atans1

PAP voter cheers on Auntie, says Fu talking cock

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 10/03/2018 at 11:28 am

Here’s two FB posts by a senior lawyer who admitted that he voted for the PAP in past elections

I think that Minister Grace Fu should drop the threat to refer to the Committee of Privileges.

Such a display of arrogance and high-handedness doesn’t impress me, and should not impress Singaporeans.

The facts are this, simply.

The G has said since 2013 that revenues must be raised. I was long aware of PM’s comments at the time. So we know that taxes are going up at some time in the future, but not when.

I was also aware of DPM’s 2015 remarks that the G had enough revenue for the decade. This implied that GST might not need to be raised this decade but it was not a clear, direct and explicit promise not too. Neither was PM’s remarks at the 2017 PAP Convention a categorical promise or confirmation.

The was much discussion in 2017 about an impeding announcement of a GST increase, promoted at least in part by PM’s and Minister Heng’s remarks.

Many economists speculated about the timing of the GST increase. Many of them thought it would be this decade, notwithstanding the G’s earlier comments.

For myself, I was not sure what the G would announce in Budget 2018. I expected an announcement of GST to be raised, but I had no confidence whether it would be after or before 2021.

Does this mean that I thought the G dishonest in its earlier comments?

No, not at all, because while earlier statements were made about having sufficient revenue for the decade, these statements did not amount to a clear promise not to raise the GST in this term of government.

If the G thinks the earlier remarks were clear and categorical, so that citizens could have no doubts, how does it explain why so many reputable economists were willing to entertain thoughts of an increase this decade?

And later

Having read all the transcripts, Minister Fu’s ability to understand the debate seemed dodgy at best. As Bertha has written elsewhere, she seemed out of her depth and one has to say that this impression is not without basis.

For example, she deplored the fact that Sylvia Lim “continued with this accusation” after the G’s explanations but what does the Honourable Minister mean by that? Sylvia said clearly that she can accept, in light of the G’s response as to its intentions, that her suspicions may be wrong, but she simply does not accept that there was no basis for suspicion when originally made.

I rather struggle to see how this position could reasonably found a complaint to the Committee of Privileges except for a hyper-sensitive government – and that should NOT be encouraged.

Minister Fu also failed to give any coherent explanation of how – if the G’s contention that their intentions not to raise taxes this decade has been made clear in numerous statements pre-budget 2018 – that numerous respected economists could have entered and speculated about exactly that possibility.

Her answer was this : “But having said so, after she has brought the matter here, we have laid down the facts to her. And yet she continued to insist on the allegation. This is the difference between what we say in this chamber and what economists, analysts say outside this chamber.”

This answer of course says nothing about whether Minister Fu would claim that the G had previously made its position so clear that entertaining the possibility of an increase this decade was an unreasonable idea. And probably Minister Fu would, with respect, struggle to make a convincing claim here.

Instead, Minister Fu focuses her complaint simply on Sylvia’s (alleged) continued maintenance of her claim despite the G’s response.

But what does this (alleged) continued maintenance consist of?

Sylvia made plain that in light of the G’s insistance on its position, her suspicion might be wrong as a matter of fact (although the true facts are only known to Cabinet).

But she maintains that, when made, the suspicion was not without basis and essentially Minister Fu had no coherent explanation for why that was the case. She simply is unhappy that Sylvia did not withdraw the original allegation or apologise.

But why should Sylvia, unless the G could demonstrate that there was no basis for suspicion when the claim was first made – and here Minister Fu has no explanation (see above). For example, she did not respond to the question of whether all the economists who speculated on a budget increase this decade after after DPM’s 2015 statement and PM’s PAP Convention speech were thinking in an unreasonable way.

So to threaten to refer to the Committee of Privileges in these circumstances simply reflects poorly on Minister Fu, with the greatest of respect.

 

 

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