In Parliament today (6 Mar), Minister Grace Fu joined in to ask Workers’ Party Chairman Sylvia Lim to apologise to the House before the end of Parliament’s sitting on Thursday (8 Mar).
Ms Lim has earlier alleged on 1 March that the government had floated “test balloons” before the Budget announcement, then possibly “backed down” on an immediate GST hike due to the negative public reaction.
The GST hike from 7 to 9% announced by the PAP government is to be implemented sometime in the period between 2021 and 2025.
When WP Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang commented in the General Election 2015 that the People’s Action Party might be increasing GST after they get elected, PAP’s Secretary-General Lee Hsien Loong rubbished the notion that PAP will increase GST if they are elected and then-Finance Minister Tharman had also earlier said in the same year that tax measures will not be increased within the decade. However, along the way, PM Lee and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat had hinted of a possible tax hike without stating when it will take place.
Ms Lim had said, “We do note that in the run-up to the Budget discussion that there were some test balloons being floated out about the fact that the Government needs to raise revenue. And immediately the public seized on the fact that DPM Tharman and perhaps other leaders had earlier said that the Government has enough money for the decade. So the public pointed out that ‘hey, you know, is this a contradiction?’”
“And I rather suspect myself that the Government is stuck with that announcement,” she added.
Both Law Minister Shanmugam and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat then immediately asked Ms Lim to withdraw her comments.
In her statement today, Grace Fu added that both Mr Heng and Mr Shanmugam had already explained that there is no basis for Ms Lim’s allegations, and stressed that the Government has never floated test balloons on this matter, and that it has been “deliberate and consistent in all its statements since Aug 2013”.
“As the Minister of Finance said in this statement, MPs are entitled to raise suspicions in Parliament, if they honestly believe them,” she said. “But honest belief requires factual basis.”
“And when clear factual replies have been given, an honourable MP should either refute them with further facts, or acknowledge them and withdraw their allegations, especially if their allegations had insinuated a lack of candour or wrongdoing on the part of the Government.”
“Her allegations have been refuted, the facts she cited have been shown to be inaccurate, and she has not raised any further facts to substantiate her ‘suspicion’,” Ms Fu added. “Parliamentary privilege does not entitle MPs to knowingly maintain allegations that have been shown to have no factual basis.”
Grace Fu yet to apologise for parking in season parking lot meant for residents
Meanwhile, Grace Fu herself has yet to apologise to the residents of Yuhua for parking at their season parking lot. Note that she herself does not stay in Yuhua.
About a year ago, a netizen caught her on camera parking at a season parking lot meant for the residents of Yuhua. The uploaded photos show her coming out from her Mercedes car at a red season parking lot.
The netizen said that he was waiting for his wife at Yuhua when he saw a man standing at a red season parking lot, reserving the slot. The netizen when up to the man who then identified himself as a policeman.
The policeman explained that he was reserving the red colored parking lot for a “VIP”.
The netizen later moved back to his car to continue waiting for his wife. When the VIP arrived at the lot reserved by the policeman, it turned out that the VIP was Minister Grace Fu.
Season parking allows residents to park anywhere in an HDB car park group at any time, without having to display parking coupons. Season parking is for long-term parking, and is sold on a calendar month basis. The red colored lots are reserved for such paying HDB residents.
Under 18(1) of the Parking Places Rules (R2, Cap.214), the car owner is subjected to a $50 fine if one parks in a season parking place without a valid season parking.
Many netizens who saw the photos shared on social media, claimed that she has performed an illegal act by parking at a lot without a valid season parking.
Others felt that she was insensitive as she had inconvenient Yuhua residents by taking up one of their red lots, depriving parking to those residents who have a valid season parking.
The Online Citizen wrote to Ms Fu in Dec 2017, asking if she had anything to add on the incident but she has not replied the query till today.