"Now its time for me to explain to the people
why this GST increase is necessary" - PAP MP quoted in papers.
See what happens when you don't have an outstanding newspaper like the Straits Times and a wise govt that can take any policy and explain why things are done for your own good.
The Hong Kong govt made a grave error of consulting its citizens on the implementation of GST. Instead of going all out to explain to the people that the GST is implemented for their own good, they went to seek the views of the people. Worst still they respected the views of the citizens on the matter and will work on alternative methods to broaden the tax base. What kind of govt is that?! Thank goodness the govt in Singapore has higher standards than that, the PAP never have to come down and allow their well considered brilliant ideas such as GST increase to be altered by unqualified ordinary citizens. Who are they to tell the govt what to do?!
After wasting 6 months consulting the people, the Hong Kong govt has to abandon the GST idea. Didn't they tell the people that it was implemented in Singapore by the PAP so it cannot possibly be a bad idea? I'm sure that if the Hong Kong people had known the PAP has implemented it in Singapore, would have concluded that GST has to be the best solution for collecting taxes.
Ordinary Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that implements policies that are always in their interest. We can look forward to the coming GST increase, after the GST is increased our lives will improve because it is increased for our own good. I really pity the people of Hong Kong, they have no GST increases to look forward to and they will miss out on alot of good that the GST brings.
Tax retreat draws praise from all but accountants
Political parties and retail and catering sector representatives have hailed the government's surprise decision not to pursue the GST proposal.
Michael Ng Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Political parties and retail and catering sector representatives have hailed the government's surprise decision not to pursue the GST proposal. A leading accountants' association expressed disappointment, characterizing it as a political decision.
The proposed tax had been strongly opposed by legislators across the political spectrum since the public consultation exercise began in July. In calling off further promotions, Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said Tuesday it was apparent the government had failed to convince a majority in the public to accept GST as the main option to widen Hong Kong's narrow tax base.
Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong founding chairman and Executive Councillor Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said Tang's decision would be welcomed by the public. "The community has clearly expressed its views over the past five months of consultation. As such the government has made a wise move," he said.
One of the most vocal critics of the GST was the pro-business Liberal Party which even organized a rare protest rally against its introduction in early August.
In lauding the government's decision to drop the proposal, party vice chairwoman and Executive Councillor Selina Chow Liang Suk-yee said that since the public had also acknowledged the need to widen the tax base, it would be better for the government to seek a consensus on other possible options rather than prolong existing arguments about the GST.
"I feel that, instead of wasting more time, it would be a better choice if we can move on right now and reach a consensus on this issue," she said.
Democratic Party legislator Sin Chung-kai said the government was acting in line with the wishes of the public, but he would not comment when asked if he thought Tang was backing down in the face of public opposition.
"After six months of consultation, including reaching out to district councils and contacting the grassroots level through other channels, the government has already [received feedback on] public worries over the GST," Sin said. "I view it as an active step taken by the government in responding to the general call of public. Our party welcomes such a move."
Related stakeholders, particularly operators in the retail and catering industry, also heaved a sigh of relief when told of the government's decision. Hong Kong Retail Management Association chairman Bankee Kwan Pak- hoo said the decision would help end one of the biggest uncertainties hanging over the retail sector in recent months.
"The decision will have a positive impact on the retail sector as it has eliminated fears of what would happen should a GST be introduced. It will help the development of the retail industry and probably attract more investments to Hong Kong," Kwan said.
"Indirectly, it will also boost the local employment situation as retailers will now be willing to hire more staff to expand their businesses." Coalition Against Sales Tax convenor and legislator Vincent Fang Kang admitted the news was a surprise, but said he was delighted.
He believed it would inject further momentum into the retail and tourism markets during the upcoming holidays.
Paul Chan Mo-po, president of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which has long supported the introduction of a GST, said the decision to shelve further consultations was taken in line with political considerations.
"It is vital for the whole community that we actively explore ways to resolve the narrow tax base problem in the near future," Chan said.
"Otherwise, the government's fiscal situation could once again lapse into serious deficits in times of economic downturns."
Chan suggested the government could consider introducing a land border crossing levy, or adding progressive bands to salaries and profits taxes, so as to provide additional and stable tax revenue.
The former chairman of the government's Advisory Committee on New Broad-based Taxes, Moses Cheng Mo-chi, said he was not surprised.
But he said the problem of a narrow tax base remained and that a solution was needed.
He invited the public to offer constructive suggestions.