Photo of GST increase poster in 2011 from Google

Straits Times, DBS, TodayOnline and UOB. These are the government-owned companies behind the “test balloons” WP MP Sylvia Lim were talking about.

A search on pre-Budget state media reports revealed that there indeed were “test balloons” floated by the government to test ground reactions to a GST increase. There were not a few “test balloons” but at least 20 articles suggesting GST increase over 3 months before the actual announcement on Budget 2018. In this 3 months, the ruling party government was absolutely silent and did not address any of these reports.

Every single article below suggested that the government should raise the GST (click on each one if you wish):

19 Nov 2017 – Straits Times: “Singapore to raise taxes as govt spending increases”
20 Nov 2017 – Business Times: “GST hike announcement could be on the cards for Singapore Budget 2018: economists, tax specialists”
20 Nov 2017 – TodayOnline: “GST tax hike in S’pore ‘likely’ but not in near term, experts say”
21 Nov 2017 – ChannelNewsAsia: “Singapore set for tax hike: What could it be and when?”
21 Nov 2017 – Business Times: “GST hike looms as Singapore’s funding needs grow”
22 Nov 2017 – Business Times: “Impact of GST hike on prices will depend on size, timing”
26 Nov 2017 – Straits Times: “Taxes introduced over the years and how the public reacted”
28 Nov 2017 – Straits Times: “GST could go up 2 percentage points in Budget 2018: DBS economist”
30 Nov 2017 – Singapore Business Review: “Speculated GST hike could boost e-commerce tax”
1 Dec 2017 – TodayOnline: “Preparing for a GST increase”

9 Dec 2017 – TodayOnline: “GST could be raised to 9% in Budget 2018: DBS report”
24 Jan 2018 – TodayOnline: “How much additional revenue can S’pore get from raising GST and other taxes?”
15 Feb 2018 – TheNewPaper: “What to expect if tax rates are raised at Budget 2018”

There are many more “test balloons” but I believe the above presented a strong case behind MP Sylvia Lim’s suspicions. Her suspicions were not wrong, she should not be made to apologise for them.

The Singapore Ministers are the unrepentant liars and probably the worst kind of politicians in the world. When caught in the act, they become defensive and started attacking others. They lack not only integrity, they exhibit behaviours of a compulsive liar forgetting the decorum expected of their esteemed positions.

The GST increase was announced in 2018, three years after the 2015 General Elections. This fact alone disprove any attempt by the ministers to slither their way out.

What is really disappointing is that the biggest fake news actually comes from the government’s “Factually” website:

“Is the Government planning to raise the GST after the 2015 General Elections?
There is no basis to these claims, and they are inconsistent with what the Government has recently stated.”

Why should Sylvia Lim apologise? Take it to the Court then, K Shanmugam.

Alex Tan
STR Editor