The Big Story: Claims that GST hike disproportionately hurts the poor are misguided, says Lawrence Wong

SPH Brightcove Video
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong says opposition MPs’ objections to raising the GST rate due to offsets being temporary and that the tax disproportionately impacts the poor are “misguided claims” that ignore the way that GST is implemented here.

Catch the latest news video reports on The Big Story, The Straits Times' weekday online news programme.

Delivering his Budget round-up speech in Parliament on Wednesday (March 2), Finance Minister Lawrence Wong addressed opposition MPs' objections to raising the GST rate.

He said "it's not true" that the hike hurts the poor, and the timing of the GST hike had been carefully considered. It could not be continually delayed, given pressing revenue needs.

Responding to MPs' suggestions on alternative tax options to the GST hike, Mr Wong said a good mix of all three types of taxes - income-based, asset-based and consumption-based - is needed.

This is to ensure that Singapore's revenue base remains diversified and resilient, while achieving its objectives of being fair and progressive.

He also explained why solely raising personal income taxes or property taxes will not be feasible.

In other headlines, the Russian army claimed on Wednesday it had taken control of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson. This comes as Moscow's invasion of the pro-Western country entered its seventh day.

"The Russian divisions of the armed forces have taken the regional centre of Kherson under full control," defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in televised remarks.

He added that that public services and transport were operating as usual.

Meanwhile, there was more destruction in Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, where Russian airborne troops have landed, sparking immediate and "ongoing" fighting.

This comes as US President Joe Biden slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin in for what he called a premeditated and unprovoked invasion. Mr Biden made these remarks on Tuesday at his first formal State of the Union speech.

In Singapore headlines, the six-monthly medical examination for migrant domestic workers and other female work permit holders will be deferred, amid the surge in Covid-19 cases here.

This is to ease the patient load and pressure faced by healthcare providers, especially general practitioners clinics and polyclinics, the Ministry of Manpower said on Wednesday.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.