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

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Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat had a lot to say about the Workers’ Party’s remarks on the impending Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike at the Budget debate.

First, the Minister took WP assistant secretary-general Pritam Singh to task for “adopting a wait-and-see posture” instead of “taking a principled stand”.

Singh had proclaimed at the Budget debate on Tuesday that his party does not support the GST hike and that the government should consider alternative approaches instead of raising taxes: “GST may well have to rise, but Singaporeans could be more likely to accept it if the Government considers the pros and cons of moving from the establishing orthodoxy, and consider new approaches that improve social protection thresholds for all.”

Noting that the Government has not clarified on what its projected expenditure will be in future when GST is slated to increase, Singh asserted that there is a “lack of clarity” on whether it is necessary to hike GST and added: “In view of the absence of such details, the Workers’ Party is unable to support the announcement of a GST hike at this moment in time.”

Instead of a GST hike, one new approach to raising revenue would be to use proceeds from land sales. Singh offered that this method would be “novel” and “relatively radical” in a 20-minute speech on the matter.

“Mr Pritam Singh cannot be serious” – Heng Swee Keat

Today, the Finance Minister rebuked Singh’s suggestion to use revenues from land sales and said. Using the same term that WP chief called the GST hike, Heng said that the options Singh presented are nonviable “distractions”:

“We deliberately introduced rules on land sales and the 50 per cent NIRC cap so that we do not succumb to the temptation to draw more from our reserves to fund current expenditure or eat into the principal sum.
“Any serious-minded person will appreciate that not one of these is a viable alternative to a GST increase. They are distractions. Mr Low Thia Khiang asked us not to be distracted. Instead of taking a principled stand, Mr Pritam Singh would rather withhold his support for the GST increase by adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ posture.
“It is easy to fall back on politically expedient options and pretend that they will solve our long-term challenges. But this is a dishonest and irresponsible approach.”

Budget 2018: Heng Swee Keat on WP criticism of GST hike

“Does The Workers' Party want the Government to increase healthcare or social spending? If yes, how does the WP propose to pay for the increase?”: Heng Swee Keat on WP criticism of the GST hike. #SGbudget2018

Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Heng further opined that future generations of Singaporeans could “easily end up in serious deficit” if the Government implemented such alternatives. He also noted that none of the WP parliamentarians who spoke during the budget debate asked the Government to cut back on spending for any specific item.

Pointing out that the WP, instead, asked the government to do more for the elderly and the disadvantaged, Heng said: “I think the Workers’ Party should come clean to the people. Does the WP want the Government to increase healthcare or social spending? If yes, how does the WP propose to pay for the increase?”

Heng also took issue with WP chief Low Thia Khiang’s comments on the timing of the GST hike announcement.

Low had clashed with PAP Minister Ng Chee Meng on the timing of the GST hike announcement, which he called a distraction, during the budget debate yesterday.

At the end of the exchange, Low had offered that the tax increase could be debated during the rallies at the next General Election – which must be called by 15 Jan 2021 – drawing laughs from the chamber.

Heng sharply berated the WP for such comments and said that he hopes the party does not use the GST hike to “distract people from the longer-term issues” during the next 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

WP does not support the impending GST hike: Pritam Singh proclaims at budget debate

106 COMMENTS

  1. Aiya. This amateur talk. You hope ! They will ! Our scholar ministers and PS are not combat proven in politics. That is why they lack the killer instinct to deal with large bullies like China. They are nurtured in clinical laboratory called Singapore Civil Service.

  2. This Heng talk so much n compare to other and acceptable, why never say other country don’t have COE, casino levy, ERP every where, even second House also have levy , land tender so many income don’t what is in his brain or he sick too long brain damage

  3. Aziz Kassim; do you think he will kick the bucket befiore the GE ,he looks so weak and also he is not able to cope up with his decisions, he only knows how to come to his conclusions without any facts ,and relies so much from MP views,sounds so pathetic.

  4. Wong sa junior U don’t cb ! You and your white termite gang dictate every thing ! Dare to increase GST but dictate that pple not talk about it ! u die n come back but not learn your lesson !!! nahbeh ! karma will surely visit you !!! nahbeh!

  5. Does increasing gst reflect the capability of the government or the incapability of the government?
    Expenses is expected keep going up over the years. Does it means gst need to keep increasing to maybe 1 day become 20%?
    Isn’t the mission of the government is to make people life better? Is increasing or decreasing gst making people life better? Isn’t it the ideal scenario that gst decrease, price of goods become cheaper and salary increase? But are we going the other way round? Is the other way the correct way for our government?

