Excerpts from readers' letters: Zero-rate GST for basic necessities

ZERO-RATE GST FOR BASIC NECESSITIES

It is time the Government reviewed the goods and services tax to ensure that no group is suffering every time this tax is raised.

We should introduce zero-rate GST for goods that are basic necessities. In many countries, certain essential items are zero rated. Sure, GST vouchers are given to certain families to offset the impact of increase but these are discretionary and not a guaranteed permanent help.

Directly zero rating items that are basic necessities will be more helpful for the needy as well as the general public, and is a fairer way of levying taxes as those who can afford items beyond these basic necessities will pay taxes according to their consumption.

Susan Tan

EDUCATE CHILDREN ON ONLINE SCAMS

There have been several recent reports of people in Singapore falling victim to phone scams.

When discussing such incidents, the focus more often than not is on educating the elderly as they tend to be less tech-savvy.

However, we should not neglect another significant group - schoolchildren. Many children, even those below 10, are active on social media.While children may be savvy in using smartphones and navigating social media, they may not be discerning enough to detect online scams.

It is high time parents and teachers educated children to be smart users on social media.

Sean Lim

GAMING ADDICTION WARNING TIMELY

Dr Quek Koh Choon's letter on gaming addiction was enlightening (Don't play around with gaming addiction; Jan 8).

Many people are glued to various electronic devices at home and in public spaces. This habit has even spread to some workplaces.

Sometimes, sales staff, especially during off-peak hours, are too preoccupied with their gadgets to notice customers, let alone help them with their needs.

How can one expect good service from sales staff who spend their time on their electronic devices instead of attending to customers?

But many of us are also guilty of promoting this habit. Recently, I saw a mother hand her toddler an electronic gadget when he started to get restless. It made me wonder if this was a good way to deal with the child.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

TIPS ON DRIVING IN FLOOD WATERS

Judging by the photos of stalled vehicles in the recent flood, it is obvious that many Singaporeans are unfamiliar with safe driving in flash floods (Towing services kept busy in Monday's flood; Jan 10).

Here are some quick pointers.

Before attempting to drive through a flooded road, drivers should observe the depth of flood waters, such as from other vehicles travelling in front.

It would not be advisable to risk driving through the flood if the water level is above the exhaust pipe and around the bumper area.

Once drivers have decided to take the plunge, they should remember to drive slowly in low gear, and keep their foot constantly on the accelerator to keep the water out of the exhaust pipe. Brake or control the speed of the vehicle with only the handbrake, as lifting your leg from the accelerator pedal will easily culminate in a stalled vehicle.

Seah Yam Meng

WHAT AILS SINGAPORE FOOTBALL?

I was shocked to read of Balestier Khalsa chairman Mr S. Thavaneson's decision to sign his players on a 11-month contract (A shift towards greater financial security; Dec 31)

If a couple of his players did really train with another club during the December period, then he should censure the culprits and not penalise the whole team.

Right now, Mr Thavaneson's actions look like exploitation.

A 11-month contract will mean significant savings for the club, in that the players are not paid a year-end bonus, but it reflects very badly on the club administrators.

Last year was a bad year for the Football Association of Singapore, its coaches and players. They made news for the wrong reasons.

I sometimes wonder why our football teams are not able to match the achievements of our water polo, basketball or women's netball teams. These sports are very robust and need total fitness, too.Something is seriously wrong.

Neo Poh Goon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2018, with the headline 'Excerpts from readers' letters'. Print Edition | Subscribe