Sylvia Lim will not apologise to House over GST hike comments

4249
 

The following is a media release by the Workers’Party.

I had written to Speaker on Monday evening, 5th March, to inform him that I wished to make a statement in the House concerning the exchanges I had with Ministers Heng Swee Keat and Shanmugam during the Budget Round-up on 1st March. The next morning, on Tuesday, 6th March, Speaker informed me that the Leader of the House also wished to make a statement on the matter. I was not informed of when she would do so. She subsequently made the statement that same morning at the start of the sitting, while I was on my way to Parliament. She has extended a copy of her statement to me by email.

Speaker Sir, after the debate on 1st March, I have had time to track back what led me to have the impression and suspicions I articulated during the exchanges with the Ministers. I would like to share these findings.

Netizens stand by Sylvia Lim and urge her not to apologise

Since 2013, the PM had said that our expected increases in spending would require more tax revenue. Finance Minister Heng had also made a similar statement in last year’s Budget, saying that the Government was studying how it would raise revenue through new taxes or raising tax rates. These statements were very general and did not specify any timeframe for the raising of taxes.

In November 2017, during the PAP Convention, PM Lee announced definitively that the Government would be raising taxes, as Governmnent spending on investments and social services grew. He further stated that Finance Minister Heng was right when he said raising taxes was not a matter of whether, but when. PM’s statement was made on 19 November 2017, with the Budget Statement for 2018 just three months away.

Naturally, these announcements concerning tax increases set off public discussion and speculation. Three days later, on 22 November 2017, the Ministry of Finance issued a statement that PM Lee’s announcement at the PAP Convention was “in line” with a much earlier statement by DPM Tharman when he was Finance Minister in 2015. DPM Tharman had then said that the revenue measures that the Government had already undertaken would provide sufficiently for increased spending planned until the end of the decade. In reporting the MOF statement, Channel News Asia commented as follows:

“The Ministry’s statement came after Mr Lee’s comments on the impending tax hike triggered public discussion that the Government is making a U-turn.”

MOF further stated that planning for the issue “now” would allow the Ministry to “better ease in the needed measures, and to give our people and businesses some time to adjust”.

The MOF statement did not definitively say that there would be no tax increase in this Budget. The fact is that raising taxes in the Budget and only announcing it in the Budget Statement was what the Government had done in the past.

Hence, the uncertainty over whether taxes, and in particular GST would be raised this Budget, continued even after the MOF statement. This was fueled further when MOF office-holders kept up the discussion on raising taxes in the immediate run-up to the Budget Statement, saying they were working on “when”. Prominent economists went on record to predict that the GST rate would be raised in 2018 or 2019. Such economists included those from UOB, Ernst & Young, and DBS.

What is notable is that nowhere in the discussions just before Budget 2018 did the Government publicly commit that it would not raise GST before 2021. This was only announced on 19th February during the Budget Statement.

As an Opposition MP, it is my duty to watch every move and signal from the government, for the future of Singapore and welfare of Singaporeans. Hence, I admit that I did suspect the Government intended to raise GST. However, the Government contributed to this suspicion by its non-denial of reports and economists’ predictions of an immediate GST rise. Based on the sequence of events, I believed the Government could have intended to raise the GST rate at this Budget.

Thus, during the heat of the exchanges at the Budget Round-up, I articulated my suspicion. In doing so, I believe I was doing my duty as an MP to convey ground concerns, reactions and confusion. I did not accuse the Government of being untruthful as alleged, and neither had I intended to accuse the Government of dishonesty. I do not accept the over-characterisation the PAP Ministers have put on my words and intentions, based on their own interpretation borne out of over-active imagination and over-sensitivity.

Since the Government has now strongly refuted that it had any intention to raise GST immediately, I can accept that my suspicion then may not have been correct.

109 COMMENTS

  1. Disgrace Fool must wake up and stop demanding in her dreams as we, the residents of Aljunied GRC have appointed our Lady Slyvia Lim and her honourable party to represent our voice in parliament!
    In any debates, nobody need to apologise whether they are suspected or been questioned, especially Slyvia Lim is representing the multitudes of residents in Aljunied GRC!
    Does disgrace fool demand the multitudes of Aljunied GRC residents to send her apology letters ?
    We can apologize on behalf of Slyvia Lim but Grace Foo has to reply to all the thousands of citizens in Aljunied GRC, to confirm reading our letters one by one!

  2. It’s my duty to ask questions in parliament and it’s your duty to answer my questions. You can prove wrong…but you all cannot ganged up to attack me personally. ..just attack my questions. Don’t have such kiasu mentality. ..to attack the individual and then ask her to apologise. What type of democratic parliament is this. All ganged up to attack a lady…ladies also attack a lady…worst still..asking her to apologise for asking the question. If we keep on harping on this type of kiasu parliamentary mentality. ..we won’t go far. To go far attack the questions. .prove it wrong…asking nd March on like a true gentleman. ..at the end of parliament sessions. .give Sylvia Lim a hand shake…and say well done. First class parliament for Singapore. ..yet to be.

  3. Praise god for WP Miss Sylvia Lim you have been put there to serve the people of Singapore and not to put fear in their life only the devil put fear in people life and destroy them but god come to give life so if they still don’t repent God will remove them and HELL is waiting for them WP will always have our support.

  4. Don’t be scared of the FU bitch and the rest of the bullies. Parliament is a place to ask questions and debate it. If the facts are untrue then debate it. No such thing as apologise and sue. Singapore’s Parliament is the worst ever. Idiots falling asleep. It’s like attending a funeral wake. Maybe there’s a wake in there. The WP paying their last respects to the clowns wrapped in white linen

  5. Wow…

    Big fish trying to eat small fish …

    My heart ❤️ goes to the small fish …

    That’s the real world and IF you look back the history !!!

    Still the same … wow …

    Follow the code of ethics:-

    ‘ It’s never wrong to do the right ‘

    My Hat goes to Miss Lim…

    Well done and admire your courage , determination and steadfast approach towards her intimidation …

    GOD bless you and keep you safe from all harms , seen and unseen…

    Amen…

  6. Ms.Salvia Lim has no obligation to those political thugs to accede to their distasteful demand for apology!!! The only obligation required of her as a legally elected representative of the people is to voice their concerns !!!!!
    Ms. Salvia Lim should waste no energy and time to be entangled with the political thugs’s nonsensical demand for apology!!!!
    To think of it and comparing them WTG intimidating and bullying Ms.Salvia Lim as against them pinning CSJ a gangster when he was loud during his verbal engagement with the tall man G; Dr.CSJ action pale against the thuggish behaviors of the gang of 4 directed at SL!!!

  7. We are a laughing stock in the “real free world”. Singapore parliament is a real joke. It’s a Parliament where MPs are elected but not allow to question or seek clarification from the government. The 70% of Singaporeans who elected this present government must bear the responsibility for creating this arrogant bunch of Ministers and PAP MPs who instead of representing their constituents interest, they represent and protect their own as well as PAP party interest.

  8. Disgraceful insulted all the people of Aljunied ! come next election , dare her to stand in Aljunied constituency !!!
    Residents of Aljunied constituency and people of the same persuasion should apply for a protest permit at speaker corner come this or next Saturday to show support for Ms.Salvia Lim !!!!
    Ms.Salvia Lim has done her part ! It is only appropriate that her residents and others social activist, opposition parties, Dr.TCB should come forth to lend her support in her fight fir democracy !!!