    • AS I SAID IT MANY TIMES ALREADY, THESE TOP LEADER POSITIONS WITH MILLION DOLLARS SALARIES SUCH AS MM (FOR LKY – DIED),
      ESM (FOR GCT), ADDITIONAL DPM (CURRENTLY 2 DPM IN SG) AND PRESIDENT ARE ALL “ABSOLUTELY REDUNDANT”. ELIMINATE THEM CAN SAVE FEW MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ANNUALLY TO HELP THOSE TRULY POOR AND NEEDY PPL.

      SG PRESIDENT SIGNS “EXECUTION ORDERS” TO SEND INMATES TO BE HANGED TO DEATH. UNLIKE PRESIDENTS OF OTHER COUNTRIES LIKE USA, WHO SIGN “EXECUTIVE ORDERS” TO EFFECT POLICIES TO BENEFIT THEIR PEOPLE, THEIR ECONOMY AND THEIR COUNTRIES.

      ALL OTHER COUNTRIES ONLY HV ONE DPM (ONE VP) BUT SG HAS TWO DPM. BUT IN THE PAST, WHEN BOTH LKY AND GCT WERE PM, EACH ALSO HAD ONLY ONE DPM.

      ALL OTHER COUNTRIES EVEN NO. 1 WORLD ECONOMY LIKE USA ONLY HV ONE PRESIDENT AND ONE VP EQUIVALENT TO ONE PM AND ONE DPM.

      BUT SG, AS COMPARED USA, WHERE DO SG ECONOMY STANDS? AND YET SG HAS SO MANY TOP LEVEL LEADERS TO HELM ONE TINY DOT COUNTRY WITH SMALL ECONOMY AND SMALL POPULATION. RIDICULOUS!!

      I TRULY QUESTIONED LKY WHICH PARLIAMENTARY STRUCTURE IN THE WORLD IS THE SAME AS SINGAPORE?

      I TOLD LKY THAT BY CREATING THOSE EXTRA POSITIONS WAS ALREADY SENDING SIGNALS TO THE WORLD THAT PAP UNDER LHL’S LEADERSHIP IS
      NO LONGER A CREDIBLE PARTY AT ALL.

    • REPEAT INFO
      ===========
      CHEE SJ EXPOSED GIC’S WRONGFUL INVESTMENT IN A COMPANY RELATED TO A DRUGLORD IN MYANMAR.

      THEN FORMER GIC CEO, YUNG PUNG HOWE (LKY’S GOOD FRIEND), RESIGNED AND BECAME CHIEF JUSTICE. AND EVERSINCE, MANDATORY DEATH SENTENCE FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING WAS IMPLEMENTED.

      LKY THEN TOOK THE OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE THE POST OF PRESIDENT ON THE PRETEXT THAT SG PRESIDENT IS TO GUARD AND HOLD 2ND KEY TO SG RESERVES.

      THIS WAS JUST AN EXCUSE ONLY. REMEMBER WHEN ONG TENG CHEONG WAS THE PRESIDENT, HE ASKED THE SG GOVT (GCT WAS THEN PM) FOR THE LIST OF SG RESERVES SO THAT HE WOULD KNOW WHAT TO DO. BUT HE WAS SNUBBED BY GCT AND GOVT.

      IN ACTUAL FACT, THE MAIN ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT IS TO BE THE GOVT’S CRONY PRESIDENT AS WELL AS TO SIGN EXECUTION ORDERS. TO SEND INMATES TO BE HANGED TO DEATH (VS EXECUTIVE ORDERS SIGNED BY OTHER COUNTRIES’ PRESIDENTS WAS ENTIRELY PERFORMING A DIFFERENT ROLE, AS DESCRIBED EARLIER).

      THEN, ON THE OTHER HAND, LKY AND HIS CRONY AUTHORITY (YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN) THEN CONSISTENTLY ATTACKED AND FOUND FAULTS WITH CHEE SJ AND HIS PARTY MEMBERS (“FIXED OPPO”).

      CHEE TRULY PAID A HEAVY PRICE, WENT TO JAIL AND FINE WITH CHARGES EVEN TILL BANKRUPTCY AND FORCED TO BE BARRED FROM. CONTESTING IN ELECTIONS.

      UNTIL I FOUND IT’S TOO MUCH AND WAS TOO UNFAIR TO BE TREATED BY THE ROTTON GOVT. I THEN DECIDED TO SPEAK UP AND REASONED OUT WITH LKY.

