Chee Hong Tat follows Indranee Rajah’s lead; draws flak online for criticising Sylvia Lim


Senior Minister of State for Health and Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat has drawn the ire of netizens after he became the 5th ruling party politician to comment on why Sylvia Lim should have apologised for her parliamentary remarks on the timing of the GST hike announcement.

His remarks come just one day after Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah drew flak online for her remarks on the same issue.

Lim had said earlier that the Government had floated “trial balloons” on a possible tax hike but possibly backed down after the public noted Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s comments in 2015 that the Government has enough revenue for the next decade.

Defending her remarks as “honest suspicion,” the Aljunied GRC MP refused to apologise for her comments despite pressure from prominent PAP politicians, Law Minister K Shanmugam, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, and MCYS Minister Grace Fu who categorised Lim’s actions as “deplorable”.

Writing directly to Singaporeans on the People Action Party’s (PAP) website today, Chee called Lim’s comments “vicious” as it “goes to the heart of Government’s integrity”:

Dear Singaporeans,
1. The recent discussion on Parliamentary Privilege and Workers’ Party MP, Ms Sylvia Lim’s comments has generated some questions.  My colleague Ms Indranee Rajah had touched on some of these in her recent post.  I will address the question why Government decided to take up the matter during the Budget Debate. 
2. To recap, it started with Ms Lim’s allegation that the Government had floated a “test balloon” about raising GST immediately at this year’s Budget, but later backtracked and delayed the implementation due to public reaction.  After the Government clarified the facts, Ms Lim admitted that her earlier suspicion “may have been wrong”.  WP’s Mr Low Thia Khiang acknowledged in Parliament that “Ms Lim’s suspicion wasn’t really correct at that point in time”, i.e. Ms Lim’s suspicion was wrong, right from the start.
3. Why was it important for the Government to pursue the matter?  Because it needed to remove any doubt that the Government had intended to raise GST immediately, but then backtracked when it was called out that this would contradict previous Government statements. The underlying sting of that allegation was that the Government was being dishonest with the people.  This is both false and vicious, and goes to the heart of Government’s integrity.
4. Had the Government not pursued the matter in Parliament, most people would have overlooked Ms Lim’s “test balloon” comment.  However, the WP could later use it to great effect for political attacks, including during the next General Election. Indeed, Mr Low had himself made it clear that he preferred to debate the GST increase at election rallies, rather than in Parliament itself.  For example, they could allege that: 
a. The Government had secretly intended to raise GST immediately, but backed down because of public reaction;
b. The WP made this charge in Parliament, and the Government did not rebut it, so it must be true;
c. This Government cannot be trusted, either on taxes or any other policies; and
d. Vote against the PAP to teach them a lesson, and stop them from raising the GST after the elections. 
5. Through the debate with Ms Lim on 8 March 2018, we got her to admit, and Mr Low to confirm, that her suspicions were wrong; and she had no basis to accuse the Government of intending to raise GST immediately and then backtracking. 
6. The WP can now no longer rely on this falsehood to attack the Government’s credibility and trustworthiness. This will make for a more honest debate, in Parliament and outside. 
Chee Hong Tat
Member of Parliament, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC

Just like Indranee, Chee also faced intense flak from netizens who expressed their disappointment with the PAP for “harping” on this issue:

“PAP ministers were brow beating Sylvia Lim” – Tan Cheng Bock throws weight behind WP MP

Indranee Rajah sides with Grace Fu; explains why Sylvia Lim’s conduct is dishonourable


    • I guess someone had written the script, he agreed to become the next “hero” because of the million dollar salary….in another one or two days, next, whose turn now??? Childish PAP to WP>I don’t want to friend you.

    • Some people is far too clever but they are only suitable to be teachers but not suitable to be principal or Ministers.

      I remember my secondary principle don’t have motherly love and still single, sad to say, she not fit to be a Secondary school principal at all coz when I look for her over a trivial issue for help. She respond to me she can’t do anything and don’t bother to discuss with my lesson teacher. Wtf you as a principal in my school for what!

