Photo of Grace Fu from TOC

In yet another damning evidence proving the Ministers wrongly accused Sylvia Lim for lying, government statutory board NTUC today (Mar 15) confessed that they conducted “test balloon” survey for GST increase in Nov 2017.

The survey questioned 440 respondents if GST should be increased and when should it be done. The majority 38% chose “Between 2021 to 2025”, which coincides with the actual announcement 3 months later on Budget 2018. NTUC said that the feedback was not released to the public and only presented to the government.

A director of NTUC, Steve Tan, admitted he conducted the survey on GST increase on behalf of the government:

“NTUC have been conducting an average of 10 feedback exercises each year since I started heading it in 2015. As the voice for working people, the labour movement needs to be on top of their concerns. As such, we regularly gather feedback, both formally and informally… Naturally, this would include the national Budget.”

A search on state media news articles proposing a GST increase found that there were at least 26 such articles prior to the actual announcement.

WP MP Sylvia Lim has earlier in Parliament pointed out that the government floated test balloons to check ground reactions for the GST increase. The statement warranted a strong rebuff from Law Minister K Shanmugam, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Culture Minister Grace Fu. All three Ministers demanded her to apologise which WP MP Sylvia Lim, in a later parliamentary session, categorically refused. The opposition MP is now facing possible parliamentary actions for being “dishonourable”, which could see her being jailed for 2 years and fined up to S$50,000.