Many Singaporeans continue to express their anxiety over the high cost of living as the Singapore Democrats continue our groundwork. In past weeks, we have been visiting town centres within the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
This GRC adjoins the Bukit Panjang constituency where the SDP has established a beach-head and has been expanding our campaign from there to the neighbouring ward. Danny the Democracy Bear was, of course, present too and again turning out to be a hit with the people, both the young and the wise.
With inflation now at a 20-month high (the CPI rose 3.7 percent) and real earnings down 12 percent in the first half of this year, many Singaporeans are caught by the double whammy.
Much of this has to do with PAP policies like the GST, a regressive tax that burdens disproportionately the poorer segments of society. The SDP has repeatedly called for the GST for basic goods and foodstuffs to be abolished and for the GST to be capped at 3 percent (from the current 7 percent) for other items.
Another financial burden is the ERP which was increased this week by another one to three dollars at almost all gantries. All these gantries do is to divert traffic to other roads increasing the traffic on them. Before long, ERP posts will be erected on these roads and we’re back to square one – with one big difference, of course: the Government, in the meantime, rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars more from motorists.
Another item that is causing the financial nightmare are housing prices which is going through the roof. A major factor causing the inflation is the policy change of allowing foreigners to purchase local property.
Opening the floodgates to foreigners is one thing. Allowing them access to property on a 700 sq km island is sheer madness.
Nowadays, young couples wanting to start a family find it impossible to buy an HDB flat or, if they manage to scrape up enough resources, find that they become slaves to their housing mortgages for the rest of their working lives.
And after paying off the loans for their flats with the last drop of their CPF savings, they have little or nothing left for retirement. To top it off, they have to return the flats to their HDB owners when their 99-year lease runs out. Welcome to PAP Land.
But we are not completely powerless. We can help ourselves if only we are willing to recognise that democracy is a tool that citizens can use to protect themselves against a rapacious government.
How? The next elections are just around the corner and the Singapore Democrats are working double-time to reach out to the people and offer them a way out of the present economic crush.
Singaporeans desperately need a voice in Parliament – the voice of a competent, constructive and caring opposition. The Singapore Democrats stand ready to serve and ready to lead.