Photo of forum from Straits Times

Repeating a lie formulated by PM Lee Hsien Loong, Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah yesterday (Dec 5) made excuses for the tax hike blaming the poor for the increase. Minister Indranee told participants at a closed-door forum that the government is raising tax to help the poor, elderly and vulnerable. The Minister hinted that Singaporeans are ready to pay higher taxes for “trade-offs”:

“The Budget is a strategic financial plan to take care of Singapore’s immediate needs and position the nation for the future. It requires building the economy amid technological disruptions and global uncertainties. It also involves developing people to cope with challenges… Different groups have different concerns, with young families more interested in education and housing, while those with older family members are more concerned with healthcare. Speaking to people who are going to be impacted… will help us to make a better and more informed decision… All Governments have the same challenge. You have a range of things that you need to do; how are you going to fund them? It’s important for the public to know…You can see that people are very mindful of the fact that there are trade-offs.”

According to state propaganda media Straits Times, forum participants surveyed that 30% wanted the government to increase funding for the vulnerable, 26% wanted more funding for certification upgrading, and 24% wanted tax breaks for corporations.

Minister Indranee Rajah also insisted that a tax hike is coming and claimed that the people “will be prepared” for the increase:

“”I know it’s something that’s very much on people’s minds. People will be given enough notice to prepare for the increase, and that the Government will have to buffer the impact on vulnerable groups if they are affected.”

Also present at the forum was Minister of State Sam Tan, who said that the dictatorship is willing to take the “political costs”:

“Tthe Government does not take decisions to raise taxes lightly, because such hikes come with a very high political cost. But if we have to raise it, that is because the reason is stronger than the political cost.”

However, the dictatorship has negligible political costs because the elections in Singapore are fixed and undemocratic. In the recent Presidential Election, Lee Hsien Loong said he was willing to pay the “political costs” and he ended up disqualifying opponent contestants giving his candidate Halimah Yacob a walkover win.