Opposition needs to be honest & responsible on GST alternatives: DPM Wong

“Be honest and responsible.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong sent this message to the Opposition in Parliament Monday (Nov 7).

This is since their so-called solutions to the GST hike will ultimately not benefit Singaporeans.

“Acknowledge that your alternatives will either end up requiring the middle income to pay more,” said DPM Wong. “Or will use more of the past reserves, therefore denying less for the next generation.”

“And at least have the decency to acknowledge that the Government had considered all of these alternatives. Carefully.”

The Government and public officials are committed to doing what’s right

“Essentially, they have painted a very simplistic narrative that the Government has not considered these alternatives: that we are on autopilot, we are not open to ideas, we are just stubbornly pushing away at something we decided to do anyway,” said DPM Wong.

“But that’s completely false.”

“Because we’ve already gone through this already in the Budget debate. I’ve explained repeatedly in the Budget debate that we have talked about all the options very carefully, explained why many of these alternatives are not substitutes for GST,” said the Minister.

“I’ve gone through them again today.”

“In fact, I said, it’s not just GST, or these alternatives. We have to consider so many different options together given our huge funding gap,” he reiterated.

DPM Wong additionally noted that the Government studied the situation carefully before making the very difficult decision to proceed with the tax hike.

“So this false and simplistic narrative painted by the Workers’ Party, which as Mr Murali Pillai has kindly reminded us is not the first time: a pattern of repeating the same arguments against the GST time and again, really it does not do justice to the commitment and professionalism of the entire team in MOF,” said DPM Wong.

“Including the public officials who are trying so hard to do what is right, and to pursue a strategy of fiscal responsibility and discipline for the benefit of Singapore and Singaporeans.”

A rigorous debate

“To be clear, the Workers Party is entitled to your own position. By all means, oppose the GST,” said DPM Wong.

“But at least be honest and responsible.”

For starters, those so-called solutions mentioned at the start of this report?

“We debated them in the Budget. Thoroughly and rigorously before we decided on this move — I would have thought that’s what a responsible political party would have done.”

“Unfortunately, I’m very disappointed that the Workers’ Party has chosen to take a different path. And I wonder if this is because they feel that this approach is the best way to advance their political agenda.”