Ruling party fanpage ‘Fabrications about the PAP’ has launched yet another “fake news” attack against Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament, Pritam Singh.
This time, the administrators of the Facebook page have misrepresented Singh’s remarks on the impending GST hike in Parliament and claimed, “The Workers’ Party argues no need for GST hike, just need to collect the taxes from traditional tax evaders who under-declared their income like Self employed, Taxi Drivers & Hawkers.”
Singh, who serves as assistant secretary-general of the WP, had said that his party does not support the impending GST hike during the budget debate in parliament yesterday. Announcing the WP’s position that the government should consider alternative approaches instead of raising taxes, he added: “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 said: “There was an inconsistency in the treatment of some additional taxes that will no doubt add to the Government’s coffers before that. For example, the Government was able to confirm that the imposition of the carbon tax would bring an additional $1b a year of revenue after implementation. However, no estimates were provided on the likely additional revenue that would be be added to the Government’s income with the inclusion of GST on imported services.”
Asserting that there is a “lack of clarity” on whether it is necessary to hike GST, he 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.
He also said that the government’s smart initiatives will make tax collection more efficient. Interestingly, this was the comment that the PAP fanpage misrepresented. Singh had said:
“The journey to become a smart nation – another plank of this year’s budget – is likely to make Singapore more efficient in tax collection. There is also the question on the move to become a cashless society and the impact this will have on sectors which have traditionally been thought to under-declare their income such as the self-employed, hawkers and taxi drivers. This prospect will become less probable with the advent of more electronic transactions and in turn, is likely to have a positive impact on tax revenues.”
Singh, who is a member of the government’s Select Committee on “fake news”, promptly debunked the PAP fanpage’s allegations in a Facebook post. He said:
“Fake News Alert!
There have been a few inaccurate posts from our kawans at Fabrications About The PAP, FLOP amongst others, about some remarks I allegedly said about taxi-drivers. Such posts even have me quoted – “????“!
“This is one aspect of the fake news landscape. It is not the first, nor will it be the last time such fake news will be circulated to malign the reputation of the Workers’ Party. This is what I actually said:
“”26. In addition, the journey to become a smart nation – another plank of this year’s budget – is likely to make Singapore more efficient in tax collection. There is also the question on the move to become a cashless society and the impact this will have on sectors which have traditionally been thought to under-declare their income such as the self-employed, hawkers and taxi drivers. This prospect will become less probable with the advent of more electronic transactions and in turn, is likely to have a positive impact on tax revenues. Furthermore, with borrowing backed by a Government guarantees proposed for large infrastructure projects, more spending for such projects can potentially be allocated elsewhere for recurrent spending.”
“The context of my remarks were in relation to the WP’s stand not to support the proposed GST hike at this moment in time because of the lack of clarity surrounding projected expenditure when the Government raises GST in future, the relative lack of information on whether there is scope for the reserves to better support Singaporeans and the absence of any information on the Government’s GST offset package for the low and middle income.
“For those who are interested, the window to submit feedback to the Select Committee on Fake News is still open!”
This, however, did not appease the administrators of Fabrications about the PAP who posted a slew of response posts and even attacked Singh’s comments that the government could consider tapping on revenues from land sales to manage rising expenditure instead of hiking GST.
The fanpage mocked: “The Workers’ Party suggest we sell our house to fund our increased expenses. Given a choice, WP would sell Aljunied GRC’s asset to fund the deficit in AHTC?”
The Workers' Party Pritam Singh was very quick to respond to my post on him calling Taxi Drivers, Hawkers & Self…
Singh has yet to respond to these latest posts.
This is not the first time that the PAP fanpage has attacked Singh online. Late last year, the page published a post prominently featuring Singh’s image and alleged that a roller shutter in the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council had been damaged and had not been fixed for at “least a year.”
Singh promptly debunked the “inaccurate” information, to which the administrator of the page wrote: “Aljunied GRC, The Workers’ Party, Pritam Singh I brought the matter to your attention so you can resolve it so your resident do not feel short changed. Instead of thanking me, you decided to attack me and in doing so, implicitly attacked your resident of lying.”