[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

[Higher GST]
1. Many Singaporeans are unhappy with PM's announcement of an increase in GST to 7%. This will increase the cost of living and affect everyone. Why is the Government doing this? Almost immediately, I received negative feedback. I'm sure many MPs will be raising this subject in Parliament.

2. The reason for increasing taxes is to allow the Government to do more for poorer Singaporeans in the coming years. There is a significant segment of our population which will need help. Many of them are older Singaporeans who did not have high education. With globalisation, their wages are being kept down by competition from countries like China, Vietnam and India. With the rapid ageing of our population, the problem will become much worse in the future.

3. Our society will become divided if the majority continues to make good progress while a sizeable minority is unable to. The increase in GST will help us reduce the severity of widening income levels. It is the least harmful way to do so. Protecting jobs creates new problems because investors might pull out and go elsewhere. Increasing direct taxes will have the same effect. The most important thing is to keep our economy growing. With growth, we can always find the resources to help those who are less well-off. If growth slows, the problems will become much worse which is the case in many countries around us.

4. Implementing this shift in our policy involves a lot of details which will be discussed in the coming months. The GST increase is only one part of it. PM's speech yesterday covered many areas. If we are able to make this shift in a way which strengthens both our economy and our social unity, we will be in a much better position to face the challenges ahead of us. Asia is on the move, China, India, Vietnam and other countries are making rapid strides. Singapore is actually very well-placed to benefit from their growth. We must make sure that all Singaporeans benefit, and not just the majority.


Blogger Soulgroove said...

Dear Sir,

I quote you: "The reason for increasing taxes is to allow the Government to do more for poorer Singaporeans in the coming years."

First question from me: Does this mean that WITHOUT the GST increase, the government IS NOT able to do more for poorer Singaporeans in the coming years? In other words, I'm implying that this government, is incapable of helping the poor with the tax revenues that it is as of now and it has to raise taxes to have more revenues to help the poor. Am I correct to say this?

I quote again: "Our society will become divided if the majority continues to make good progress while a sizeable minority is unable to. The increase in GST will help us reduce the severity of widening income levels."

In my opinion, this raise in GST will affect EVERYONE, regardless of whether they are rich or poor. How the "offset package" will help the poor remains to be seen.

My concern actually is the middle class - those not too poor to receive this "offset package" but hardest hit due to rising prices across the board. An example are taxi drivers and low-end manufacturing workers. They earn enough not be considered "low income" yet they will be most affected by this increase as a percentage of their income. Will you please address this particular concern of mine about this particular group?

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 8:43:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

helping the poor is just an excuse. the excuse for increasing the gst! is the gahment so naive to think that the people won't see this slate of the hands?

you as a minister, would you believe your boss' sincerity in helping the poor?

is this the case what the gahment gives the people a rumstick and takes back from them a whole chicken?

very much so.

pls, if you really need to increase gst, to lower income tax, then say so. why hide it under the cloak of helping the poor. the poor are already poor in materials, don't make use of them to make them poorer in their souls - they need help, no doubt. just help them. stop harping on it and make others the scape goats.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 11:23:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish there is a re-election. Will be interesting to see if the current gahmen get the mandate from people.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 12:49:00 am

Blogger black feline said...

Like the rest...I don't buy your argument at all...u and the rest of your team are out of touch...completely.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 1:34:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

since indirect tax like GST are regressive in nature, it will burden the lower income earners more than the higher income earners. Does it help?

I cannot accept your explanation on increasing GST to help the poor. In actual fact it equating to robbing the poor to help the poor, a rather absurd and pathetic explanation.

the general sentiment is the govt is just trying to use this as an excuse to increase their own revenue or to cover up their losses in Temasek.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 1:35:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Multi-Millionaire Minister,

After reading what you wrote, I can't help but wonder what had happened to all the education that the people's money have invested in you over so many years?

Your "to do more for poorer Singaporeans in the coming years" are mere words but in real terms it would actually DO MORE DAMAGE to the poorer Singaporeans.

Can't you feel how the poor feels, dear Multi-Millionaire Minister?

