Law Minister K Shanmugam lashed out against Workers' Party Chairman Sylvia Lim after she made comments about the GST hike in the Parliament on Thursday (1 March).
Ms Lim stated that the Government had floated a "trial balloon" about the need to raise revenue in the run-up to the Budget, then possibly "backed down" due to the negative public reaction, saying, ""I rather suspect myself that the government is stuck with that announcement. Otherwise, if that announcement had not been made, perhaps we would be debating a GST hike today."
Mr Shanmugam then commented that her statement is s a thoroughly hypocritical and dishonest statement and typical of the statements she makes in the house.
Online commenters rally behind Ms Lim, against the action of law minister
An overwhelming number of commenters on Channel News Asia's Facebook page, criticised Mr Shanmugam for his words and behaviour in Parliament and praised Ms Lim and her party for standing up for Singaporeans.
DS Tfj wrote, "Thank you Ms Sylvia Lim for speaking up for the common man. At almost every single Parliamentary sitting, K. Shanmugam would jump up to wage a personal Attack on Sylvia, and even on Facebook. Salute to Sylvia for standing her ground and standing up to him. Power woman! I wonder is it because Shanmugam sees Sylvia as a formidable opponent that he has to attack her every single time. And mind you, it’s the responsibility of MPs to convey what the public feels on the ground. That’s what MPs are voted in for. Shanmugam characterises Sylvia’s questions as “rumours”. Wasn’t the big rumour of PM abusing his power in the Oxley Road saga brought into Parliament for debate too?"
Ben Oh wrote, "Shanmugam will attack anyone like a mad dog. He thinks he still a lawyer and Sylvia is a criminal. This guy has no respect for anyone."
Henry Townshend wrote, "Both of them mix with different kind of crowds in their lives. Sylvia walk the streets of the commoners and heard the feedback from those people.
This Indian billionaire live sky high in his ivory tower rubbing shoulders with his own kind. What is 2% increase to this kind of people? Who you want to side with really depend on what kind of person you are and what your life values are."
Muthu Balakhrisnan wrote, "Shanmugam is getting totally overboard - trying to intimidate Opposition MPs into not speaking up."
Martin Lee wrote, 'The opposition (MPs) have a right to oppose this budget bill cause none of the pap MPs have guts to hold each of them accountable."
Benson Tan wrote, "Shameless PAP. Using parliament to play politics. Hello, please, discuss things to advance citizens lives, not advance your politics!"
Evan Tan wrote, "Towards the end of the debate, clearly we can see the law minister isn't gonna win this debate. Opposition is there to refute and discuss all matters of the public interest. They are entitled in that parliament that's why we voted them in. This GST tax is considered as a future tax increment. But why should there be a tax increment when obviously there's a huge surplus on hand. Where's the transparency of the surplus? Thank Sylvia Lim for standing up to the 30%. Because the dumb 70% would never understand all these."
Zachary Kho wrote, "I’m not an expert on local politics but isn’t the suggestion of dishonesty/lying unparliamentary language? If you watch parliamentary debates in Westminster, members are forbidden from accusing other members of dishonesty."
Patrick Yuin wrote, "A total waste of time in this parliament debates. It has never been constructive in any way. It's all about power struggle. How many man hours from MPs and Ministers were put into it knowing and the results are already fixed. You call that "First World Parliament?"."
Azman Nooh wrote, "She is speaking up for Singaporean. And it's true, that is sentiment on the ground now. She done well as an opposition.
What sort of morale does that minister has, citing a judge comment into a parliament. And anyway our Parliament is never a first world at all in the respect."
Benson Tan wrote, "Didnt PAP use parliament to refute rumours of the Dishonourable Son abusing his office? But when Sylvia Lim brings up a suspicion to discuss, she is dishonest?! Hypocrites. Much!"
Edmund Khor wrote, "Looks like personal squabbling. Waste of parliament time. If K Shan likes to interrogate, go back to court and bring new charges against the CHC 6!"
Kendrick Tan wrote, "Shanmugam only bully WP MPs who are in the weaker side in this house and when this law minister facing Dr Lee Wei Ling, he did not dare to talk back as Dr Lee Wei Ling said he is unethical. He obviously is a big bully. Hahaha!"
