WHY IS THE GST VOUCHER SO STINGY DURING AN ELECTION YEAR

Speculation is rife that elections are on the way. I wrote about 3 things that must happen if this is to be an election year in this article at the start of the year. The 1st being the release of the electoral boundaries report, and true enough has been released with an increase in the total number of seats and SMCs. The 2nd was the introduction of new PAP candidates. The soft launch has already been done, with the formal presentation likely after the NDP as stated by PAP Organising Secretary, Ng Eng Hen. That leaves the 3rd – cash pay-outs, which was also given out recently.

Nothing to crow about - the paltry increases this year, pale in comparison to what was received in the last 3 GEs.
However don’t get too excited about the paltry sums you received. In the last few elections, they were much higher. From New Singapore Shares over a thousand dollars in 2001, to sums ranging from $500-$700 in the last 2 GEs. So why only a modest increase in line with the SG50 celebrations this year? Most Singaporeans will get $300 while senior citizens (above 55) get $600. This is still below the $500 and $700 we received for 2011 – 1 week before the GE.

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So unless the PM announces another ‘special payout’ during his National Day rally, this is a fair question to ask during the campaign. Why are civil servants rewarded, why is SIA giving out a $500 bonus and why are ordinary citizens given the short shrift?

I’m not saying that this is ‘vote buying’ no matter the temptation or the obvious inferences, rather if the PAP Govt is gonna run Singapore like a business (which it practically does), then it’s only fair that we as the shareholders, get our due dividends.

What’s the use of saying ‘ ‘Oh wow, we are so modern, we’ve grown out of our ‘kampong days,’ we have spanking new buildings like MBS, the Marina Promenade and oh our reserves have made another hefty profit,’ when the fact remains that only a select few are really reaping the benefits of modernisation and growth? The rich grow richer, the ‘natural aristocrats’ rule over us plebians and civil servants get bonuses not to mention spanking new buildings, new office equipment and state of the art tools. Ordinary citizens are forced to compete with the influx of foreigners, pay ever increasing rates for basic stuff like health, transport, utilities and education, not to mention pay sky-rocketing prices for public housing that when first implemented was promised to be cheap and affordable. To add insult to injury, CPF returns which again was promised to be returned in full at 55, has now not only been pushed to 65 years but only available if you have a staggering $165,000 in it, getting whatever is in excess of that amount.

For the rich, the ‘natural aristocrats’ and the civil servants who’ve seen their pay rise with the rate of inflation and cost of living, $165,000 is nothing. But how many of you will ever hold – let’s forget $165,000, let’s just say $50,000 in your hands – all yours, to do whatever you want because it’s your money? How many Singaporeans will ever get to hold $50,000 in their hands – no obligations?

So you have right to demand that this election the GST voucher is grossly insufficient and another payout is due. Of course I’m not saying your vote can be bought, if you get an unexpected additional payment next month, good. But hey, don’t you think that you deserved one in the first place? And if you are not given one, you should take that into consideration along with the other factors when you cast your vote come Election Day.

Sir Nelspruit

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