I refer to the recent PAP convention that ended yesterday. We have been advised to expect increase in our tax rate, possibly the GST.
After losing a significant number of votes to the opposition in the election of 2011, the government finally decided to increase spending on us. The measures put into place managed to effectively swing the voters back in the subsequent election. But now to claim that these expenditure now warrants an increase in an indirect tax such as GST is absolutely unfounded!
Firstly, has the taxes collected so far been wisely used? The government spent $1.87 billion to build a useless national stadium. The gardens by the bay which took millions to build now requires $53 million to maintain EVERY YEAR! Almost every dynasty in China ended the moment money was spent on lavish palaces. Qin Shi Huang built Epang Palace, Cixi built Yuanming Yuan, etc. The national stadium, gardens by the bay, all these are the modern-day equivalent of palaces! Now, did we the taxpayers get to enjoy these? Can they be eaten? Can they be used to treat cancers? The billions spent here could have been used to build more hospitals, polyclinics and hawker centres!! Mind you, the current waiting time in government hospitals can go up to SIX hours!!! Clearly, we need more hospitals than we need a national stadium!
Secondly, has all the lapses in various ministries been plugged? Let’s not
forget not too long ago, two SLA staff cheated the authority of $11.8
million. It seems that even the Accountant-General has found various control
problems in virtually all ministries. Perhaps after plugging all these holes,
millions can be found and there is no longer a need for revenue to increase.
Thirdly, increasing the indirect tax should ALWAYS be a last resort. WHY?
Because it is unfair and affects the poor the most! Our current income rate
is one of the lowest in all developed nations. Hence, there is definitely
room for taxes to increase here. And why shouldn’t these bosses pay more?
The government has created a safe environment for them to operate their
business and made these bosses millionaire. On top of the safe environment,
the government also help them to keep operating costs low by allowing the
hire of super cheap foreign labour! If this is not the legitimate reason to
ask for more money from this group, what is?!
Fourthly, even if there is an increase in GST, it should not be applied for
ALL goods and services. Things like rice, instant noodles, staple food,
medicine should be excluded from the increase. Luxurious goods like Hermes
bags, Rolex watches, all these can be slapped with a higher GST rate!
Fiftly, is there any other source of revenue available? I think more money
can be collected from the current COE system. I have always failed to
understand why someone who has 30 cars in his garage pays the same COE as me?
Does he have 30 pairs of legs? Because of him hoarding the other 29 COEs,
there are now 29 households who find it difficult to own a car. The first COE
should apply the regular rate, but the second COE you obtain, it should be
DOUBLE, the third COE, TRIPLE the rate, etc. Like that if you want to collect
the 29 cars, you will have to pay millions of dollars for the COE, which is
fair. WHY? Because you have deprived others of consuming that good, hence the
premium you have to pay!
So you can clearly see, things are not desperate enough for us to increase
the GST yet!