SINGAPORE — Although Potong Pasir SMC has been popularly associated with opposition figure and former member of parliament Chiam See Tong in the past, it has been held by the People’s Action Party’s Sitoh Yih Pin since he won the constituency in the 2011 Singapore General Election. Attempts by the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) to wrestle it back in subsequent elections proved futile as Sitoh successfully defended his seat in 2015 and 2020 against Lina Chiam and Jose Raymond, respectively.
But to regain the trust of the residents in the next general elections, SPP will need to intensify their engagement efforts. This is crucial since another opposition party, Peoples Voice (PV), has been actively working on the ground recently. PV, led by their leader Lim Tean, dedicated time over the weekend to connect with several long-time residents in the area.
“One lady resident who has lived in Potong Pasir for 40 years was so infuriated when we informed her that her MP was a big proponent of the GST hike that she said she was going to see him at the Meet-the-People session to give him an earful!” posted Lim on his Facebook after they visited Potong Pasir SMC.
Lim added that the resident expressed her approval of PV’s idea of eliminating GST on essential items, like food, medical supplies, and books, which could significantly lower the cost of living. The PV’s leader also shared that many residents are currently facing financial difficulties due to the high cost of living, which are expected to persist for the foreseeable future despite the government’s claims of a strong economy.
“We told them that high inflation is likely to persist for the foreseeable future and will certainly not go away in the next one – two years. It is likely to remain with us for the better part if not the rest of this decade and beyond. We will not be like the PAP spinning fairy tales and telling Singaporeans how wonderful the economy is doing when all around them. Singaporeans can see their friends and family members struggling with the excruciating cost of living and many getting retrenched,” said Lim.
Lim Tean also mentioned that, during these challenging times, it is the government’s responsibility to manage the cost increases and, if necessary, to take strong actions to eradicate predatory commercial practices, which only exacerbate the citizens’ suffering.
Earlier this year, the GST was raised from 7% to 8%, and it is set to further increase to 9% starting from January 1, 2024. The Ministry of Finance stated that the GST increase aims to support public spendings that benefit Singaporeans, such as providing better healthcare, education, and security.
To mitigate the impact of the GST increase, the government will be absorbing GST for publicly subsidised healthcare and education and has also introduced the GST voucher scheme to assist lower and middle-income Singaporeans in offsetting their expenses.