Discussions over Grace Fu’s demand for Sylvia’s apology on her GST hike comments

As all have known by now, Leader of the House and Minister from the People’s Action Party, Grace Fu demanded Workers’ Party’s Chairman and MP for Aljunied GRC, Sylvia Lim on Tuesday, to apologise and withdraw her allegation that the Government had floated “test balloons” for the upcoming GST hike and gave her a deadline by Thursday for the apology to be made.

In a Facebook video posted by Channel News Asia on Tuesday, a commenter by the name, Tay wrote to voice his disagreement on Ms Fu’s demand for apology and support in Ms Lim’s question on behalf of the constituents.

Tay wrote, “If her question reflects what all her constituents want to know, why should she apologise? I also think that the Gov is testing the water. What is wrong with that? We all know our Gov likes to do that before implementing anything!”

Another commenter by the name of Lee (not full name to prevent online lynching) wrote in response to Tay’s comment,

“No leh, she just have to state that she is not accusing. And that she is convinced that Govt did not float test balloon. Why keep ammo for next GE. Still years away. And first world parliament behaviour is don’t discuss about GST now. Next General Election at rally then talk. Use emotive language. Huat ah huat ah huat ah.

But scared to discuss in parliament. Scared of logic. Scared of reason. First world parliament indeed. One Kuik Shiao-yin has more guts and class than the ENTIRE WORKERS PARTY.”

Tay wrote back to Lee,

“When you want to have an informed discussion, then please state facts.

The fact is that the PAP Government promised that there will be no GST increases. In less than 3 years, they are now saying that there is a need to increase GST. What changed? PAP should apologise to all Singaporeans if they deliberately fooled all Singaporeans by saying that they will be no GST increases.

If there are valid reasons for the GST increase, then state clearly what are the incriminating factors that resulted in the PAP Gov’s change of stance? Did the PAP Gov make an error in their “decision” in 2015? If so, they should admit that they had made a mistake and apologise for it.

Lastly, please state the reasons with facts for not considering other options to generate revenue for the Government. Why must it be GST increases? Everyone knows that GST is the most draconian types of taxes as it also taxes the poor and under-privileged. Imagine the impact a 2% increase will have on a lower income family that earns less than S$1k per month vs that of a family that earns S$100k per month!

For example, why not consider a Value Added Tax on luxury items? A 10% VAT on a S$10k Rolex watch will generate S$1k taxes which is equivalent to taxing additional 2% on a poor man eating 16,000+ meals at S$3 per meal.

Please tell me that you are not just blindly supporting the GST increases just because you are a PAP supporter. Please support your decision with logical explanations that common man on the ground can understand.

Lastly, please do not twist the words of what the WP had said in Parliament. They are asking why not debate the GST increases in a more suitable time (the Gov should be looking at the budget now!). They never say debate it at election rallies. If our PM can hold one Parliament hearing to just hear about his family issues, why not have one for GST increases which affects the livelihood of all Singaporeans?

If you want an informed discussion, I will be waiting earnestly to hear from you.”

15 hours have passed since Tay wrote to Lee and Lee never got back.

In another discussion, a commenter by the name, Lim wrote,

Sylvia Lim asked a valid and logical question, debated objectively on the issue which was what this parliament is all about. Sadly instead of addressing issue, the ruling party pap seems more interested in taking things to a personal level. What is happening to this country now?

Another FB commenter, Jong Kian Ee wrote, “It wasn’t a question. It was an allegation and suggestion that the Government had wanted to increase GST, but backtracked because of negative feedback; contrary to the facts.”

Lim wrote back to Lim, “If you read carefully, it is indeed a question as a matter of fact, albeit a tough and wily one. It depends on how the recipient perceives it. But the reaction from the ruling party is totally uncalled for. In any case, if you are expecting a politically-right question from opposition members like what most pap MPs do, then they do not deserve Singaporeans’ votes. No?”

And if you were to visit Jong Kian Ee’s Facebook account, you will notice that it is a fake account. Its profile picture is a generic stock photo image and likes basically every social-political page in Singapore.

In the Facebook posting of Straits Times on the same news, a commenter, Ms Kwa wrote:

Parliament is not a Court of Law where facts and evidence are paramount with a Judge or Jury deciding on the merits of a case. Parliament as the name suggest, is a People’s house, where free flow of discussion, bantering and cross fire takes place with decorum, in an orderly and fair manner – with plenty of give and take amongst active participants . In the UK the MPs perform this role with an upright sense of humour, to remove the sting or venom of their condemnation or accusation in a light hearted way to avoid leaving a bad taste in the mouth. In short two opposing individuals representing different sets of interests can be political foes but remain friends at the same time.

In response, a commenter by the name of Eva Tan wrote, “Friends don’t lie about each other. And whatever assertions she casted is not humorous at all. It was designed to hurt.”

Kwa replied, “and the PAP never tried to hurt them in previous debates? You have very selective memory and very selective reading.”

If you visit Eva’s profile, you will only notice that her account is a fake account which only dabbles with political postings. In fact, other than members of PAP and fake accounts which are astroturfing, no one is seen supporting Ms Fu’s demand to Ms Lim.