a community of singaporeans

$200 GST offset, but so much more to pay ad infinitum

Posted by theonlinecitizen on June 14, 2007

This is a letter by TOC writer Leong Sze Hian to the Straits Times

I REFER to StarHub’s announcement that it will increase cable TV subscriptions by between $4 for basic groups and $10 for sports content.

This is an increase of 17 to 67 per cent. The reason given was that ‘the price hike is a natural result of ongoing increases in prices of pay-TV content”, without any mention of the GST increase.

When I received my GST offset letter informing me that I will receive $200, I began to recall the things that I have had to pay more for in recent months.

Over the last 12 months or so, there have been media reports about increases or announced increases in electricity, taxi fares, development charge for non-landed residential sites, refuse collection fees, food courts upgrading and food prices, bus and MRT fares, one- and two-room HDB rental, university fees, Goods and Services Tax (GST), postage, property tax, registration fees for medicines, polyclinic fees, hospital fees, car park charges, Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), Nets charges, ElderShield premiums, removal of medical fees guidelines, plastic bags, hospitals means-testing, electronic share application fee, a second postage rates increase, and now cable TV, et cetera, in chronological order.

All these increases or announced increases are not even related to the impending GST increase, except for SingPost’s postage rates increase which is ‘specifically to offset the GST hike’.

With the economy booming, resulting in increased revenue, profits, surpluses, possibly lower costs due to economies of scale, et cetera, why is it that prices can only go up but never lowered, or at least kept level?

With the assurance that government fees will be frozen for one year after the GST hike, I hope that particularly those fees for essential goods and services that are not in the ‘frozen list”, like electricity, taxi fares, ERP, bus and MRT fares, university fees, health-care costs, et cetera, will not continue to rise again soon.

Leong Sze Hian


5 Responses to “$200 GST offset, but so much more to pay ad infinitum”

  1. […] songs, one of which, Stand up for Singapore, was remade into Fare up for Singapore. In the light of recent events, a better title would be price up for Singapore; the latest being the raise in subscription fees to […]

  2. aygee said

    On the Starhub issue, my observation is that the Management has become LAZY, due to the fact that they’re a monopoly and they’re protected by the Law from any competition.

    We do not hear of any effort where they seek to cut down other cost centres in their organisation to offset the rise in content costs.

    We do not hear of any effort to increase their sponsorship/advertising rates. We also do not hear of an increase on their part to get MORE sponsors.

    The simple answer to Starhub’s cost rist is to open up the broadcasting licenses. I am very very sure that Malaysia’s Astro or Thailand’s UBC can offer Singapore football fans a package that’s more affordable than Starhub’s.

    The consumer stands to gain. Also, in the long run, Starhub stands to gain too. With competition, their Management will be more efficient to manage their P&L, profit and cost centres, and not always take the easy way out of passing the cost burden to the consumer.

  3. L said

    I always thought that the assurance that “government fees will be frozen for one year after the GST hike” a silly one. One year late when govt fees go up, the justification would be “we are increasing the fees because we said they would be frozen for one year (only)”.

    It’s like.. a burglar breaking into a house and saying “gimme your money and I’ll promise not to visit your house for the next one year.” And the the house owner is relieved.

  4. […] and rich, most ordinary Singaporeans who toil day in & day out to make ends meet and facing price increases will only get to see their GST credits for awhile before it goes to paying-off bills, loans, etc, […]

  5. Alex Har said

    I have always said that price increases are OK if there is better service..whihc means peopl can become more effective and efficient and will hence be able to better exploit opportunities. enjoy savings in other areas or have a better quality of life.

    The fact is that none of these increases help increase social productivity and only increase company profits and the bonus of their senior executives.

    Bus fares have increased but waits are are longer and buses more crowded…drivers more pressured and rude. Same with taxis.

    Same with polyclinics…etc.

    The sad fact is all these increases hit the low income groups badly…. those making the higher 4s, 5 and 6 figure monthly incomes don’t have to bat an eyelid.

    Ironicaly it is also the well to do that have a voice….And with all PAP Member of Parliament ultimately needing to row the boat the one way…whatever their true beliefs… who will speak up for the low income people?

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