On every 23rd of the month is ‘Pay Day’ in my company. Every staff looks eagerly forward to this day. After all, everybody working day and night precisely just for this day of the month! If it falls on weekend, Pay Day will be earlier on the Friday before the 23rd of the month.
I just met Train Officer ‘Kakak’ at the platform when he took over from me. He was looking grouchy and moody. He was foul temper when everyone was smiling happily.
Why? I asked him. My pay kena tahan or freezed he said. What happened?
It seems that early in the morning, Train Officer Kakak tried to withdraw his salary from the ATM but no money came out. Called up the bank and he was told that IRAS – Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore held his full month salary.
Kakak panicked and called up his wife to check all correspondence from the government. The wife informed that there was a letter from IRAS asking for payment of $110 property tax. Kakak had overlooked. It’s now overdue.
When kakak called up IRAS, the officer confirmed that his pay was frozen. It will only be released after the payment made. It would take three days.
Kakak was furious. He demanded to speak to a higher officer since that officer speaking to him can’t change the policy and can’t do anything except to confirm his predicament. The higher officer told Kakak that if he agreed to allow IRAS deduct the $110, his salary would be returned to him after 5pm today! Of course, Kakak agreed to their demand.
Question is why did IRAS freeze Kakak’s more than $2,000 salary when he only owed them a paltry $110? Kakak told me he need the money to pay his multitude of bills i.e. utilities, conservancy, handphone etc, family grocery, for his children’s, wife’s and parents’ allowances etc
Kakak just happened to be careless and overlooked paying his property tax resulting in so much stress in our already stressful living when every payday is bills paying day. Majority of us depend on our monthly pay to survive. We are living on peanuts from hand to mouth with no extra cash so to speak.
He said he doesn’t mind at all if they just deduct the $110 owed to them and return the balance to him. He also doesn’t mind if they even charge him for late payment interest or fine or whatever – up to them lah! He need the salary for his family and his living expenses.
Kakak says those people got no family? No compassion? Cold hearted! He was obviously very pissed off. Take money from the government is not easy but they can just ‘hijack’ your pay like that.
Is it not an act of “overkill”? Killing an ant with an axe? Overbearing beyond any sense of proportion?
Imagine if Kakak and his wife about to pay for their marketing in a supermarket via Nets – would it not be humiliating for them if there is no money inside his bank account and would have to leave empty handed avoiding all the stares with the cashier having punched in all the items? Langgar Tiang right?
It is the sacred duty of every citizen to pay taxes but certainly not under such humiliating circumstances. How would you feel if you were Train Officer Kakak caught in such a bind? Langgar Tiang right? Pray tell me if I’m talking nonsense here? I would like to hear from you dear readers.