Committee of Supply Debate – Speech by Faisal Manap

I am dismayed that the Government will be going ahead with the rise in the GST.

My main concern is with the impact on the low-income households. I note the government’s explanation that assistance will be provided to this segment of society via various schemes. Nonetheless, I believe any additional cost cutting measures will be much appreciated by our low-income families.

Sir, if I may cite one example, the application of GST on water tariffs, which already incorporates a Water Conservation Tax (WCT). I recall that when Mr Low Thia Khiang raised this issue, the Government had explained that the GST and WCT served different purposes, and that applying a value added tax on water tariffs was standard practice elsewhere.

Sir, we should consider if standard practices are helpful before adopting them. We are already taxing our citizens on their water usage via the WCT. Is there really a need to perform a double taxation on them with the GST as well?

I believe members can agree that there are still a substantial number of low-income Singaporeans, especially those living in HDB’s public rental flats who are struggling with their utility bills even though they are being assisted with U-saves rebates. WCT’s  amount may seems negligible to many but to low-income families, every cents and dollars count.

Sir, if  government disagrees with the call to abolish GST on WCT, can the government  seriously, to at least consider exempting GST on WCT for Singaporeans who are residing in the HDB’s public rental flats.

Thank you.