Photo of Chee Hong Tat from CNA
  1. “The Government had secretly intended to raise GST immediately, but backed down because of public reaction;
  2. The WP made this charge in Parliament, and the Government did not rebut it, so it must be true.
  3. This Government cannot be trusted, either on taxes or any other policies; and
  4. Vote against the PAP to teach them a lesson, and stop them from raising the GST after the elections.”

In his zest to insult WP MP Sylvia Lim, Minister Chee Hong Tat unwittingly scored an own goal today (Mar 9) listing out the actual intentions of the ruling party government. The PAP Minister wrote in the party website that the government have to pursue the matter because the opposition MP’s statements are “false and vicious”.

However, a check with Parliamentary records, Sylvia Lim made no attack on the government’s integrity as alleged by Minister Chee Hong Tat. WP MP Sylvia Lim simply said the government tested ground reactions with state media reports of GST increase prior to the announcement. Nothing insidious there, but 4 PAP Ministers popped a vein and started labelling her as “dishonest”, “dishonourable” and “vicious”:

“Why was it important for the Government to pursue the matter? Because it needed to remove any doubt that the Government had intended to raise GST immediately, but then backtracked when it was called out that this would contradict previous Government statements. The underlying sting of that allegation was that the Government was being dishonest with the people. This is both false and vicious, and goes to the heart of Government’s integrity. Had the Government not pursued the matter in Parliament, most people would have overlooked Ms Lim’s “test balloon” comment.  However, the WP could later use it to great effect for political attacks, including during the next General Election.”

Minister Chee Hong Tat also naively drew up his own conclusion saying that the government is credible and trustworthy:

“Through the debate with Ms Lim on 8 March 2018, we got her to admit, and Mr Low to confirm, that her suspicions were wrong; and she had no basis to accuse the Government of intending to raise GST immediately and then backtracking. The WP can now no longer rely on this falsehood to attack the Government’s credibility and trustworthiness. This will make for a more honest debate, in Parliament and outside. ”