SINGAPORE — During a recent community engagement by the opposition party, Peoples’ Voice at the Jalan Besar GRC, a number of residents expressed their grievances about the current economic climate. Led by party leader Lim Tean, their conversations centred around their concerns at the high cost of living and the planned increase in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to 9% in Jan 2024.
This will be a second consecutive one-percentage point increase following a similar move by the government earlier this year. While some may be affected by the GST increase from 7% to 8% in January 2023, the government have also announced a slew of measures to cushion the hike, which includes cash payouts, additional U-Save rebates, MediSave top-ups, and CDC Vouchers Scheme among other assistance available under the $6 billion Assurance Package.
Posting on Facebook after their house visit to the constituency, the Peoples’ Voice mentioned that the residents explained their monthly expenditure had gone up compared to before the GST was raised.
“Previously $600 is sufficient to feed the whole family of four comfortably but now, at least $1,000 is needed. They said that our cost of living has been exacerbated by the increase in GST this year. Next year, they shudder to even guess how much it will increase, but definitely not by only 1%!”
To offset the additional GST expenses for lower-income households, the government announced the Assurance Package cash payout. It will be disbursed over five years to Singaporeans aged 21 and above, with the amount being between $700 to $1,600, depending on income and property ownership. The first payout was made on Dec last year, and the next payout is scheduled for Dec this year.
Among other dissatisfactions on the grounds that Lim and his party members heard are the record high Certificate of Entitlement (COE) for the Category B and Open Category during the first bidding exercise in September.
“Most of residents were also complaining of the horrible high cost of living, for example they were very unhappy with the record high COE for the last bidding. This high COE cascades down to all of us as cost of goods and services are raised,” added PV.
PV alleged that this has also caused a dip in several private-hire-vehicle drivers earning, as they explained; “Some PHV drivers also feedback that their rental is going up because of the high COEs but their takings are lesser or have to drive longer hours because the fuel price has increased even though the price of crude oil is not at a record high.”
The results of the Sep first bidding exercise for the COE can be found below.
The Peoples’ Voice have been stepping up their house visits in recent weeks in anticipation of a General Election due by Nov 2025. During the previous election in 2020, PV contested in Jalan Besar GRC. Led by Lim and Leong Sze Hian, Michael Fang, and Nor Azlan, PV garnered 34.64% of the votes. The People’s Action Party, comprising Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information, Heng Chee How, Denise Phua and Wan Rizal, emerged victorious, securing 65.35% of the votes.
Send in your scoops to email@example.com