  1. This is outright harassment. Who’s next. Talk about class. This is what you the 60+% supported. Bunch of bullies. You are paid to serve the citizens not to go around demanding apologies. Grow up and behave like sensible people.If it’s to difficult to handle just retire. You all are not perfectionist. There is better people waiting to work for half your salaries.

  2. We all can see that Sylvia Lim has soundly hammered the PAP members with gliding grace. Now despite after the sitting of parliamentary sessions, we still have PAP members coming round to redeem lost pride and faces. Ha ha ha if this is how they have chosen to lick their wounds, good for them. They have to get used to such defeat. I must say many more hammering they can expect if they don’t repent and change their bullying habits

  3. Wow…

    Still begging for an apology huh!!!

    Unbelievable, drawing so much $$$ , talking nothing except begging for an apology as those all these people never make mistakes their life time

    It’s quite true that all these barking dogs will continue until the head or the owner tells all dogs to keep quiet or be silent …

    Or else no food for these dogs

  4. All the heartless and brainless cocks will join the winner to attack the lonely loser !!!
    My ♥ heart cries to our Almighty God when the behavior of the animals kingdom appear in our parliament house!!!
    All the wild uncivilised cocks are taking their turn to attack the lonely loser !
    May the angels of the Lord quickly smack the gang of wild cocks, dispersed them as soon as possible!

  5. The current team clearly lost the plot and dont even know what is important and what it means to serve the country. Try harder.. focus on getting apology and move away from GST discussion..need to clarify all future cost and expenditures and all current issues.

  6. why LHL didn’t stand up and give them a tight slap to stop all the nonsense, that making LKY to wake up from his grave to solve this issue, as LKY had promised before that he will wake up from his grave if Singapore is in serious trouble.

    Now we have so many issues going wrong and with these childish ministers taking turn to blow the trumpets.

  7. Thought this “Boxing” match was over? Now it appears everyone in Team PAP is having a go at Sylvia and trying their 2-cents best to score some points with their boss and probably trying to gain some fame. They r so highly paid that everyone in team PAP now felt so compelled to justify their salary by expressing their moral high grounds

  8. CheeHongmini-ter don’t be a CB Kia!!!
    1- If you and your gang suppressed info. ; how would SL be aware of her suspicions is wrong??
    2- CheeHongmini-ter do not put words in SL mouth ! Suspicion is not accusation !
    3- What falsehood are you babbling about ? The only falsehoods that can be attributed to are your 6 points rebuttal! You are bloody lame to take the people to be stupid and lacking in discernment !!! What an insults to the people !!!
    4- KOmgate/Oxleygate/Floodgate/WIStraininggate/Cowgate etc ….trustworthiness & credibility??? YOU Cheehongmini-ter and your gang has lost it !!!

  9. Escooter caused another hit n run… no bother at all…. this month MRT weekend starting after 8… so many poor Singaporean got to be much earlier from 4-5 am. .. got check on the poor SG nation? Never but keep this bullying lady… shame correct

  10. It appears that Singaporeans have grossly overrated these bunch of elitist ministers. Either they are so dumb, naive, lost in their own glorified self-esteem world that they continue to attack SL for speaking on behalf of all Singaporeans. Dont they know that no matter what they say its not going to change one bit how low we think of them now. The more they tried, the more stupid they appear to be and the more they become not just a laughing stock in Singapore but around the world. My friend’s in HK, China and Thailand are laughing in disbelief, how we could have tolerated this government for so long.

