If you need proof that the government’s spin is working, look no further than the Straits Times Forum page!
Nov 21, 2006
‘No’ to minimum wage, ‘ Yes’ to GST hike
I REFER to the proposed GST increase from 5 to 7 per cent, to provide for those who are poor. There is indeed a pressing need to help lower-income Singaporeans caught in the globalisation tide.
Being a small-business owner, I can attest to this. I have many employees who earn less than $1,000 in basic salary and are the sole breadwinners (One such staff member hails from a family of 11). It is heart-rending hearing them bemoan the cost of living, utility bills, household expenses, etc. Much as I would like to pay them more, it is not possible to do so without affecting cost and the business’ survival.
The minimum-wage argument is not tenable. Should employers be forced to pay a minimum wage, many like myself would choose either not to hire because we cannot afford it, or not to set up shop in Singapore. This will result in lesser employment.
I am glad the Government has heeded the call to take care of the lower-income. Workfare is unique to Singapore and is a far better principle than welfare. Under workfare, hardworking Singaporeans are given a chance to level up whereas welfare destroys all incentive to work.
It will take some time for Singaporeans to accept the GST increase. I urge everyone to take a measured and rational approach and to support it as it is designed primarily to help poorer fellow citizens. In order to make the reason for the GST hike more persuasive, I suggest the Prime Minister gives a full account of the two-point increase by Budget 2007 – what is the exact dollar value and how much of each dollar will go into workfare.
Theodore Yeo Guan Huat