The GSTV is a permanent scheme introduced in February this year, within the 2012 Budget, so that, Thaman Shanmugaratnam may argue, “GST plus other schemes will not be regressive”. Well, it doesn't seem to quite work out as originally planned, does it? What semblance of altruism traceable in Thaman's effort is torpedoed by some smart aleck.
When it comes to splurging on Herman Miller chairs or designer Brompton bikes, the mandarin scholars sure know how to tweak the system to maximise their benefit. When it comes to fine-tuning what the less mortals are supposed receive as relief from the punitive taxes, they also know how to tweak the system so their departmental budget for personal comfort is not diminished. They may pat their own backs for being clever, but karma has a way of hitting back.
A family relative who used to work at the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) told of the time when international bids were called for the purchase of 5 quayside gantry cranes for offloading containers. All the big time tenderers met at the table for the bid opening, resembling a mini United Nations, with representatives from USA, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Japan. One by one, their sealed bids were opened, and confidential prices read aloud. It was a shock then to the vendors when the PSA director in charge announced that the port authority had decided to buy 3 cranes instead of 5, and would the vendors please make a new submission. Many stomped out of the room in outrage, furious with the gambit to bargain them down, now that everybody's carefully guarded prices were revealed to all and sundry. Even within PSA circles, protests of foul play made the grapevine. The clever director tried to shout down his critics with, "If it's for the good fo PSA, who's to say it is wrong?"
Only two vendors bothered to participate in the re-bid.