that the son can also plan to have kids and maybe two this time) So i guess, the argument of weather COE is high or not or baby bonus to encourge babies or not, is it takes time. We just need to be aware that we are consantly, subconciously being bombarded by advertisments and messages that shapes our thoughts. Set a goal in life and car shouldnt be in the list and having your own HDB should not too. It will take another generation for things to come to an equilibrium state. For now live happily. Ahhh… the trend nowadays…LIKE THIS ON FB ok?

  5. FTs who dun like PAP said

    If only Malaysia is Singapore and Singapore is Malaysia. Then will will not have any traffic problems.
    Malaysia have many land but they don’t know how to make use of it. And Singapore know what to do but don’t have enough lands!

  6. seah said

    dont worry ask govt,to give you a car as incentive to have more babies.as baby and car go together.No car cannot have babies,what you all want ask.free or cheap child care piroroty to getting HDB flat 6 month maternity leave,free hospital fee for giving birth,what you want ASK.The govt is very rich.NO money only UP the Taxies.Let the poor people like me eat grass

  7. Ho KH is ..... said

    Ho KH, you decide whether to start a family based on whethere you can own a car?
    You’re out of your mind, sad and frankly, its best you do not start a family. I don’t see you being a family person.
    I hope there aren’t too many of you sad cases around ….

  8. tyu said

    Scrap the COE system. I rather have heavy traffic jams than paying 100k for a piece of paper!

  9. singaporean deserved said

    it just does NOT make any sense that we have to pay 100k for a piece of paper and still get caught in the jam!!!

  10. Penn said

    COE is a joke now. Better dont let other countries know that Singapore has such a lame system to curb car population

  11. Renaldo Noma said

    I would agree to the writer on most of the points, but I would rather put it from the angle of declining population (have more babies). Me and my wife experience ourselves that it’s definitely hard to handle more than 2 small kids (or even babies) to travel using public transport other than MRT. Even MRT would not be as easy if it rains. Taking a public buses while handling 3yrs old kid and a baby alone is definitely not easy–not to mention if it rains. However, though it’s tough, 2 kids are still possible to manage in many situations, but more than 2 are definitely difficult if their age are close each other. In order to grow the population to have more than 2 kids in each family, a car is definitely needed on each family and is absolutely not a luxury.

    So I have a theory that would possible work to boost the population: there should be a policy that shall waived off the COE completely for those family with 3 kids or more from a single married, and impose even higher COE for those not married. Prioritized given to those single breadwinner, and so on, and so on…

    The worse impact would be a lot of cars on the road which may cause traffic jam in near future, but then…I believe if that really happen it means the population has already grow because more people having 3 kids or more.

  12. LOL said

    In fast paced sg car is needed and shld b affordable for every families. N COE shld ONLY be applicable to 2nd car onwards of each household. I think that shld be fair for most of e families. Having more than one car is a luxury that u WANT not NEED. Hence e COE shld apply in that aspect.

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