Singapore – “We continued our long and hard fight against Covid-19 in 2021,” said Mr Lee in a New Year’s message. He added that “2022 will be a time of transition.”
In a Facebook post on Dec 31, 2021, Mr Lee said that the country stood together, supported difficult situations, made many sacrifices and came through safely.
While the Covid-19 Omicron variant brings new uncertainties, we are in a stronger position than before, and can be confident that we will cope with whatever lies ahead, said Mr Lee.
He noted that 2022 would be a time of transition. Beyond managing the virus, “we will continue to generate new growth and prosperity for a post-pandemic economy.”
“We must maintain unity, resilience, and willingness to accept difficult measures in order to overcome longer-term challenges and keep progressing together,” he added.
Responding to his post, members from the online community raised issues that they hoped the government would look into.
“Sir, please look into the issues of electricity and transportation increase, where most people wages are still the same or lesser due to the pandemic,” wrote a netizen.
Another Facebook user said people “were struggling. The average Singaporean is struggling. Our salaries need to increase too.”
Many also touched on the topic of increasing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which Mr Lee highlighted in his message.
“GST hike? Economy recovery doesn’t mean all citizens recovering from the Covid-hit situation,” a netizen highlighted.
Mr Lee said that there was a need to implement the GST hike to generate resources.
“The government must have reliable and adequate revenues to carry out its social programmes,” he explained.
The additional revenues would be used to fund the expansion of the healthcare systems and support schemes for older Singaporeans.
“This is the rationale for raising a broad-based tax like the GST, coupled with a comprehensive scheme of offsets to cushion the impact on lower-income households,” said Mr Lee.
When implemented, the GST would be raised from 7 per cent to 9 per cent. More details will be unveiled by Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Feb 18, 2022, during his Budget 2022 speech./TISG
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