930,000 Singaporeans residing in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats will be given GST Vouchers this month. The Utility-Save (U-Save) rebate is part of the permanent GST Voucher scheme is and distributed every three months.
The rebate is up to S$100 depending on the type of HDB flat. Eligible households will continue to receive the voucher regardless of their electricity provider meanwhile non-eligible households are households whose members own more than one property.
Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat said, the GST rate will increase from 7 to 9 per cent at the People’s Action Party (PAP) convention at the Singapore Expo. Although urged by party activists to not speak of it, he defended by saying it is a responsible action to inform the people about it.
“If I don’t bring it up, the opposition parties will – so it’s better that you hear it directly from me,” said Mr Heng. “You have my commitment that we will help Singaporeans cope with the change,” he added.
The rebate announcement has triggered various reactions from online users. Penning their opinion on Facebook pages of The Online Citizen, Channel NewsAsia and The Straits Time. Certain online users are replying sarcastically towards the situation. They seem to view it as a mere joke set by the government.
Some of them are saying that it is unfair for only HDB residents to receive the voucher. The income of each household can’t be verified, in order to be considered qualified to receive the rebate. Some HDB households may have higher income compared to residents who aren’t residing there.
Melvin Tan said his friends with high incomes live in the HDB flats which makes the distribution unfair. It goes against the purpose of the rebate.
A number of online users are expressing that the voucher will not offset their monthly utility bills. The price hike will merely balance out the voucher amount to the utility bills. They voice out that some citizens will not understand the calculations behind it and assume it is profiting them. Few online users have given examples of how they feel about the entire situation as well.
Meanwhile, some urge citizens to accept what is given and not complain about it. They explain how it is the people’s money that is spent by the Government for the rebate. “Complaining will not do anything for us,” said Adawiyah Nur Qarirah Nuwairah. She further added that complaints are not Governments concern and asked citizens to work any type of job to save up for personal funding.
Suggestions are also expressed in the Facebook page comments. They prefer big amounts to be spent on other more troubling situations that are occurring. Marc Ho Ban Loon pointed out ten different ways the Government could help citizens and country. Lawrence Teo urged the government to release certain percentage of Central Provident Fund (CPF) before the next election instead of GST.