SINGAPORE — A Jan 2 post titled “True sentiment about GST increase” sparked a lively discussion on Reddit. Reddit user Historical-Ad3289 began the post by writing that “1% increase to 8% is actually not that much. In comparison, South Korea has a VAT of 10%, Australia 10%, Japan 10%, UK 20%. However, Historical-Ad3289 pointed out that this one per cent hike can have a snowball effect.

The real issue that people complain about is that 1% increase somehow causes the products paid by the end consumer to increase by 5%- 20%. Your chicken rice which cost $4.50 last year can cost $5 now. That’s more than a 10% increase rather than just 1%.”  The post owner added that they “feel the government could do a more active role in policing establishments that use the increase to hike up their prices as well as reassuring the people that any abuse of the increase will not be tolerated.”

Many Singaporeans have strong feelings not just about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike, which went from 7 to 8 per cent on Sunday (Jan 1) and will further increase by one percentage point next year, but also the effect of the hike on other items, such as rent.

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Commenters also did not hold back on their “true sentiment” either. One wrote about rental costs as the “real devil” and called it the “real killer.”

“Rental costs are not being talked about enough. That is the real devil. Of course these food establishments wont increase their price by 1% for every 1% increase as per the gst. Werent there articles posted here about how rental costs in malls were increasing by more than 30%. That is the real killer.”

A Reddit user agreed, writing, “If we are going to get mad at the government for increasing GST by 1%, we should be up in arms about landlords who increase rent by 30% with zero additional value to the economy.”

One added, “Our landlord has asked a 60% increase on our rent.”

A netizen chimed in, “Yes I agree. Do you know the rental costs for coffeeshops range from 4k -12k based on my primary sources? Excluding gas and electricity costs and of course the food ingredients.”

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  Another opined that the two-step increase might be worse in the end.

One complained that the bento purchased had “a 8% price increase instead of 1%.”

A number of Redditors wrote about the effect of the GST hike on coffee.

“Just noticed my go to Dessert shop at hawker center increased its prices by 50cents,” observed another.


Shopping spree: Singaporeans in a rush to beat GST hike on Jan 1