SDP's Alternatives: Cost of Living

Cost of living must be lowered

06 November 2010


In our visits to residents in the various constituencies, one issue that keeps cropping up is the high cost of living in Singapore and how people are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

According to the Ministry of Manpower, the median income for Singporeans in 2009 is $2,420 a month. Is this sufficient? We present below a breakdown of monthly expenses for an average household of four persons (two parents and two children):

 


 Average monthly expenditure for a household of four

Housing instalment   500
Water, electricity and gas                      
  200
Meals ($10/person/day) 1,200
Transport ($2.50/person/working day)      
  200
Medical bills (ave per month)     50
Handphone and Internet   100
Household supplies   100
School fees and supplies   100
Total 2,450

 

Note that the estimates we have provided are rather conservative, that is, the expenses of many households maybe much higher. It is clear that the income of $2,420 is not enough for basic monthly expenses of $2,450 which, by the way, do not include expenditure for medical emergencies and recreation. And there is nothing for retirement.


In other words, you just go to work everyday and return home without doing anything else. Is this the kind of life that you want?

Many households have to resort to both parents working in order to be able to meet with the high cost of living. What about the children? Who is going to look after them? Employing maids is not the solution as maids cannot replace parental love and discipline. Besides, employing domestic help has its problems too.

The SDP's solutions

To overcome this problem and help Singaporeans meet daily expenses and lead a better life, we must push for the following SDP's alternative proposals:

1. Lower prices

Prices of basic items and services used daily must be lowered. This can be done by:

a. reducing the GST from 7% to 3% and abolishing the GST for essential items such as rice, oil, medicines, etc,
b. lowering your PUB bills,
c. making sure that our public hospitals reduce charges and stop making a profit from Singaporeans,
d. bringing down bus and MRT fares by at least 20%, and
e. ensuring that the government increases public expenditure for the poor.


2. Increase the wages

Wages of workers must be increased through schemes like Minimum Wage. This will put more money into the pockets of Singaporeans. Higher incomes means greater spending power for Singaporeans. This will benefit businesses and help the economy to become stronger.

3. Implement the Singaporeans First Policy

We want to rely more on Singaporeans and less on cheap foreign labour. The high number of foreign workers presently in Singapore will only lower wages further because if there are more workers in the country, then employers can pick and choose the ones who will work longer and longer for less and less. We must stop the PAP from raising our population to 6.5 million because this island cannot cope with so many people.