Singapore Budget Speech 2011: shocked over TV, radio licence

When the Finance Minister announced that TV and radio licences would be scrapped with immediate effect there were gasps of astonishment in the House. 

I nearly choked on my food during dinner when I read about it. 

In fact, I wrote to the Straits Times Forum to express my unhappiness over the need to pay TV and radio licences. 

But ST saw no merit in my letter and rejected it. 

But I published it on this blog. 

This was the rejected letter:

“I fail to understand why the government continues to hand over the money on a platter to Mediacorps and the radio stations. With some 900,000 households paying the annual fees, the total amount the government rakes in comes to a staggering $99 million.

According to the authorities, TV license fees are collected with the principal aim of funding public service programmes on TV and radio.

I find it unbelievable that the cost of producing all those public service programmes can amount to some $8 million dollars a month.

Since the money is given on a platter, is there any assurance there is no wasteful expenditure? How exactly is the money used? What sorts of TV and radio programmes are funded by the fees? Does the level of viewers’ interest in such programmes justify their continuance? These are some of the questions the public would like answers to.

Public opinion is that the government should fund public service programmes from its tax revenue instead of forcing the public to bear what should be its public duty.

It bewilders me that public money is offered to private companies so easily.

If they are altruistic enough I think it is not beyond their creative ability to attract sponsors to fund the programmes

A sad consequence of the need for a TV licence fee is that poor households are forced to live without TV, or even radio,

Television and radio serve as very basic vehicles in the dissemination of news, information and entertainment. Everyone should have free access to it.

Continued insistence that households foot the bill is unfair and unjustified.”

Yes, Minister! TV and radio licences are irrelevant in the age of the Internet. 

Some might dismiss this as another sweetener with the General Election in the offing. 

Let’s hope it sparks effort to excise other deadwood. 

The exit toll for Singapore motorists at the Woodlands Checkpoint could go under the microscope. 


5 Responses to “Singapore Budget Speech 2011: shocked over TV, radio licence”

  1. “The revenue forgone from the removal of these licence fees will be approximately S$120 million per year.”

    It should be placed in this manner, “We have erroneously collected $120 million of TV, Radio licence per year for the past couples of years”.

    Like or Dislike?

    • An apology as well.

      And a refund for at least 5 to 10 years? That’s the trouble with surrounding yourself with yes-men with nobody daring to point out that it’s not only totally irrelevant but unfair.

      Few people want to watch such programmes

  2. Yeah, I recall you advocating for the abolishment of archaic TV & radio licenses. 🙂


    Besides propagandist news & associated programming, I quite suspect that part of the license fees also goes to the censorship committee that monitors & snips the limited range of foreign programmes that we are allowed to see on national TV/ cable. Besides disjointed screening, I have observed entire episodes go “missing” because of “undesirable” themes. It’s so doubly-ironic that we are paying the govt to deliberately deprive us of a diverse & well-balanced TV/radio diet — the thing is: the govt will continue doing it anyway, even if we don’t pay it to do so.


    Let’s hope so. One should be rigorously removing defective deadwood on a routine basis, instead of blaming microbursts & other imaginary enemies of the State for fallen trees. The govt is giving away small amounts of cash to adults on 01 May 2011 — this probably means that the GE would be held before 01 May.

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