      I TOLD LKY THAT BY RIGHT ROTTON PAP GOVT SHOULD BE GRATEFUL TO CHEE SJ, IF NOT DUE TO GIC’S IGNORANCE AND THEIR WRONGFUL INVT WOULD HAD CAUSED THE DRUGLORD TO MAKE USE OF THE HUGE INVT AMOUNT TO MANUFACTURE MOUNTAINS AND MOUNTAINS OF DRUGS TO HARM ALOT ALOT OF PPL EVERYWHERE INSTEAD.

      AFTER WHICH, I NOTICED LKY IMMEDIATELY STOPPED ATTACKING CHEE SJ AND HIS PARTY MEMBERS.

      HOWEVER, THE CURRENT CRONY MINISTERS LIKE CHAN CS STARTED THE BALL ROLLING TO CHARACTER ASSASSINATE CHED SJ DURING GE2015 AND BT BATOK BY ELECTION. THEN, OTHER CRONY MINISTERS LIKE DENNIS PHUA, LAWRENCE WONG, SIM ANN, GRACE FU, VIVIAN BALKRISNAN JOINED IN TO ATTACK HIM.

      YOU SEE, ROTTON GOVT AGENCY OR ROTTON GOVT THEMSELVES MADE MISTAKES AND THEY WOULD MAKE OTHERS PAY FOR THE PRICE OF IT IN TERMS OF LIVES AND IN MONETARY TERMS. SO DESPICAPLE!!

      I TRULY FEEL SG SHOULD APPRECIATE CHEE SJ’S KINDNESS AND HIS EFFORTS AND HARDWORK BY GIVING HIM A CHANCE TO BE ELECTED INTO PARLIAMENT TO SPEAK UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE CITIZENS. AT LEAST I COULD SEE HIS SINCERITY AND BRAVERY.

  6. Of course they should bring up GST at elections. If cost of living goes up but salary doesn’t, why would citizens vote for the ones who want us to pay more and take home less? We are a pragmatic bunch of voters. If cost of living isn’t a problem we won’t be a problem.

  7. Healthcare has increased so much is the policy that the government made. There are plenty of abuse from the healthcare centres. They are overcharging us. Because public hospitals and healthcare centres are making money too and they are all profits making companies, they have to increase their profits. Many instances, we are doing many unnecessary check ups . The problem of increase cost of Healthcare will not be resolved by increasing GST because the healthcare system we are having is not efficient.

  8. The debate was the highlights of the Budget vote. The WP tried to garner distractions, but it was rebutted with Latin on suppreessio veri, suggestio falsi (suppression of the truth is equivalent to the suggestion of what is false), an innuendo on AHPETC.

  9. What an arrogant man. Seriously talking about GST is a distraction?! Taxes aren’t neutral but political.
    O as for how to pay for govt spending? Simple liquidate Temask, prohibit part time parliamentarians and radically cut cabinet dalaries to 250 000 for pm 100 00 for the minisiter. MPs 16 000/mth

  10. ….
    Never pick a fight with your trading partners unnecessarily.
    This is a golden mantra and plain common sense.
    While the dishonorable son nurses his bruised ego, it is the average sinkies dafts who will suffer.

  11. The GST issue is raised now because PAP does not want it to be an election topic.
    Oppositions should put this and the filthily high salaries of public servants as one of the election issues and referendums

  12. The very reason papies dare not announce the gst hikes in the next election (but choose to announce it now), is the very reason WP must bring up the issue of gst in the next election. This gst gikes affects the middle income the most – they can be certain to expect to pay an additional $500 to $1000 or more a year from their pocket for the same daily items they spend on. Multiply this by a working population of 5M and you can imagine how much of our money goes to our garmen. And we have not added in the other fees and charges that have already been increased

  13. Minister, so you think GST is not a long term issue to Singaporeans? You think the short term GST rebate will lighten the long term burden of ever increasing cost of living? You and cronies will distract Singaporeans by avoiding this topic during the next GE and hence you announced the future increase now? Do you foresee you would run into budget deficit for the next few years before the increase in GST and no increase if again huge budget surpluses are recorded? You just don’t have a compelling reason for such increase!

  14. Looks like HSK and his Party felt threatening by WP LTK and his team together with all the oppositions Party will talk about GST as the main topic in the coming election. Look, please do not estimate the intelligence of us the 30%. Maybe you can to the 70%.
    I sincerely hope and pray that the 70% will truly wake up their bloody idea and vote against all the White Termites out this coming election.
    Majulah Singapura and bring back the Old Singapore back to it’s true blue Singaporean.