On Saturday (10 March), Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat wrote in a letter addressed to all Singaporeans published on the People's Action Party (PAP) website that the Workers' Party (WP) could have used its "test balloons" allegation on the timing of the Goods-and-Services Tax (GST) "to great effect for political attacks", if the Government had not challenged it in Parliament.
He wrote, "Had the Government not pursued the matter in Parliament, most people would have overlooked Ms Lim’s 'test balloon' comment. However, the WP could later use it to great effect for political attacks, including during the next general election," signing the letter as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.
The story was reported by Channel NewsAsia on Saturday and shared its Facebook page. Many of its readers asked PAP to stop exaggerating the matter and provide the answer to the question that Ms Sylvia Lim had asked.
Some also stated that Mr Chee has also made assumption, allegation and accusation towards another WP MP and he should apologise for doing so.
Leonie R Tan wrote,
"Really quite disappointed with PAP. Instead of taking the opportunity to explain to the people why they need to raise taxes, and how much short fall despite every year of budget surpluses etc, they spend so much precious time harping on this sorrygate debacle. Even if you force a sorry from Sylvia Lim, I think people will not forget how you have bullied her into it over a sacred issue to the people- taxes. Will the people truly buy it? Think, my dear multi million dollar ministers, think please."
Tan Ben wrote,
"There were many articles by various pro PAP people and even ‘predictions’ by columnists in mainstream media on the “need” for GST to be raised and how much it should go up. It’s interesting that none of them were asked to apologize and their articles refuted. So why blame WP since everyone’s impression is that GST will go up this year. In any case, has there been any precedence where GST increase is announced 3 years in advance? If answer is no, then WP is justified in raising their concerns."
Kuantangoh Spencer wrote,
"Everyone who follows the debate,is absolutely certain that it is not a political attack regarding the suspicion Ms Lim raised for the MPs to refute. She has stated ,crystal clear,in a chronological order of events that lead the public and prominent economists to suspect that GST will be increased by 2018 or 2019.
It is the PAP MPs who launched non-stop political attacks at her and demand her for an apology with regards to the untruthful,dishonest and low-standards kind of fabricated allegations upon her.
Ms Graceful is clearly at loss of word when odds are against her script written out of her imagination,keep repeating the same verses despite Ms Lim has explained her basis of suspicion
Mr Heng didn’t even listen to Ms Lim’s explanation,but bulldoze his demand for apology."
Au Kah Kay wrote, "The Speaker of Parliament has already concluded the debate 2 days ago. Yet, CHT and Indranee continue to harp on the issue ad nauseum. Can you all move on to more important matters and stop this pettiness?"
Rey Ong wrote,
"If parliament is not the right place to raise such questions , then where else? Question becomes allegation, debate becomes attack. Politic is really dirty. Isn't it good enough if she's wrong, point out what is right and let the people decide who to believe instead of wasting so much time harping on this? Officebearers are paid using taxpayers money but use their taxpayer funded time to play politics. Is this fair to us? I have no preference for any political party but I just can't stand this kind of time wasting activities when the focus of parliament should be on making the country better, not gaining political leverage!"
Steven Liao wrote, "Parliament debate is not about who can attack who in the next election. It is about what is best for Singaporeans. You idiot."
Paul McGhee wrote, "Why don't PAP just grow up, move on and start doing things to improve the life of Singaporeans instead of acting like the (usually cowardly) class bully??Answer - because they know no better than to criticise others, rather than doing what they are paid millions to do."
Eu Choon Leng wrote, "Narrow minded and lack lustre. You look too cute to be an attack dog. If you doing this to show some colour among the 4G pap leadership, you have failed miserably."
Koh Woo Lin wrote, "Sylvia Lim should follow PAP saying: This is a serious allegation against the WP that they will use this issue to attack the PAP during next election. There are no actual facts and basis that the WP will do it during the next election. This is accusing the WP as hypocritical and dishonest and i hope the PAP will retract this statement within 4 days and apologise to WP in the parliament. If no apology made, it shows how low standard and dishonourable the PAP party is."
Gerard Tan wrote, "Oh yes, GIC lost $46.1 billion, Lee saga, taxing above taxing not only monthly usages but now aiming online purchases as well, none parliamentary broadcasting which government finds its not important for own nation to view, minimum improvement on increasing own citizen population, lost of nation's identity etc. What serious mistakes could be made worse? No apologies?"
Song Moh Chia wrote, "Don't be a sore loser to predict this and that! You think opposition MPs are like you and your colleagues? So fond of attacking opposition so as to intimidate them, sorry CHEE they are not as low class and low standards like you!
All these whiles, you PAP have been behaving like a pack of wild wolves and are so use to your autocratic and arrogant style. Move on and solve many important issues facing Singapore!"
Phillip Lim wrote, "What a hypocrite. You and your fellow party ministers made baseless allegations against WP.
But accused them of doing so. Shame on you and your party. What a mockery to Singapore's future that you all are the so-called 4th Gen leadership."
Steve Lim wrote, "Haa! Now he is passing an assumption, allegation and accusation against oppositions. Now who should apologize? SGapologySaga continues. No thanks to the DisGraceFul MPs that made 95% of the whole budget talk debate about demanding an apology."
Enrique Dementoz Emilio wrote, "Do not accuse WP for what they haven't done or no intention to, the public demands apology for this."
Rey Ong wrote, "Because now PM officially looking for 4G leaders , so everyone work hard to gain credibility. But to gain credibility by this kind of tactics is really. Please, spend more time work harder to make Singaporean lives better rather than playing politics. Signed, a normal Singaporean."
Jessica Chan wrote,
"The PAP scholars are playing the game with us: Streisand Effect! LOL. The more they wish to silent the Opp, the more it gets publicized in favour of WP. The Opposition will never buckle, esp now that they know SL has the support of Singaporeans on her defense , and also if she were to apologize, she would lose both respect and future support that is needed to keep them moving. PAP dumb dumb doesn't know how to play the game leh."