The government is trying to hijack the GST hike debate


By Augustine Low

Create distraction and divert attention. Attack Sylvia Lim for speaking up and then demand an apology. Praise Low Thia Khiang for speaking up like a PAP MP.

Then Ministers take turns with their talking points which will be repeated ad nauseam, turning a deaf ear to the key issues at hand and the key points raised. It’s how the government intends to stick to its narrative and hijack the GST hike debate.

The government’s talking points were very much summed up by PM Lee Hsien Loong over the weekend: it has decided against tapping its reserves as they are Singapore’s “precious nest egg.” Once the reserves are depleted, there will be no money left “when the rain comes.”

But nobody is asking the government to use the reserves willy-nilly till depletion. That would be reckless and foolhardy. Are Singaporeans so thoughtless and self-centred?

What are the key issues the government has sidestepped? They were raised in a brilliant Budget Speech by Nominated Member of Parliament Kuik Shiao-yin.

Let’s recap three of the most cogent points from her speech which the government has not addressed and instead has resorted to distractions and diversions.

Kuik pointed out that the International Monetary Fund has said that Singapore is being “excessively prudent” in amassing so much reserves.  A country with Singapore’s GDP could make do with $113 billion in reserves, enough for rainy days and to ward off currency attacks.  But latest figures show Singapore is holding $369 billion in reserves, more than three times of that recommended by IMF. (There are those who estimate the reserves to be about $1 trillion!). Is the IMF therefore wrong with its assessment? Why does Singapore feel the need to go against IMF guidelines?

Kuik also asked a most reasonable question that the government has chosen to ignore: if $369 billion is still not enough, HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH THEN? “Otherwise it can seem like this story is just about growth of reserves for growth’s sake,” she said.

Unless the government comes up with a figure, we could be talking till the cows come home and we would still be hearing the refrain that the reserves are not to be tapped into for fear of depletion.

Another key point raised raised by Kuik: should the government spend more to help the people around today or store more to help the people of tomorrow?

The way the government is going about it, they would rather keep the money to help the unborn, to help future generations, than to help those alive today, many of whom could be suffering and in dire need of more support and assistance.

Where does such warped logic come from? Help future generations but keep the money single-mindedly and purposefully away from today’s generation?

Unless we have an open and honest debate, it would be a fruitless exercise. The die is cast and it’s the government way or the highway.


  1. Come nearer the election the lying PAP will declare No GST increase. Then draw on the reserves and buy votes. They need a lot for this. That is for their rainy day.

    This is the trick PAP will use and stupid 70% will fall into their trap.
    They know their dsys are numbered with idiotic 4G leaders like chan chun sing, heng swee kiat, scamugam, disgrace F U and chow chee.
    No hope for sinkapore.

  2. This government infuriates me to no end. On the one hand they will not answer questions that are legitimate concerns of citizens. On the other, they threaten, intimidate you when you venture to postulate when answers are not forthcoming!

    This government has grown so arrogant they think they own this country and citizens are just economic digits to be exploited from cradle to grave to satisfy their self-serving political ambitions! Time really for Singaporeans wake up and vote these insolent, arrogant useless (expletive) politicians out of office! (More expletives)

  3. The problem is that if the government of tomorrow has the same mindset of hoarding reserves as the government of today, the people of tomorrow will suffer the same fate as the people of today.

    The people will continue to get crushed by the heavy weight of the reserves rather than be elevated by the reserves’ unrealised potential for buoyancy.

  4. Senior singles in Singapore are unable to downgrade to studio apartment because they changed the name to 2 room flexi-flat with lease till the singles hit 95 years old and they tax $50,000 from the singles when they sell the flat, on top of this cult taxes, our current government lock up the CPF with minimum sum not allowed to pay for the studio flat!
    Our parliament house leader should visit the hospital “A&E” clinics to ask the doctors on duty whether they will attend to the patients now or tell them to wait for tomorrow !
    Will all the ministers answer me which hungry person will save money for tomorrow when today they are already so hungry !
    Our government is robbing our poor senior citizens of the retirement funds and thus oppressing them to live on unhealthy canned food leading to the disease of cancer
    Will our ministers eat canned food and save money for their next generation?

    • You hit the nail on its head !!! This callous white termite gang members is so obscene wealthy that presumably all of them does not even need to touch a single cents of their CPF money!!! thus this nest of termite have no qualms of churning locking deice

  5. What future are they talking about?

    If they can’t even ensure the livelihood of the people from this generation, what is there to help for the people from the next generation?

    If the people of today are too busy fighting for their own daily survival, who will want to have children when the future looks bleak?

    They can’t even handle simple task like keeping the MRT working, solving the flood problems and ensuring fair hiring process for jobseekers, so what makes them think they are able to foresee what’s going to happen in the future!?

  6. While it is fool-hardy to spend money willy-nilly, the Singapore government is not in danger of running out of money in the foreseeable future. The GST-hike’s only purpose appears to be to “grow their nest-egg” at the expense of the common Singaporean’s personal nest-eggs. They claim that they need the money to finance increased spending. But I am not convinced the Singapore government’s spending results in a net money-out of their coffers. For example, when they build the MRT, do the government not reap the benefits of the returns from the customers using the MRT? Surely the MRT has paid for itself and more since the government built it? If the government did not charge customers to ride the MRT, then I would say “fair enough”, but they do, and they have been increasing the fares.

    How about the 5th terminal, are we expected to believe that the building of this airport is a red-mark on the government’s credit sheet that needs to be financed by increased taxes? I don’t think so. I believe the government is fully expecting to recoup their spending with interest when the terminal becomes active, and I believe they will accomplish this. The same goes for hospitals and health care.

