Here’s Why Ex-NMP Calvin Cheng Criticised a PAP MP for Installing a New ATM


Given Singapore’s shift towards a cashless society and with many establishments offering cashless payment options, some of us may not even bring a wallet with us when we leave the house.

There are, of course, two camps of people reacting to this shift. One camp advocates for the elimination of cash usage as far as possible. The other camp probably still sees the need for cash usage (what happens if your mobile phone runs out of battery and you cannot pay for your dinner?).

While both camps have their proponents, former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Mr Calvin Cheng is very clearly and firmly sitting in the former camp.

Here’s what he had to say about the cash vs cashless issue again.

Calvin Cheng Criticizes MP for Installation of New ATM

Many of us value ATMs as a quick and convenient way of drawing cash without needing to brave the long counter queues at the banks.

The superstitious amongst us may also pay special attention to ATMs during annual events such as Li Chun (known as the ‘beginning of spring’) when we need to deposit money to ensure that we continue to huat (strike it rich) in the new year.

So, the installation of a new ATM should bring a smile to the faces of many.

However, definitely not for ex-NMP Mr Cheng.

Mr Cheng has taken to Facebook to raise a ruckus about a Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Don Lee, for sharing on Facebook that United Overseas Bank (UOB) set up a new ATM at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 7.

You can watch Mr Lee’s full introduction of the new ATM below.

Mr Lee is affiliated with the People’s Action Party (PAP), aka the men-in-white.

Mr Cheng calls Mr Don’s cheer of the ATM opening “mad” as it “[goes] against” the initiative to “minimize cash”. To Mr Cheng, using cash is an “outdated form of payment”, and the “ruling party” should not openly encourage banks to install more ATMs.

Instead, he argues that ATMs should be closed.

In his post, Mr Cheng says that it is a “myth that old people cannot use digital payments”, although Mr Cheng’s post does not reference the age of the residents in the Choa Chu Kang region in his post.


Mr Lee, however, does reference that the ATM opening provides greater convenience to residents in the vicinity.

Could Mr Cheng’s umbrage arise from fear that a reader may somehow make a connection between greater convenience for residents, older residents and Mr Cheng’s age? Mr Cheng is 47 years old.

We kid.

It seems that Mr Cheng is pushing to reduce the number of ATMs so that “we do not make cash transactions easier”, in line with his philosophy that we “should not eliminate cash” but “aim to minimize [the usage of cash] as much as possible”.

One thing’s for sure with Mr Cheng—cash is not king.


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This Is Not the First Time Cash Has Irked Him

This attack on cash on Mr Cheng’s social media page is not the first.

Earlier this month, Mr Cheng posted about a food court in the CBD which only accepted cash to “name and shame” them.

He even went as far as to encourage a “boycott” of businesses that do not offer alternatives to cash.

Of course, netizens took to the comments section of his post to defend the use of cash.

One notable rebuttal of Mr Cheng’s extreme view came from the Chairman of Temasek Trust, Ms Ho Ching.

She reposted a Facebook user’s story about how a stall owner of a cash-only wanton mee stall allowed the OP (original poster) to pay the balance of her meal on a later date as the OP did not have enough cash on her, adding her two cents that “there is no need to shame others for using cash” as “what matters is that the heart is in the right place”.


Ms Ho is the wife of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who belongs to the PAP as well.

We love the indirect shade.

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Featured Image: Facebook (Calvin Cheng)