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What Happened to PM Lee’s 2015 “What Will Make You Raise GST” Iron Fist Statement?

 

During the 2015 General Election, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong infamously whacked Worker’s Party chief Low Thia Khiang, saying:

“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.”

PM Lee looks set to be the “highest raiser” of GST in Singapore’s history – outdoing his predecessors Goh Chok Tong and the late Lee Kuan Yew.

Recently, the prime minister announced that GST hikes, slated for between 2022 to 2025, will have to come sooner rather than later.

Tellingly, this comes before the Budget 2022 statement next month.

But back to 2015.

When then-WP leader Low raised the possibility that the government could increase GST if it was given a strong mandate, PM Lee said that the government “did not play such games with voters”.

At the time, The New Paper reported that:

On the GST, he said the PAP would be “mad” to raise taxes just because it had garnered a certain percentage of the votes.

“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.”

Interestingly, PM Lee also made this statement, which some have found debatable till today:

PM Lee said: “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?

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