Without providing any estimate or statistics, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong openly lied to his constituents yesterday (Mar 4) that the impending GST increase will fund the healthcare spending of the ageing population:
“The move to raise the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in three to seven years’ time will help fund increasing Government spending arising largely from an ageing population.”
Singapore’s healthcare is largely self-funded by individual’s CPF Medisave and the newly-implemented national health insurance Medishield Life. The Singapore government did not provide any estimates on 2021’s tax revenue, budget projections or expenditures, earning the criticism and objection from the opposition Workers’ Party.
This is Lee Hsien Loong’s third GST rise, with the first increase to 5% GST in 2004, and the second increase to 7% GST in 2007, in less than 15 years under his charge.
Calling the GST increase a “responsible and honest thing to do”, the Singapore dictator said GST increase is needed because he “can see the trends clearly”:
“Announcing the GST increase now is the responsible and honest thing for the Government to do. We do not need the money yet, but we can see the trends clearly and we know we will need the money by the next decade. We have to plan ahead, work out how we will get what we need to spend and announce it early now so that people will know. This way, people can plan ahead and understand why the tax increase is necessary and justified.”
PM Lee Hsien Loong said that he has “thought over options carefully”, but still decided to raise the GST.
“The GST increase is a prudent and responsible long-term approach. The Government has thought over its options carefully, such as drawing more from the reserves, before deciding to raise taxes. The ageing society and healthcare is not a rainy day, it is an every-day-need-money day, a long-term trend. We are ageing, we will need to spend more on healthcare every year, year after year, for many years to come. If we use the reserves for something we need money for every day, we will find there will be no more money when we need it.”