According to PM Lee, the GST hike will enable the the government to do more to help poor Singaporeans. This implies that without the GST hike, the government is unable to help poor Singaporeans. I don't believe this.
But anyway, if the government does really fulfil its promise to help poor Singaporeans, then I think that the GST hike is a good thing. The real question, as I see it, is whether the government will do as promised.
Am I too cynical? You'll have to pardon me. As an example of the establishment's mindset, take a look at this:
ST Nov 21, 2006
Foreigners get 4 in 10 bursaries given by NUS this year
But S'pore students come first, it says in response to some rumblings
By Education Correspondent, Sandra Davie
FOUR in 10 bursaries awarded by the National University of Singapore (NUS) this year went to foreigners, a move by the university to signal that it embraces talented students from anywhere.
But Singapore students will be catered for first, before the funds go out to foreign students.
The NUS financial aid office has offered 1,500 bursaries so far this year, with 60 per cent, or 900, going to Singaporeans. No local applicant who met the eligibility criterion of per capita monthly household income of up to $900 was turned away.
They were awarded bursaries ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.
Foreigners who could show proof of hardship took the rest of the bursaries, with each getting about $300 less than their local counterparts.
The move by NUS has led to rumblings among some alumni, students and parents, who called The Straits Times to complain about what they see as an 'inappropriately large number of bursaries' going to foreigners.
Their beef is that the bursaries are funded out of the NUS budget, which comes from taxpayers, and alumni contributions, which come mostly from Singaporeans, so why should so much of it go to foreigners, they ask.
Yet the government tells you that to be able to help poor Singaporeans, it needs to raise your GST. How cheeky.
What does NUS have to say in its own defence?
Whatever. You can bet your bottom cent that Mr Wang isn't ever going to donate a cent to his beloved alma mater NUS. Why should I? Even if I had a burning desire to help foreigners, I'd rather donate my money to Cambodian orphans, or Indonesian tsunami victims, or Afghan earthquake survivors.
When asked to comment, NUS reiterated that local students are given priority for bursaries, noting that all Singapore applicants who applied received them.
Foreign students also get less than locals, it said.
NUS vice-provost Lily Kong said its bursary scheme is in line with the university's commitment to ensure that no student is denied a university education due to financial difficulty.
Why should I instead use my money to help a foreigner get his degree in NUS?
Some foreigners who really need your help.
Technorati: Singapore; NUS; education.