Thursday, February 28, 2008

Insult to the Classics

Extracted from SGPolitics:

Sylvia Lim: There were signs the 2 point GST hike was really not needed

The signs were there a year ago that the two-point hike in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was not needed, NMP Sylvia Lim claimed. Back then, the Government’s own estimates had indicated it would have more than enough in its coffers to fund additional social spending, without having to raise the GST from 5 to 7 per cent.

Ms Lim reminded the House that her party had pointed out the projected increases in personal income tax and other revenue streams during last year’s Budget debate, and was criticised for doing so. Now, the record $6.45 billion Budget surplus has proven that the GST increase was ‘without compelling reasons’, she said.

By raising the GST, the Government has ‘compounded the inflation pressures on the people’, argued Ms Lim. Against a spike in prices of food, transport and other essentials, ‘adding on another 2 per cent on a higher base price has increased the cost of some items by more than 20 per cent’, she said.

Wages have not caught up with the rising cost of living, as ‘only very few people’s incomes have risen by 20 per cent since last year’. She urged the Government to also consider removing GST altogether on essential food items.

Mr Yeo Guat Kwang: Responded to Sylvia Lim’s GST comments by giving her a lesson on SALTED FISH

Sylvia Lim’s arguments reminded Mr Yeo Guat Kwang (Aljunied GRC) of a story by the classical Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zi. In the story, a fish in a shallow trench appeals to a passing scholar for help. The scholar tells the fish to wait while he fetches water from the sea.

‘By the time you come back, I will be a dried-up, preserved fish in the market,’ says the fish.

Now, said Mr Yeo, if the scholar were a People’s Action Party man, he would tell the fish: ‘I will give you a bit of water first, but come with me and I will show you how you can stand on your own.’

What about if Ms Lim met the fish, asked Mr Yeo Guat Kwang rhetorically.

He said that Ms Lim would probably say: ‘I have no water to give you, but I sympathise with you from the bottom of my heart. I will ask my government to give you all their water, and tell of your plight to the world.’

Concluded Mr Yeo: ‘Eventually the fish will still end up in the salted fish bin in the market.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS is the one of the lamest retorts made by a PAP MP on Sylvia Lim’s GST comments.

It is a great insult for the Classics to be invoked, moreover completely out of context, as a "rebuke" to a well intentioned message from Ms Lim that the GST hike was unnecessary. Anyone who has knowledge (I dont, fyi. I only read Historical and Military Books) would have understood that this reply by Mr Yeo is 牛头不对马嘴...

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