On Thursday (8 Mar), WP Chairman Sylvia Lim explained in Parliament why she is not apologising for her earlier allegation that the PAP government had floated a "test balloon" about raising GST.
She said, "I believe I was doing my duty as an MP to convey ground concerns, reactions and confusion."
"I did not accuse the Government of being untruthful as alleged, and neither had I intended to accuse the Government of dishonesty," she added. "I do not accept the over-characterisation the PAP Ministers have put on my words and intentions, based on their own interpretation borne out of over-active imagination and over-sensitivity."
"Since the Government has now strongly refuted that it had any intention to raise GST immediately, I can accept that my suspicion then may not have been correct," Ms Lim concluded.
Indranee renews her attack against Sylvia Lim on Facebook
Yesterday (9 Mar), Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah made a renewed attack on her Facebook page against Ms Lim with a post titled, 'GST Hike: An Honourable Course of Conduct or not?'.
"Ms Lim admitted that her suspicion may not have been correct," Indranee wrote. "Yet Ms Lim refused to withdraw her allegation or to apologise."
She then went on to piece together the events after Ms Lim spoke last week, for readers to see.
"Both Minister Shan and Minister Heng had stood up immediately to point out that the record disproved her suspicion, and invited her to withdraw her comment," Indranee continued.
"Ms Lim claimed she didn’t have the facts at hand, and promised to go back and check. Minister Heng issued a statement the very next day (Friday) reciting the facts, and invited her to withdraw and apologise."
"I put up a FB post on Monday (5 Mar) setting out the government’s successive statements over a five year period, which were all consistently about having enough revenues until 2020, but needing more revenues beyond 2020," Indranee reminded the readers.
"On Tuesday Ms Fu, as Leader of the House, reiterated the facts and invited a withdrawal and apology."
"Ms Lim may originally have been under a mistaken impression. Fair enough. But after the facts have been made clear by four ministers, after it had been shown that her suspicion was wrong, after she herself admitted that she may have been wrong, and after her own leader Mr Low said it is clear now the Government had no intention to raise GST immediately, shouldn’t she have withdrawn the allegation and apologised?" she asked.
"Yet Ms Lim did neither. That is why the Leader of the House said this was not the honourable conduct expected of MPs," Indranee concluded.
Backlash against Indranee's attack on Sylvia Lim
Meanwhile, on her own Facebook page, netizens have been criticising Indranee and her fellow Ministers and MPs for hounding Ms Lim and also for being narrow-minded. Most supported Ms Lim for asking a legitimate question on behalf of her constituency.
Facebook user Chien How Kong, summed it up best:
"Not siding with Sylvia Lim, but base on the way the PAP members have been chasing after her (4 after 1) for days, it also shows that how small-minded our leaders can be.
Shouldn’t a leader be gracious and tolerant, instead of keep pursuing a small matter, having that kind of pack behaviour? It is such a disappointment to have seen these from our government members.
If you people really have the respect for parliament and the concern for this nation, then you should make a good use of the time to discuss important issues and especially new challenges that our country will be facing in the future, and not wasting those precious time just to demand an apology from a person.
Some of you are the 4G leaders. Soon, you will be trusted with more tasks, heavier responsibilities and play a bigger role to lead our nation. Tell me. How can you expect the people to trust you and have faith in the new 4G govt’s leadership if you guys are so small-minded, and fail to move on when you really should?"