On Wednesday (Feb 12), the Singapore Democratic Party published a statement on why it remains adamant in its stand against the GST hike. The GST, which, according to the Ministry of Finance, is “a multi-stage tax on domestic consumption…which is collected at every stage of the production and distribution chain,” is currently at 7%.
In the statement published on its website, the SDP said that with the vulnerable state Singapore currently finds itself in amid the COVID-19 outbreak, “it would help Singaporeans if they did not have to pay more GST and other taxes which will crimp spending.” The SDP’s argument that a GST hike would not be in the best interest of both consumers and businesses, seemed to resonate with netizens, as quite a handful took to social media to rally behind its call.
According to straitstimes.com, back in 2018, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is currently also Deputy Prime Minister, said that the 7% GST would be brought up to 9% sometime between 2021 and 2025–depending on three main factors: 1) Singapore’s economic condition, 2) the rate of spending growth, and 3) tax buoyancy.
Though there were a mix of responses to SDP’s Facebook post disseminating the official statement on its website, many expressed their support for the opposition to the GST hike. While some suggested that the GST be reduced, others went so far as to say that the Government should completely do away with the GST tax.
Netizens who concurred with the SDP’s stand argued that with the crisis Singapore is now experiencing in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, now is not the time to raise the tax. One netizen by the name of Johnny Sim, even argued that in times like these, Singapore can use its reserves to address the problems that follow. “That’s what the reserves are for,” he said.
However, not everyone saw a need to oppose the GST hike.
The Finance Minister is scheduled to present GST support measures in his Budget statement next Tuesday (Feb 18).