In their zeal to propagandise Singapore’s new 9% GST, state media ChannelNewsAsia (CNA) published a fake news claiming Bhutan having a 50% GST. The state media had to post an apology and retract Bhutan off their list, as some commentators who have lived in Bhutan pointed out there is no 50% GST tax in the country:
“EDITOR’S NOTE: The information on sales tax in Bhutan was taken from two sources – including a document on the Sales Tax, Customs and Excise Act from the Bhutan government website, but as there has been feedback on uncertainty over the figure, we have removed it from our reports.”
Commentator Sharol Tenzin wrote:
“Channel News Asia, how about you do a thorough research before posting unclear information and upsetting people? And since I am married to a bhutanese and lived there a while, I am pretty sure I did not have to pay a ridiculous 50% tax for anything at all. I am glad you have made the ammendment but this information is still very misleading.”
Other commentators also point out the fallacies of the GST comparisons as countries like Australia have GST-free for essential food items like rice and bread. Singapore’s 9% GST is a blanket tax that taxes the poor more than the rich. The GST in other countries also provided free healthcare, substantial social support and other benefits that are nowhere comparable to Singapore’s notorious pay-and-pay system where nothing is free.
Singapore’s mainstream media is ranked 154th in the world for credibility. The Singapore government however labels non-government media as “fake news”, and has recently commenced a Select Committee to introduce new censorship laws banning independent news media from covering Singapore news.