Tax rise not a big deal for shoppers

THE increase in the goods and services tax (GST) that kicked in on Thursday seemed a non-event for shoppers in Orchard Road, who were drawn by big discounts and post-Christmas sales. 

They seemed mostly oblivious to the one percentage point increase. 

It also helped that many retailers had said they would absorb the GST increase for a while and many were offering discounts of up to 60%.  

Lucky draws and storewide sales ensured that locals and tourists continued to trawl Orchard Road malls clutching shopping bags on Thursday, a check found. 

Shopping at Takashimaya, Tan Wei Lin, 44, a business manager, described the hike as “negligible.” 

The bedsheets, shoes and clothes she bought for Chinese New Year cost her about S$300 (RM670).  

The additional GST would have come to just S$3 (RM6.70).  

“It’s not a big deal,” she said. 

In all, 13 of the 15 shoppers interviewed said the increase did not bother them. 

There was a public outcry just over a year ago when the Government announced that it intended to increase the GST from three to five per cent, the first rise since the tax was introduced in 1994.  

It later decided to stagger the increase over two years. 

Perhaps the upbeat forecast in Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s New Year message also helped to spur the “shop-till-you-drop” mood. 

Queues formed in department stores such as Takashimaya, as they did at big electronic chains. 

At the Polo Ralph Lauren store in Ngee Ann City, the shoppers admitted that the discounts were good enough to make them ignore the GST hike. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

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