If not from defence, would the money come from education or transport? People are already complaining of overcrowded trains. If the Transport Ministry's budget is cut, it will not be able to add more MRT lines, he said.
HEALTH Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday criticised the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) promise to raise health spending from $4 billion to $10 billion a year if it is voted in.
'Once you raise the spending level, it becomes the minimum level. It only grows from there. It doesn't drop from there,' he said.
If the money came from cutting defence spending, as some had suggested, it could do Singapore a lot of damage as the region 'is not exactly friendly', he said. 'To ignore that reality can do a lot of damage.'
If it comes from Singapore's reserves, as the SDP - which has a team standing against Mr Khaw in Sembawang GRC - has suggested, Singapore could face the same problems as the United States, which has insufficient savings.
Singapore pulled itself out of the financial crisis two years ago with its own money, whereas some countries had to borrow.
'What does borrowing mean?' he asked. 'It means that this generation is telling their children and grandchildren, 'Sorry lah, we're in deep trouble and have to borrow. This mortgage you have to pay up in your generation. My generation, we have no money to pay up.''
Mr Khaw said Singapore's health expenditure will go up as people live longer. His team has tried hard to keep the cost increase low. He again promised to keep health-care costs 'affordable', but not 'cheap' as one cannot achieve world-class health care that is also cheap.
While the 10 per cent of the population who are sick have to be looked after,
Mr Khaw hopes to keep the other 90 per cent healthy for as long as possible. 'That's the right approach. Not throwing big money to build even more hospitals.'