I don't think you can because you have been flying here and there up 30,000 feet too frequently and your feet very seldom touch the ground.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 1:48:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Minister. I am a non-elite multi-millioinair citizen of Singapore. I used to admire and support PAP. That is until after May 2006. I have come to realised that I have be blind all these while after carefully study the trends over all these years. And now adding the GST saga by our PM after all the other price increases, I am sad to say that this is no longer the country I and my descendant would want to live in.

Call me quitter if you want, but I rather live the rest of my live as quitter and get taxed higher in other country than to listen and get disgusted by the rob-poor-give-poor GST analogy while speaking of loving caring society in the manifesto (the new-5C).

It is indeed a sad day in the history of this country.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 2:40:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same as many readers here, I express my regrets over this GST hike.

You earned millions of dollars per month, of course you won't feel any pain but that is not the same case for us, the lower income groups.

We have to dive through so much expenses that are still rising today. Previously, the increase amount in the public transport expenses had shot us directly, yet we endure it painfully. Now, another decision of government which mercilessly raised the GST from 5% to 7% instead of 6% which is more reasonable. This 7% will add even more fuels to the fire, you know what I mean.

Your reason is to help the poors but is that so? Can your offset package benefit to each and every single poor people in Singapore? At best, I assume that the theory of "rob the poor and help the poor", will back to square one for the poors. However, the middle class group, who earned enough to "escape" the offset package but not high enough to meet their daily expenses, feel the most pain. This is not the issue of helping the poors or the elderly people or prepare Singapore for so called "long term challenges of globalisation" but is a matter of more burdens for the majority of Singaporeans.

It is good to plan for long terms but if so many Singaporeans who can't meet their short term expenses, let alone of long terms which many of them will eventually collaspe.

I hope the government will reconsider the decision to increase the GST.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 12:04:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, we all get to see who is the real "wayang" party.

You judged, criticized, condemned and put people down during your election campaign...now it's your turn to be judged, criticized, condemned and put down.

White = Pure & of integrity?

Thursday, November 16, 2006 3:37:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

got so much money to lend to Indonesia, got nothing to help your poor and needy fellow-citizens???

please dun give us all this crap.. not all of us are stupid like u'd like it.

earning tonnes from lowly peasant citizens just by charging out-of-this-world prices for the public housing.
how much is the cost of construction and building again??
Care to share with everyone please?

dun forget the tens of thousands for a piece of paper sucked from every car owner... and our fav ERP system!!

if you are so noble, why dun you just fetch a normal salary like your peasant citizens and donate the rest to the poor?

let me say this loud:


until now, u guys still haven't wake up!

i'll pack my bags and move to a country with more humanity as soon as i can afford it..

Thursday, November 16, 2006 5:18:00 pm

Anonymous Wai Mun said...

I can understand the anxiety expressed behind this recent GST Hike, as this would mean increasing pressure on the financial situation of many citizens, especially those in the middle income goup who will bear the most of the burden. The shift from direct to indirect taxes is practised in many countries, and a 7% GST rate might be considered low in comparison with the rates of other countries. However, the government has to address this issue with caution, as it concerns the daily bread-and-butter issues of the average citizen and I hope that a clearer explanation can be given to benefit the public in obtaining better understanding of this new policy. Thank you.

Saturday, November 18, 2006 4:30:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Q: How does the Singapore government solve the country's problems?

A: By making the citizens pay and pay. How clever.

Sunday, November 19, 2006 9:41:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel it is too early for everyone to pass the judgement. Why don't you all wait for the package to be announced and debated during the Parliament session? It will never be too late to show your discomfort over the GST hike.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 11:19:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

gahment said, halt fees by one year - wow, very generous!

what it means is this - fees will uncrease and increase..... why?

because, this gahment said so. so by freesing increase is the gahment great heartedness to tell the peasants, you guys shld be thankful if we did not increase the fees for one year!

what logic is this?

who is the master and who is the servant.

looks very much the trend is there - to run a country is much easier than running a company- no enough money, increase tax - an age old 100% effective formula.... only when peasants got pressed so dry then wld they feel the pinh and really do something about it.
for now, there's another 6 years to iron out all the pains inflicted in the last 5 years.

since the economic is growing, so gahment revenue shld grow also, why must increase tax to get more money, to do wat? to help the poor???

you believe that?

Friday, December 01, 2006 11:21:00 am


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