  11. They are trying to learn how JBJ was bullied. But too late. Fighting spirit and killer instincts are nurtured from young. These guys are cultured in the civil service Petri dish. Actually I am not worried about the WP. I am more concerned that without PM LHL, how the next 4g leaders will defend Singapore interest and uphold the honor of Singaporeans. All these cultured Ministers are pampered after A levels, have never worked with multi cultural teams, never worked in emerging countries etc. I only pray that under them, Singapore will not fall down the slippery slope of failure. LKY has tried against the odds of giving us Singapore of today. But as Chinese beliefs, the 3rd generation onwards wasted the efforts of the first.

  12. All this PAP Minister to me are just like school bully. All one by one just line up gang up just to get a Sorry out . I don’t see it as a professional way of begin a Mininster at all get to feel like it child play . Like a lot ppl have said just explain why need to do it due to what cause that need to be done and move on to more important things than fighting over a word sorry. If there nothing wrong why all forcing the word sorry unless there something just not right abt it. 至地无银三百量

  13. They ( pap) think they have won the battle, but in actual fact – They lost the war! 70% better open your own eyes and who you had voted for – greedy pigs and bunch of bullies. It’s the oppositions that shows more concern for welfare of Singaporeans. Open your eyes 70% voters this next GE !!!!! Vote for more Opposition to speak up for us!

  14. I really feel very dissapointed of our leader, have you not done anything wrong in your life? Or have u done any right but ppl accuse that u did it wrongly…. Come on lah…..can we discuss something more important to our nation rather then everyday, same old news of “seeking for apologize”….you all not tired we also feel irritating and shameful…

  15. Probably the only explanation we can come up with till today as to why the PAP are still flaming madam Sylvia Lim instead of clearing themselves of the query brought up by her , they have nothing to explain and zero facts to produce to the nation . Grudges filled their intention of removing the threat which at this point of time , Ms Sylvia Lim .
    This is the whole problem with the current parliament having more than 60% of the seating papies ?
    According “disgraceful” the ministers have already stated their intention having no coincident to rise gst with accordance to ms Lim’s query which after turned to an allegation and she was penalized when she continues to press on ?
    When you are accused of murder , which after cried innocent , no further clarification nor investigation can be carry out otherwise I be sue for defamation ? Absurd !!!!!

    If you said Ms Lim has attained zero grounds against her claim , then so far apart from mouth lipping , has the pap produced any facts to support their explanation ? Guess not …..

  16. Sell Grandmother Story at 2 cents worth.
    Make Spore Citizens hard earned Monies like Modern Slavery to their salary.
    How to justify the G salary whereby you look at the World Presidents.
    Saddam Hussein Regime and spat at others’.
    Wait for Karma and believes that.

  17. The ‘heart of the government’s integrity’ pumps out 1) Keppel’s corruption in Brazil for which Keppel dare not defend itself in a full trial in the US instead choosing to pay a ‘composition’ fine of US$422b. 2) the sacking of Changi Airport Int’l in the first year of its 20 years contract to manage a Saudi Arabia airport following a crackdown on corrutpion in the kingdom 3) the abuse of legal process when lhl filled a court affidavit making accusations against his siblings but allowed to go unpunished without proving his accusations in court, thereby eroding the sanctity of an important part of due process. And in the midst of it, he appointed his personal lawyer as the AG. Clarifying these issues are way way more relevant to integrity

  18. Everyone needs to realize that the days when our educated and media savvy citizens will accept all government pronouncements as absolute truth are gone.
    Bullying the opposition politicians or citizens into accepting policies that inflict ‘pain’ have to be justified by facts. Therefore transparency and actual data surrounding the stated fiscal position has to be revealed.
    Time wasted on petty arguments can be better used to convince Singaporeans why painful policies have to be effected.
    Elderly citizens like myself are not vehemently opposed to long term planning as this approach produced modern Singapore. May we also remind the policy makers that the elderly will all be dead soon. So can we enjoy some of the wealth we help to create during our working years? Particularly those of us who were left behind in saving enough for the latter years which we now live in.
    Majulah Singapura!

