Photo of Khaw Boon Wan from Facebook

In addition to the Terminal 5 construction that is estimated at tens of billions, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan dropped a new bombshell in Parliament yesterday (May 8) announcing that he will be spending another billion dollars on a new project: Tuas Mega Port:

“To secure Singapore’s position as a world-class city and key transport node between Asia and the world, MOT will continue investing in transport infrastructure. These include the expansion of Changi Airport and the building of the next-generation Tuas port…The future Tuas mega port and Changi Terminal 5 will strengthen Singapore’s edge to seize new opportunities and capture greater growth.”

The ex-Malaysian Transport Minister did not specify the budget of Tuas Mega Port, and it appears the Singapore government will likely go into more debt to finance the project, just as it did for Terminal 5. Terminal 5’s construction have raised corruption and cronyism suspicions, as government contractors appear to be taking a huge profit from the works. The corruption allegations are further reinforced by the fact that Temasek Holdings and GIC have been posting record losses in recent years, and that Terminal 5 have no budget.

In the past two years, several existing and new taxes were raised to increase tax revenue. This include a new airport surcharge, 30% water price increase, electricity and gas tariff increase, carpark charges for teachers and an impending GST increase to 9% by 2021. These tax increases were announced concurrently with the Terminal 5 project.

With the new Tuas Mega Port announcement, it appears the Singapore government will be going offensive on taxes again. Singapore’s income inequality currently ranks one of the worst in the world with a GINI coefficient of 0.459. Poverty is particularly acute among elderly, with many commonly seen scavenging the street for recyclable material to sell.

 

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