Heng Swee Keat

In the Budget debate yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said he does not know when can the government return the S$52 billion hole in the people’s national reserves after spending it to bail out businesses:

“What we do know is that there will likely not be a V-shaped recovery, unlike in past crises. And the amount that we are tapping is S$52 billion. So how long would it take to build this back? We cannot be definitive.”

Minister Heng Swee Keat said his government does not have to pay back the reserves despite all the spending because there is no legal or constitution ruling so:

“There is no legal or constitutional obligation for the PAP government to return the S$52 billion record drawdown from past reserves.”

The PAP minister also made a baseless claim saying that the record spending saved the Singapore economy from losing S$23 billion a year:

“The four Budgets are estimated to help Singapore’s economy avert an average output loss of five percentage points, or S$23.4 billion per year, over 2020 and 2021, according to a study by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.”

Minister Heng Swee Keat then said Singapore should pay more taxes to be “fair and responsible”, and the GST must be raised at all costs before 2025:

“Such spending primarily benefits the current generation of Singaporeans, and so it is fair and responsible for all of us to do our part and chip in. The planned GST rate increase will not take effect in 2021. However, we will not be able to put off the increase indefinitely, and this will still be needed by 2025.”

The Budget debate ended yesterday with the majority PAP MP seats approval.