“We have given a lot of notice. There is time to explain, and there is time to work out how exactly we will make sure that Singaporeans are given the right support in order to be able to live with a new tax.”
The above statement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong left a lot of people wondering what has giving notice to do with increasing the GST. The way I’m reading this is that Lee Hsien Loong gets to impose any tax increase or pass any policy just because he believe he had given adequate notice.
No doubt, PM Lee Hsien Loong’s narrative is simply saying one thing: there is no negotiation, the GST must be increased. The decision has no room for discussion, but what made the GST increase really unacceptable is the absence of budgetary estimates and spending projections. Nobody knows how much more the government need to spend from 2021 onward, there is no fact and figures, no references, no projections; there is nothing, if this is a business proposal, it would be thrown out of the meeting room and Lee Hsien Loong would be fired on the spot in the boardroom.
Many people believe Singapore is a corporation, to which I personally believe there is nothing wrong running a country like a corporation. The government should function as the senior management and the Prime Minister’s equivalent would be the CEO.
The owner and board of directors who represent funding interests are however the Singaporean taxpayers. This is where the media play the independent director role to check and track on the CEO and senior management. An independent news media like States Times Review will need to ask questions, difficult ones especially, to ensure that the CEO and his management is able to withstand scrutiny. The media will present a narrative to the taxpayers, to decide whether if the custodian management is truly representing their interests.
In a corporate setting, if the CEO and senior management are perceived as incompetent, they will be removed in a boardroom decision, known as the General Election-equivalent of an Annual General Meeting (AGM) or the by-election equivalent of Emergency General Meeting (EGM).
Unfortunately, this is not so in Singapore.
Both the CEO and owner of Singapore is Lee Hsien Loong. Everyone’s CPF funds and taxes is his money, this is why he can implement policies against the people. Lee Hsien Loong and his government suppress the media through legal threats of defamation and jail threat. When faced with well-researched allegations, the Prime Minister excuse himself by calling it “fake news” and a “coordinated act to undermine democracy” – just as what Najib Razak is doing.
Even during an election, Lee Hsien Loong gets to set the rules and re-write the Constitution. When the dictator wanted a racist election reserved for only a Malay, he abused his overarching premiership powers to update the Constitution like his personal Facebook page. Lee Hsien Loong has also done so, putting up a media blackout day known as the Cooling-off Day and inflating the electoral deposits to deter people from contesting the election.
Lee Hsien Loong gets to decide his decision is “final”, which when done in the boardroom, a EGM would be called to boot him out with immediate effect. Singaporeans have strongly opposed the GST increase, but no emergency election could be called because Lee Hsien Loong gets to choose which day an election can be held.
What’s stopping Lee Hsien Loong to re-write the Constitution to make him Permanent Prime Minister? Nothing.
Singapore is ruled corporate style? What hogwash, this dictatorship is nothing like it at all.