Photo of Ng Chee Meng from singaporeairforce

Education Minister Ng Chee Meng blindly mumbled and went on the defensive after Workers’ Party MP Low Thia Khiang criticised the GST increase as a distraction from the Budget:

“I think it’s critical, I think it’s honest, I think it’s right that we outline to Singaporeans how we intend to chart Singapore’s future … in a sustainable manner.”

Without providing any statistics, the former army general openly lied about the GST funding the ageing population and caught his tongue saying it is “baffling”:

“Budget 2018 has, among other things, outlined how Singaporeans can take care of the elderly, better prepare children for the future and prime businesses to help workers navigate dramatic economic changes and technological disruptions. Yet … the Workers’ Party thinks that finding the ways to fund all these programmes is a distraction… I find it baffling.”

The Opposition leader then questioned if the government has look for alternative avenues in the years prior to the 2021 GST increase implementation. MP Low Thia Khiang highlighted that the GST increase will severely affect the poor and the middle income:

“We’ve never said that the Government would have to fund everything… We’re questioning whether there are any other avenues to look at instead of raising GST because it affects a lot of people.”

The former army general PAP Minister then blamed the WP MP and quoted Low Thia Khiang who had, last year, asked for the government to be “upfront” on the GST hike:

“Mr Low’s remarks in the House last year urged the Finance Minister to be upfront with Singaporeans now if a GST hike was being considered before the end of this decade. “This is so that Singaporeans are not blindsided by the Government as they were with the sudden 30-per-cent increase in water prices”, Mr Low had said last March. You can’t have the cake and eat it.”

MP Low Thia Khiang responded saying that the GST increase 2021 announcement should be left out of the Budget because it distracts the budget spending and revenue of financial year 2018.