Martin Lee wrote, "This is why having more opposition is better then having more back stabbing pap maps who pretend to care about Singaporeans."
Lee Meng Fei wrote, "Hey, both of you were elected by voters, who do you think you are to ask an elected MP retract her statement? PAP ruling this country too long, simply doesn't understand what democracy is."
Titus Leong wrote, "The Aljunied GRC MP retorted: "If I recall earlier debates, even PAP MPs were encouraged to come to the House to convey even rumours so that the Government has the opportunity to refute them. This is the value of this chamber." So PAP mp can, WP mp cannot. Double standard?"
Joi keka wrote, "Demand a fellow MP to retract her words? What were those toxic words which made him so sensitive?"
Leslie Poon wrote, "Bravo Sylvia Lim. This is the type of opposition substance we need. I was truly impressed. Excellent that you stood your ground!"
Martin Lee wrote, "What all this boils down to is that Singaporeans will continue to be lashed with this grotesque financial burden which will only become heavier in the years ahead. The myriad of taxes will further fatten already bloated government coffers at the expense of the people who are struggling with retrenchments, a shrinking job market, and burgeoning household debt. This will be felt most acutely by the lower- and middle-income groups. Such an outcome is hardly surprising as the PAP has always sought to protect the rich – a class to which its ministers belong. Budget 2018 is no exception."
Andy Yeo wrote, "Why always intimidate people who disagree your view or decision? I can’t think of anything positive about his personality and character! Please do more to update all the outdated laws than being a petty politician!"
Dave D Daran wrote, "May I remind the ruling party to respect all politicians. Be wise, please. The WP is elected by its people. Do not offend its people."
Nicholas Guo wrote, "At least those who voted for worker's party did not disappoint themselves. Worker's party did what they promised. Unlike the pappies. Say this and that. End up citizens get nothing but GST hikes."
Heng Lee Lau wrote, "Parliament is to discuss the country's issue. Party is to raise suspicious questions if in doubt for the good of the country. Why become personal attacks? Where are the laws?"
Kuantangoh Spencer wrote, 'It’s obvious that Shanmugam is arrogant, disrespectful and worse of all resorted to threaten a lady in the 'first world parliament'. I have great suspicion that he’s a very useless Minister."
Wei Hao Ren wrote, "Only PAP know the real reason why we need a GST hike. That’s why they have the right to call 'everyone else' dishonest & hypocritical.
When will PAP be listed on Singaporeans ah? Huat ar! PAP Huat ar!"
Gary Tan wrote, "Isn't it in a democratic society everyone should be respected for their difference in opinions and perceptions? Only Yes man are honest and sincere ?"
Kiren Kaur wrote, "I think in any first world country it is healthy to have debates about policies. We should not take things personally and attack, in that aspect we have much to learn and grow from overseas parliamentary sessions (except the Taiwanese ones where people hurt and punch each other)."
Serena Foo Choon Huay wrote, "Why is taxing the people the only solution the govt can think of to increase state revenue? Do they not know how to grow the economy? Are GIC & Temasek unable to generate enough profit despite having our hard earned money? Are the ministers overpaid & incompetent with exceedingly thin skin who only can play a kindergartner's game of name calling?"
Philip Lim wrote, "She took issue with the issue objectively. He took issue with her and her party personally. This is the difference. Any respect for such politics is gone down the drain. This is PAP's brand of dirty politics that more than two third of Singaporeans love to embrace."
Dave Tan wrote, 'The worse Law and Home Affair Minister in Singapore history! Most of the time when the opposition talk, he will give allegations such as "dishonest". This is tantamount to defamation of character. How can a Law Minister behave in such a manner? He is definitely the biggest shame of the cabinet."
Harun AminuRasyid AbdulRahman wrote, 'This is what I called and said it is a bullshit kind of Parliament of Singapore in taking care of her people's welfare. Your purpose in politics is to serve and not just by came out with Policy to squeeze the peoples with and for the burden in paying more taxes to the Defacto governance in riching themselves with their high salaries and various incentives. Remember that the PAP governance have been Abusing the Power for too long in using all kind of Law to justify everything the pap did is always right without the peoples of Singapore consent and agreeable considerations."