  19. Another apple polishing slave looking to please the 66 year old brat PM. Do not put it pass them that this could begin a move to file a motion to debate whether to censure Sylvia Lim. This will be great use of Parliament’s time. Keep it up brats. You are showing more Singaporeans the quality of your characters.

  20. CHEE HONG . Do you understand what your PM said at the Oxley session in parliament ?
    I repeat:
    “If MPs believe that something is wrong, it’s an MP’s job to pursue the facts and make these allegations in their own name, decide whether something seems to be wrong, and if you think something is wrong, even if you’re not fully sure, then come to this House, confront the Government, ask for explanations and answers.” I enclose a video clip of Sylvia Lim quoting PM Lee”
    .W.T.F ..CHEE HONG you don’t understand SIMPLE English?

  21. All the parliament episodes between Sylvia Lim and the bullies would fade away and forgotten in 2020 when the big 200 anniversary celebration costing hundreds of millions commences coulled with possible better angpows and come GE the % would be similar.

  22. Chee Hong Tat, best is u do your work nothing to do just draw salary which had paid million dollar , what PAP say u also yes so whether u talk or don’t talk is the same better to keep quiet next election u May win talk too much ppl will say just siding no own view

  23. Let’s pity them for being so immature for their age. Let’s pity them that they are so sheltered that they see no reality other than one they carefully curate to maintain the delusion that they have unparalleled brilliance and integrity. What perfect human beings we have as masters 😉

  24. Guys & Gals, it’s not their fault when 70% gave them a huge endorsement and complete free hand to change constitution, do their own self-check, self-praise, wolf pack-attack at others… SG is doomed by the 70% when they elected leaders who became petty instead bringing greatness

  25. Maybe national reserves are way too high to disclose. If disclosed cannot justify all these hikes & obssess collection of more money. Without proper disclosure of reserves almost impossible to have an objective assessment of accountability of our elected government.

  26. i think the rebuttals from the The Independent Singapore are not aggressive enough, you cant say its precious time ,singaporens have all the time to watch movie ,go for holidays,go out with their mistress if he has and even to vote during the GE, my conclusion is Bullying shld never be condoned in Palaiment and the Moderator has failed to address this issue .

  27. We have eyes to see, ears to hear and brain to think. Don’t act like a foolish that we do not know how to judge what is going on. You are acting like another problematic child who does not understand the final chapter has ended. Pissed off…

  28. Straits Times, DBS, TodayOnline and UOB. These are the government-owned companies behind the “test balloons” WP MP Sylvia Lim were talking about.

    A search on pre-Budget state media reports revealed that there indeed were “test balloons” floated by the government to test ground reactions to a GST increase. There were not a few “test balloons” but at least 20 articles suggesting GST increase over 3 months before the actual announcement on Budget 2018. In this 3 months, the ruling party government was absolutely silent and did not address any of these reports.

    Every single article below suggested that the government should raise the GST (click on each one if you wish):

    19 Nov 2017 – Straits Times: “Singapore to raise taxes as govt spending increases”
    20 Nov 2017 – Business Times: “GST hike announcement could be on the cards for Singapore Budget 2018: economists, tax specialists”
    20 Nov 2017 – TodayOnline: “GST tax hike in S’pore ‘likely’ but not in near term, experts say”
    21 Nov 2017 – ChannelNewsAsia: “Singapore set for tax hike: What could it be and when?”
    21 Nov 2017 – Business Times: “GST hike looms as Singapore’s funding needs grow”
    22 Nov 2017 – Business Times: “Impact of GST hike on prices will depend on size, timing”
    26 Nov 2017 – Straits Times: “Taxes introduced over the years and how the public reacted”
    28 Nov 2017 – Straits Times: “GST could go up 2 percentage points in Budget 2018: DBS economist”
    30 Nov 2017 – Singapore Business Review: “Speculated GST hike could boost e-commerce tax”
    1 Dec 2017 – TodayOnline: “Preparing for a GST increase”
    9 Dec 2017 – TodayOnline: “GST could be raised to 9% in Budget 2018: DBS report”
    24 Jan 2018 – TodayOnline: “How much additional revenue can S’pore get from raising GST and other taxes?”
    15 Feb 2018 – TheNewPaper: “What to expect if tax rates are raised at Budget 2018”

    There are many more “test balloons” but I believe the above presented a strong case behind MP Sylvia Lim’s suspicions. Her suspicions were not wrong, she should not be made to apologise for them.

