Did PM Lee tell Ng Chee Meng what to say during parliamentary clash with Low Thia Khiang?

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Workers’ Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang clashed with Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng on Wednesday after he questioned the timing of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike announcement, which was announced as part of Budget 2018 last week.

While Low praised the Budget for being a forward-looking one, he asked why the GST hike had to be announced as part of the budget for 2018-2019 since the 2 per cent tax increase is only set to go into effect from 2021.

Low’s comments prompted Ng – who apparently did not intend to speak – to respond. Claiming that he was “increasingly baffled,” Ng engaged in a back-and-forth with Low over why the tax hike was announced during Budget 2018.

At one point, Ng brings up remarks Low had made during the Committee of Supply debate last year: I quote ‘I hope he – meaning the Minister of Finance – can be upfront with Singaporeans now so that they are not blindsided by the Government as they were with the sudden 30 per cent increase in water prices’.”

He then quips, “You can’t have your cake and eat it,” drawing laughs from the chamber – most notably, from Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who are seated together.

A video of the exchange shows that Ng is reading Low’s quote from an iPad or an electronic tablet of some sort. Interestingly, after he reads Low’s quote, Ng hands the iPad over to PM Lee, without being prompted to do so. This raises the question if the iPad Ng was reading from was, in fact, the Prime Minister’s as Ng seems to be returning the iPad to him.

As Low responds, WP chairman Sylvia Lim can be seen behind him smiling, with what appears to be disbelief, before she can be seen shaking her head (see 1:35 onwards):

Budget 2018: Low Thia Khiang, Ng Chee Meng exchange words over timing of GST hike announcement

WATCH: The exchange between The Workers' Party's Low Thia Khiang and People's Action Party's Ng Chee Meng 黄志明, after Mr Low called the announcement of the GST hike an "unnecessary distraction".

Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday, 28 February 2018

This is not the only time parliamentarians can be seen laughing at Low during the exchange. Chan Chun Sing can be noticed, uproariously laughing and gesticulating with both hands towards Low:

Low – who responded to Ng that the hike should be announced early but the question is whether it should be announced together with the budget – perhaps prompted the most laughs when he offered, tongue in cheek, that the GST hike could be debated during the rallies at the next General Election.

Some netizens have questioned why the parliamentarians were laughing so uproariously when all the opposition politician was doing was seeking clarification:

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat later berated Low and the WP for suggesting that they could debate the GST hike at the next General Election:

“I was puzzled that he characterised the GST debate as a distraction, and that he would rather debate this at election rallies.
“The Workers’ Party MPs have been elected into Parliament. You are sitting in Parliament. Parliament is exactly the place to debate serious issues affecting our nation’s future.
“So I really hope that the Workers’ Party MPs, having run on a slogan of a First World Parliament, is not just using attractive election slogans, with no real intent to take your Parliamentary responsibilities seriously.
“I hope that when the elections come around, the Workers’ Party will not turn around and use the GST to distract people from the longer-term issues that we face. These are serious long-term challenges that we should do our best to address and not take this as electioneering or as political play. We owe it to Singaporeans to do right thing.”

“You can’t have your cake and eat it” – Low Thia Khiang and Ng Chee Meng clash over timing of GST hike announcement

Heng Swee Keat berates WP for indicating they might debate GST hike at next election

91 COMMENTS

  1. Not surprising as parliament has become a circus with clowns laughing away! I’ve commented earlier that pm LHL should team up with m’sia’s najib to form a circus with ready clowns on standby.

    • Indeed how childish and shameless are the pappies…circling round their prey like a pack of dogs! Such disgusting behavior not befitting a first world leader. Please get their acts together before they lose our respect, if there is still any left!

  2. This is 1 of the hidden REASONS why parliament seatings cannot be shown live. Puppets and mostly clowns are there. All questions must be table before seatings and all answers and voting are all already prepared and are answered by reading written scripts. 1st class 1st world parliament ‘wayang’seatings

    • Parliament seatings used to be broadcasted live, until the people were shown oppo Jeya’s stellar performances and how badly the PAP behaved and argued over issues.
      LKY quickly put a stop to it and live telecasts were changed to delayed abridged telecasts, and later further changed to short indirect reports with excerpts only. The tactics of PAP manipulations, subtle deceit and shaping perceptions have been on since when the dead man was still alive. The son just inherited and enhanced what he learnt from his father.

  3. I think all this old man has no brain they think the way they do in parliament they are smart. Look you people are so free to laugh why don’t you people look into the MRT problem. You people’s (PAP) are making singaporean soooooo angry.

  4. And to think they don’t even have a basic courtesy as a true gentlemen to “behave” when others are giving a speech ?
    Wanna something really hilarious to laugh about ? Listen to this ” I was told by some group of people that in order for the organization to be corruption free , members of such have to be given a high salary ….? When others of the same job nature has maintain their professionalism in completing and fulfilling their job , these high salary jokers fxxk it all up but still continues to draw high salary …..
    ha what a roar ……… simply hilarious

    We didn’t pay you ppl to crack jokes

  5. Is this really a First World Parliament?
    1. Questions submitted beforehand
    2. Replies are actually from prepared scripts and nothing more than a speech
    3. The debate, whatever little we get to see, are childish and very often borders on personal rather than on substance.

  6. That’s your 4G Leadership…
    All Belum Masak..
    Slowly start to eliminate and attriction will be high !!

    No survival and major crisis issues for them to deal…
    Just following,,managing and still Yet to Make a Difference !!

    Spore better wake up and start to worry who will be PM and
    Dy PM !! Not funny