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Singapore — The Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP’s) Bryan Lim objected to the impending GST hike in a Facebook post on Wednesday (Feb 17).  Commenting on the newly released Budget 2021, the SDP treasurer said  “they have no qualms in tapping our reserves (the principal or the fixed deposit sum) for their Budgets whereas the SDP’s proposals do not”.

He was referring to the last General Election, when the SDP proposed to suspend GST till end-2021, pay retrenched workers 50 per cent of their last drawn salary for 18 months and provide a $500 monthly retirement income for lower-income seniors aged above 65. In response, the PAP kept “harping on [their] source of funding & accused us of bankrupting the nation”, he added.

But, far from tapping the reserves, the SDP suggested something else.

“Instead, we have suggested that 50% of the unused portion of Singapore’s net investment returns (NIR; ie. interest on the principal or fixed deposit sum) should be set aside to fund our social programmes. We are not even touching the principal sum at all,”  Mr Lim wrote in his Facebook post.

Mr Lim also felt that the assistance schemes should have directly benefited the people, saying the Budget should have been drawn up to help the citizens rather than “bail out or prop up the GLCs”.

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“Indeed, we need a serious rethink on our labour & social policies.“ he wrote.

His other point was regarding the increase in Goods and Services Tax (GST).

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According to Mr Lim, the PAP cites “rising recurrent spending needs, especially in healthcare” as the reason for the 2 per cent GST increase. However, he said, the aid received by citizens from the “3M healthcare system” has been “underwhelming”. By the “3M healthcare system” he meant MediSave, MediShield Life and MediFund.

He added that “giving out consumption stimulants such as cash vouchers on one hand while taxing them on the other doesn’t quite solve the problem”. Instead, he said, the Government should suspend the GST.

Denise Teh is an intern at The Independent SG. /TISG

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