    The Singapore Ministers are the unrepentant liars and probably the worst kind of politicians in the world. When caught in the act, they become defensive and started attacking others. They lack not only integrity, they exhibit behaviours of a compulsive liar forgetting the decorum expected of their esteemed positions.

    The GST increase was announced in 2018, three years after the 2015 General Elections. This fact alone disprove any attempt by the ministers to slither their way out.

    What is really disappointing is that the biggest fake news actually comes from the government’s “Factually” website:

    “Is the Government planning to raise the GST after the 2015 General Elections?
    There is no basis to these claims, and they are inconsistent with what the Government has recently stated.”

    Why should Sylvia Lim apologise? Take it to the Court then, K Shanmugam.

    Alex Tan
    STR Editor…/ministers-caught-lying-here…/

  29. ” Sorry” seems to be hardest word but it will make you a hero of tomorrow. In all matters there is only one simple truth. If you are right you are right and will fight like a bull. If you are wrong you are wrong. One sorry and fight another day. There is no such thing as wrong and right at the same time nor vice versa. Anyone living has never say “sorry” at all ? Bet many voluntarily uttered sorry daily even thought they were not at fault as a show of politeness and civic consciousness.

  30. Sessions like child’s play… Waste precious to which can b used to sit and improve our system work hand in hand with opposition no matter what they are CITIZENS OF SINGAPORE.
    The CORE of the nation, the PATRIOTS, are being deprived by LACKLUSTRE GOVERNANCE. NO TRANSPARENCY AT ALL.
    I was born here brought up in Malaysia, being there I yearned to b SINGAPOREAN. Which I eventually became ONESG. Over the years I realized I did a mistake when GOVERNMENT started U TURN IN POLICIES. Short sighted planning really left CITIZENS 3rd Class, even when the NATION BECAME 1ST WORLD. THE GREED for suppressing citizens depriving their HONOURABLE RIGHTS. IT’S TO LATE TO TURN BACK.
    Society has become like TEACHING YOUR FATHER’S HOW TO WALK.
    Flag of Singapore, National flag

  31. SL – well done for standing up for the voting public and querying . As for the others et al – get back to your corners – pathetic bunch of overpaid small-minded, petty, playground bullies, lining up to bash someone doing her job well.

  32. CHT!! what’s your view on GST?? Can you even show any modicum of effort to resist any GST increase for the benefit of your residents?? Have you visited your constituents in 26 Sin Ming Industrial Sector A?? Do you think they would be ok with GST increase?? I hate bullies..

  33. SG no job security they still want to argue somebody was wrong! In fact the purpose of opposition party is to raise our same concern y raise so much cost while we’ve jobless or no job security? Why can’t these MPs reduce salary? Took so much n not thinking constructive for citizen welfare n rice bowl but only know how to bark n argue! Don’t u think you all r the one not graceful?

  34. Dear Mr Chee Hong Tat
    Honestly Sir,
    We really did not need any Opposition figure to tell us NOT to vote for the PAP and teach them a Lesson, We have Eyes and Hearts and Brains to think “Outside the Box” to best REMOVE the PAP and thus recreating the Wheel once again, and this is what we called “Let Start from BASIC” and trust me when you start Threating Fellow Singaporean and like what your Forefather once said “Don’t be too Complacent” …“What I fear is complacency. When things always become better, people tend to want more for less work.”

    Don’t test the Singaporean as a “Test Balloon” you would not like to know the after-effect.