Will Heng Swee Keat Stop Lying About The Government’s Finances?
On Friday Sylvia Lim raised the issue of whether the Government had raised test balloons before the Budget to see whether it could get away with raising GST now but had backed down after negative public reaction. Immediately she was attacked by Shanmugam, who as one of the PAP’s most frequently deployed attack dogs is always prepared to tie himself in knots and talk nonsense if required by his masters. Then this was followed by my old Cambridge colleague and second-class degree holder Heng, who said,
“Now that Ms Lim has had an opportunity to check the record, will she withdraw her allegation, as an honourable MP should, and apologise to the House? Or does she still hold she has carte blanche to raise any and every suspicion, rumour or falsehood in Parliament, and continue to insist on them regardless of the facts?
“MPs are entitled to raise suspicions in Parliament, if they honestly believe them – but honest belief requires factual basis. And when clear factual replies have been given, an honourable MP should either refute them with further facts, or acknowledge them and withdraw their allegations, especially if the allegations had insinuated lack of candour or wrongdoing on the part of the Government.”
I do not generally have a lot of time for Sylvia Lim and her fellow WP MPs and NCMPs. They are a spineless self-censoring and self-serving bunch who are more concerned with collecting salaries and making money from town council management (in other words what the PAP do on a national scale) than they are in performing an Opposition’s proper role which is to be fearless in holding the Government to account.
I remember the rift between my father and Low Thia Kiang started when Low refused to ask any questions in Parliament about the Hotel Properties scandal back in 1995, in particular ones that would have shown clearly that LHL and LKY were probably guilty of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Later Sylvia Lim was my father’s protege in the early years of this century but said in a state media interview that seeing my father surrounded by papers and having to deal with so many lawsuits she could not see the point and went off to join Low. That was no doubt a shrewd financial decision, at least until the independent committee of Aljunied Hougang Town Council, headed by my brother, hit her, Low and Pritam Singh with a lawsuit seeking to recover millions of dollars paid to the management company.
However I am even less of a fan of the PAP and their attack dogs and bullies, particularly when they are second-class or third-class intellects foisted upon Singaporeans in the name of a fake self-justifying “meritocracy.” It is a pity that Sylvia Lim and the rest of the WP generally meekly observe the PAP’s OB markers and back down in the face of intimidation. As Pritam said to me, “JBJ was like a meteor in the sky but we have wives and family to think about.” The responsibility of the Opposition in any democracy is to raise suspicions and to push the Government to give the people the facts. Given the imbalance in resources available and that the PAP operate on the basis of keeping Singaporeans in the dark as much as possible and treating them like not very intelligent children, Opposition MPs should not apologise for allegedly not having the facts. The problem is that Singaporeans have been brainwashed into thinking that any questioning at all of the PAP Government or the privileges of the Familee will lead to gridlock, chaos, racial riots and general societal breakdown.
These are the questions that Sylvia Lim should be asking:
- Will the Honourable Minister apologise to the House for introducing such a misleading and dishonest Budget?
- Will the Honourable Minister not acknowledge that his calculation of the Budget surplus is dishonest in that he includes under current expenditure capital contributions to funds and trusts?
- Will the HM not agree that this means that the claim that the Net Investment Returns Contributions (NIRC) finance current spending is false and that in effect money is recycled from one account to another with little real spending taking place?
- Will the HM not be transparent as to what proportion of capital injections and grants to organisations in the Budget is current spending and what is just recycling of the NIRC?
- Will the HM explain why it is necessary to prefund capital expenditure and also why capital expenditure on infrastructure and long lived assets is expensed against current revenue rather than over the lives of the assets?
- Will the HM publish clear figures as to the real General Government surplus (including those of all state-owned entities)?
- Will the HM explain why if the real surplus appears to be in the region of $40 billion per annum he needs to contemplate raising GST?
- Will the HM be transparent about why the Government needs to save so much of the surplus allegedly for the next generation when historically each generation has been much richer than the one before it and in a hundred years time we will probably be five times richer than we are today?
- Can the HM explain why many of the funds into which he or his predecessor Tharman have injected billions no longer appear in the Statement of Assets and Liabilities? I refer in particular to the Productivity Fund which is under the control of the PM. No accounts have been published as far as I am aware. Has the money been lost or misused?
I could go on as the list of questions to which Singaporeans deserve answers is literally endless. However, despite the venom displayed by Heng and Shanmugam the PAP must be pleased to have only MPs like Sylvia (who at least speaks unlike the perpetually silent Chen Show Mao who appears to have learnt nothing about democracy despite his Taiwanese and American background) to deal with. The WP serve the purpose of keeping real Opposition out of Parliament. The PAP know this which is why they will probably not seek to destroy the WP completely. Indeed they must be looking forward to seeing the current generation of WP leadership replaced at the next election by even more vacuous PAP-worshipping fake Opposition and media stars like Nicole Seah as seems increasingly likely.