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Workers’ Party (WP) Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Dennis Tan Lip Fong has said that the lesson from the 2015 General Election (GE) is that a strong mandate for the Govt will mean a rise in the cost of living and taxes.

The 2015 GE, which was held six months after founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew passed away and about a month after Singapore celebrated its 50th National Day, was the first since Singapore’s independence which saw all seats contested.

The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) won its best results since 2001 with 69.86 per cent of the popular vote, an increase of 9.72 per cent from the previous election in 2011. Out of 89 seats, the PAP contested all and won 83, with the other 6 seats won by the WP.

After the election, several Singaporeans saw the cost of living going up. The water price was increased by a hefty 30 per cent while electricity tariffs consistently rose. The Government then announced that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will rise by two per cent, from the current seven per cent to nine per cent, in the near future.

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Singaporeans responding to the GST hike were quick to highlight Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s campaign promise in 2015.

Referring to the Workers’ Party’s suggestion then that the government would raise taxes after the election had been won, PM Lee asserted that the government “did not play such games with voters.” Speaking at the PAP Headquarters on 5 Sept 2015, in the middle of the 2015 GE campaigning period, PM Lee said:

“Raising, adjusting taxes is a very big decision. You consider it carefully, you discuss it thoroughly, and you do it only when you absolutely have to. What will make you need to raise GST? Profligate spending and irresponsible, unsustainable plans. That is what will hurt and require you to raise taxes and GST.”

According to the New Paper, the PM added:

“I think it’s a strange psychology to think that this is a government which is only dying to do bad things to people… Do we look like that? Here we are, trying to do the best and needing support. And I would turn the argument and say, be careful if they give more votes to the WP.
“WP will become even more arrogant and oppressive over the rest of the parties as they are already so.”

As the next election looms, WP NCMP Dennis Tan indicated that increased taxes and the rising cost of living is attributable to the strong mandate the Government received in the 2015 GE. He said in a Facebook post published on 11 Nov:

Referring to the Government’s controversial parliamentary motion to get two elected WP MPs recused from their town council, he added that it is “difficult to talk about trust with a party which does not practise fair play in the political arena.”

Concluding a Facebook post published on 11 Nov with the hashtags “Say No to GST” and “Say No to Bullies”, the opposition politician wrote:

“It is obvious to many that the lesson from 2015 is that strong mandate for the government will mean increase in cost of living (including cost of utilities and public transport) and taxes (GST).
“It is also clear to many, following the controversial motion in Parliament earlier in the week, that it is difficult to talk about trust with a party which does not practise fair play in the political arena (let alone reservoir of trust).”

Had many interesting conversations over an eventful weekend at Hougang SMC – Deepavali celebrations, Hammer outreach,…

Posted by Dennis Tan Lip Fong 陈立峰 on Monday, 11 November 2019

The curious timing of the impending GST hike

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