1980 was a significant year. It was the year that Ted Turner established CNN and Steve Jobs' Apple went public.
It was also the year that the SDP was born.
Back then, a few Singaporeans had come together to form a political organisation to check the PAP and to look for a better way for our nation. We have since grown to become a competent, constructive and compassionate party that has occupied a meaningful place in our nation's political landscape.
Through the years, we never wavered in our commitment to speak up for our fellow Singaporeans. To us, politics is not about self-glorification. Neither is it about enriching ourselves. Rather, it is about speaking up against an all-powerful, uncaring and elitist ruling party.
In the last elections, PM Lee Hsien Loong asked voters to trust the PAP and promised that the government cares for us and will work to improve our lives.
He has not kept his promise. He has increased our cost of living by raising water prices, Town Council fees, healthcare costs, electricity rates, bus fares, school fees, etc. Soon, he will raise the GST. He has brought in even more foreign workers to compete with us for jobs. The future for Singaporeans, young and old, are looking increasingly bleak.
Trust the PAP? Trust doesn't come from what you say, it comes from what you do.
Worse, we were told that the prices of our flats would never fall. But now, the PAP admits that our flats will decline in value until they become worthless at the end of the 99-year lease.
The ministers have little to worry about, they lavish themselves with astronomical salaries. PM Lee collects $220,000 a month. Even the junior entry-level ministers are paid $100,000 a month. How long do we average Singaporeans have to work to earn that amount?
And while they live in their bungalows and mansions, low-wage workers sleep in void-decks and 24-hour MacDonald's outlets because they have nowhere else to go, our elderly poor have to clear tables and wash toilets to survive, and poor families with young children are evicted from their flats because they cannot afford the rent.
The indifference of this government to suffering is disturbing. It is a government that has lost its way, utterly bereft of moral values.
We must find our way back. We must find our nation's heart again because a people without a heart is a people without a future. The SDP is committed to changing this by building a future of promise and hope for Singapore. We do this because we are committed to our beliefs.
And what are these beliefs?
We believe in justice and freedom, in giving everyone the opportunity to succeed, not just the rich.
We believe in giving the voiceless a voice, in empowering the powerless, and in a fair system where all of us are equal, prosperous and happy.
We believe in progress that is measured by our happiness and quality of life, not just material gain; one where people come before profits, rights before riches, and wisdom before wealth.
Based on these beliefs, we have drawn up an alternative vision for Singapore. It is an alternative based on hope, not fear; one where we appeal to our better angels and not our basest, most selfish instincts.
Imagine a Singapore where we don't constantly struggle with the cost of living, where our CPF savings are returned to us, where we don't have to unfairly compete with foreigners for employment, where our poor have a roof over their heads, and where opportunity and quality jobs abound for our youth.
Well, you don't have to. Such a future can become reality if you support the SDP.
Yes, 1980 was a good year and we have had quite a journey since then. Along the way, the PAP has attacked us relentlessly. But we remain undeterred. We press on. Perhaps, this is why Singaporeans say that we are pah see boh zhao.
It is with this never-say-die, can-do spirit that we continue to serve this country, and serve it with pride and humility. It is in this spirit – the spirit that points the way forward – the we invite you, dear Singaporeans, to build a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow with us.
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