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

    • This looks like a political suicide. PAP can just increase the GST now and when the next GE comes, the woo-hah would have died down. But they have extended the hike to 2021 at the expense of votes swinging to the opposition. I expect if future budgets allow, this GST hike will be further extended to gain popular votes.

    • Master .. n the dogs .. no wonder lhl admits 4th gen ministers no bulk..
      Heng .. u very heng already ..u know you hv stressed becos u hv no freedom ..that is why you …??
      Lhl also stressed as he scared his ministers speak their minds ..so all stressed that is the reason why no bulk ..

  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.

    • More like the days of the Roman Empire; the Coliseum where Caesar and his minions entertained themselves while slaves were torn to pieces by wild animals

  3. Chee Meng to Fido : ” How was your day, Fido?” Fido replied ” Woof woof ! ” ” How was Your Day Chee Meng ? ” Chee Meng replied ” Rough rough !”

    • Our reserve has been tap so many without accountability our CPf used for investment without accountability our national asset being sold without accountability . No transparency no accountability ownself pay ownself .why ?????

      • Tis is true, imagine the expense and the investment thrown out into other country with no proof of accounts, no public statement of how much the investment make or losses. This is what happen to SINGAPOREANS ASSET.

    • Grace Yu Yup. I think it has been like this all the while, I only watched once, in my whole life – yesterday Parliament debate, yesterday as I had some time to kill,

      And I cannot bear to continue to watch… They (The PAP would rather Attack the Oppo than solve some national issue, some of which r even urgent like mrt etc).

  4. Imagine White devils are absolute majority, nothing will be heard. I can’t wait to see White Devils sitting in opposition seat and laughed at.

  5. Pinky , KeeChiu, SickMan, Taichi Master , this generation
    SiaoKia, Fatty, CheeBehBai, Dungu, Daft, Traitor — next generation

  6. 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.

  7. Lets works toward the goals of dropping 2 to 3 PAP GRC and bring in more opposition parties don’t worry of more opposition PAP will still govern but with a lower mandates.

  8. Do you know why there’s no live streaming in parliment? If there’s, you will see those white vicious dogs will starts to barks like mad dogs.

  9. 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

  10. And now we know precisely why the PAP are vehemently against broadcasting entire parliament sitting; for fear they cheap antics will get exposed!!!

  11. Bad parenting brings bad manners.. whose parents taught the kids to laugh at other person when the person was participating in debates? Shame on those bullies

  12. This LHL doesn’t not love this country and most importantly it’s people at all, maybe what he and his siblings are doing are just trying to move their assets out of Singapore

  13. Ummm..they must have felt stronger with Mob mentality. Usually cowards need that..when they are among themselves they are like Lion..but alone..like hyena tail tucked between legs like obedient dog. Ciao my friend

  14. 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.

  15. For those who do not want to pay GST, you can go and live in Negar Brunei Darulsalam or Malaysia, our neighbouring countries, that have no ĢST or 6% respectively.

  16. It’s far from a full house so MPs don’t seem to respect parliament; and it’s rude to behave like clowns when others are speaking. Gracious? Far from it.

  17. Shocking that our PM and ministers behave in such a childish and disrespectful manner in Parliament. Can only imagine their schoolboy jibes and giggles behind closed doors.

  18. You see them laughing now, but during election they will start shedding tears and beg for “forgiveness”.

  19. No wonder Sg has more and more problems cos the govt is not using parluamrnt sessions to discuss and solve issues. The time is used to accuse and jibe at the oppo party.

  20. 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

  21. 這就是所謂的[卋界水平]的國会嗎?看來看去倒像是一个[馬戱團].
    一塲鬧剧,一塲笑話.

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