    Therefore, we should expect the Singapore government’s future spending to pay for itself once the investments start to return money. Their argument that they need to raise taxes to finance future spending seems to be an excuse. They just want to increase their reserve as fast as possible (eg: increasing taxes, increasing public transport costs, increasing health care costs, more ERP gantries, increasing causeway fees….) For what? Who can say?

  7. Wow..

    If they cannot even help the people today , what makes you think , they can help in tomorrow???

    Do you want them to be in charge of your life !!!

    No one know what tomorrow brings but they really talk too much , think too much and do too little to help the current Aging population, current problems face with sky rocketing of bread , butter issues , raising medical costs , housing costs , taxes , bills etc

    We can talk until the cow comes home , people here are not stupid and how much more increases you want after 9% GST ???

    Many people here already feel the heat , yet you can’t even solve our daily bread n butter issues and want to talk about preparing for the future !!!

    I take my rest…

  8. First thing the PAP should look at is how to not waste any public money on stupid projects (like Grace Foo ministry wasted 880K on rubbish collection point, Buying over broken mrt system for a premium, Vivian Balakrishnan over spending 3 times or hundreds of millions from the budgeted amount for YOG which do not know how that benefited Singapore Economy). After that PAP should look at reducing cost at all ministries before looking at increasing taxes. The whole world is reducing taxes (even Donald Trump is cutting taxes for his citizens).
    If this was in a commercial world the CEO would be given the boot. Before asking more money from investors the CEO should trim all wastage and cost and also plot a direction for growth.

  9. How much is our reserves to date? Year by year what is the growth rate? Have we optimise our reserves growth rate? I wonder how many ministers know the answers.
    Have we listen to the needs of the people when we increase water, transport and gas? Have the ministry look at viable options and cut down excessive expenditure. Is the solution always to increase prices and taxes?

  10. It is long overdue that the gov. have a relook into the reserve issue , I may not be as articulate in presenting the discussion on having a extremely large reserve ; But wish to ask this one simple question and that is, what good is it that the present gen. toil in their active working life to built up the reserve to find themselves in hardship during retirement of their remaining life ?
    To ordinary common tax payers , with the high cost of living in Sg., having to take care and sustaining a family and having a roof over the head do not really leave much opportunity to plan for retirement , in short this are the people that live from hand to mouth .
    Is it then too much to ask of the gov. to help in keeping the cost of living low to afford the bigger mass of populace to be able to have the little extras to prepare themselves for a sustainable retirement ?
    Presumably the 20% rich and elite populace do not need the help of the gov. to plan for retirement , they are smart and resourceful ! It is the 80% of the general populace that is much affected by the high cost of living , this are the “rich poors, mid-poors and poors” that would be much helped if cost of living is kept to its minimum low and taxes is one factor presumably to a layman the major driver that lead to high cost of living……..;-((

  11. It’s just common sense or cow sense. ..if we cannot survive today…can we think about tomorrow. .let alone the next day. If the citizens of today do not have enough to survive for this generation. ..the government should try to ease their pain. Do not tax them further or squeeze them to the very last drop. Don’t force the dog to jump over the wall…that dog will bite back. Please take good care of the dog…will tender loving care. The he will be loyal and faithful to you. If you neglect his welfare he may might immigrate. ..worst still he stay put and join ally with the opposite party to fight against his former owner. Hope you are listening.

  12. Good point. Firstly, they have stored enough. Where is it? Could have been used for T5. If not, it has leaked and the system reviewed.
    Otherwise, no more increase as it might leak further.
    If we already enough for tomorrow, we can do more for the present.
    The root problem- there is a leak

  13. I was in the generation LKY was talking about when he started hoarding the National Reserves in the 70s to help the future. Did he did spend anything for significant to ‘help’. In fact the more Reserves he accumulate the lesser the gov social expenditure. So don’t listen about the PAP bullshit about building the Reserve for the future generation.

    2 percent Hike
    7 to 9 Percent
    2021 to 2025
    $3.50 Chicken Rice
    Will be
    Claimed by
    Anti PAP???

    Yitleng Low
    Sean Xavier
    Philip Vincent Wee
    Sioe Hong Wong
    Rodney Tan
    Boon Wee Kuah
    Eugene Thuraisingam
    Chua Mui Hoong
    Alan Teo

    Are my Figs

  15. Well till todate our fellow Singaporean must realise that the Govt. is not just Hijacking this debate but to divert and justified the REAL facts that our New Leader are NOT sure how to generate income to sustain NOT the Country Singapore BUT to FEED the Huge machinery which consist of:

    1. President/PM/Top Minister Pay Package
    2. Ministers & MP of the PAP Pay Check
    3. The TOP Civil Servants
    4. The Civil Services people
    5. The Huge Projects which for their Benefits or shall I call it “Diverting of Funds/Money” to these ppl pocket
    6. Funds require to maintain Current Past Projects/Maintenance of such project.
    BUT the main Purpose of the GST increase was NEVER the Low Income nor Middle Income class but their New Pay Revision to the PAP Ministers/MPs as well as Senior MPs.

    OR ELSE they (PAP) will then shift their NEXT excuses “We cannot get Good People/Citizen to serve as MP/Minister because of Low pay comparing with the Standard of Living today and the so called “Complexity of our Economy” TRUST me the VICIOUS Cycle of the Excuses from the PAP never CHANGE but the Stupity of Singaporean is the Undermining FACTOR.

    To make matter WORST if they are more Well-Educated then our Fore-Father from pre-wars to the 1970’s/80’s Generation which is much lowly Educated…….Damn STUPID at time I see my Fellow Singaporean with no GUTS but just Empty Vassel make the Most NOISE