The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) will be holding a forum on Budget 2020 tonight (4 Mar), during which its panellists will discuss the party’s alternative Budget proposals.
The forum, scheduled to be held at 8pm, will be led by SDP chairman Paul Tambyah.
The lineup of speakers comprises the party’s other members such as treasurer Bryan Lim, central executive committee (CEC) member Khung Wai Yeen and member Alfred Tan.
In its event description, SDP said that the forum offers an alternative to the PAP government’s budget which, according to the party, offers “no clear vision to take the nation forward”, particularly at a time when Singapore needs a transformative agenda to face unprecedented challenges ahead.
The forum launch, however, will not be open to the public due to concerns over the COVID-19 situation, and only members of the press are invited to attend.
The event will be posted live on SDP’s social media platforms, through which viewers will be invited to ask questions and interact with the panel.
Budget 2020 “full of little tweaks and complex schemes but short on bold moves”: SDP urges Govt to stop GST hike
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered his Budget 2020 speech last month on 18 Feb, in which he announced, among other measures, that the Government will eventually increase the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate by 2025.
In the meantime, he said, the GST rate will remain at 7 percent next year due to current economic conditions.
Dr Tambyah in a video response the same day said that the “highly regressive” tax, which “makes the poor pay a far higher proportion of their incomes in taxes than the wealthy”, is only deferred for a year.
“This means that the GST rise to 9% could well come in right after the elections, perhaps in the year 2022,” he highlighted.
The SDP chairman also pointed out that the Budget did not “promise to rein in the rises in bus fares, water and electricity charges, school bus fees and all the other costs which burden Singaporeans”.
Mr Tan, an entrepreneur and an SDP member, opined that raising GST in the next couple of years is “foolish”, and urges the Government to put an end to its plan of increasing the GST rate.
“This outbreak (COVID-19) will surely impact us and the world economically and socially, with its effects possibly felt right through the next few years. We call on the government to stop looking at increasing the regressive GST,” he said.
Mr Tan added: “The government collects more than $11 billion in GST, which affects everybody no matter how old or how poor you are. And yet, it set up the GST Voucher Fund which has been paying out about $800 million a year, a paltry 7% of what it collects from the GST, to help out the low-income households and the elderly.”
In that vein, SDP proposed an alternative system that will provide for “zero-rated basic food, necessities and healthcare”, which will ease the burden of vulnerable segments of Singapore’s population, as they will not need to spend more cash unnecessarily.