Photo of Indranee Rajah from Alchetron

Senior Minister of State for Finance Indranee Rajah told state media Straits Times in an interview yesterday (Nov 26) that the government will increase tax as soon as the people are ready to “absorb the news”:

“The Government has not decided on the date of the impending tax hike. In deciding when the hike should kick in, the Government will take into account factors such as setting aside enough time for people to absorb the news, and ensuring the poor and needy have enough buffer against the impact. We’re still working on the ‘when’.”

The Minister however did not mention what “buffer” the poor and needy are getting ahead of the tax raise, but the dictator Prime Minister has earlier indicated that the tax raise will come by as soon as 2019.

In a Facebook post last Tuesday (Nov 21), Workers’ Party MP Pritam Singh wrote that the PM is trying to raise the GST tax before stepping down in the next general election at 2020. This is done so to give his successor a “clean slate” for a new government:

“Raising taxes before a new PAP Prime Minister takes office would allow the new leader to start on a relatively ‘clean slate’, preserving his political capital. Prime Minister Lee has openly stated he is going to hand over power after the next elections. Singaporeans would remember the staggered increase in GST in the lead up to the handover of the Prime Ministership from Mr Goh Chok Tong to PM Lee Hsien Loong from 3% to 4% in 2003 and 4% to 5% in 2004, in spite of the negative economic environment.

Minister Indranee Rajah denied the allegation and reiterated that taxes have to increase because the government is spending more money on the people:

“The thrust of the post is that there’s actually no need to raise taxes because we have more than enough money and there is an underlying suggestion that it is being done for purely political purposes, and I disagree entirely with that suggestion. Mr Singh may not be cognisant of the facts, spending in the areas of healthcare, education, housing and general social support had greatly increased in the last 10 years and was driving the need to boost tax revenue.”