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$200 GST offset, but so much more to pay ad infinitum

This is a letter by TOC writer Leong Sze Hian to the Straits Times

I REFER to StarHub's announcement that it will increase cable TV subscriptions by between $4 for basic groups and $10 for sports content.

This is an increase of 17 to 67 per cent. The reason given was that 'the price hike is a natural result of ongoing increases in prices of pay-TV content", without any mention of the GST increase.

When I received my GST offset letter informing me that I will receive $200, I began to recall the things that I have had to pay more for in recent months.

Over the last 12 months or so, there have been media reports about increases or announced increases in electricity, taxi fares, development charge for non-landed residential sites, refuse collection fees, food courts upgrading and food prices, bus and MRT fares, one- and two-room HDB rental, university fees, Goods and Services Tax (GST), postage, property tax, registration fees for medicines, polyclinic fees, hospital fees, car park charges, Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), Nets charges, ElderShield premiums, removal of medical fees guidelines, plastic bags, hospitals means-testing, electronic share application fee, a second postage rates increase, and now cable TV, et cetera, in chronological order.

All these increases or announced increases are not even related to the impending GST increase, except for SingPost's postage rates increase which is 'specifically to offset the GST hike'.

With the economy booming, resulting in increased revenue, profits, surpluses, possibly lower costs due to economies of scale, et cetera, why is it that prices can only go up but never lowered, or at least kept level?

With the assurance that government fees will be frozen for one year after the GST hike, I hope that particularly those fees for essential goods and services that are not in the 'frozen list", like electricity, taxi fares, ERP, bus and MRT fares, university fees, health-care costs, et cetera, will not continue to rise again soon.

Leong Sze Hian