The SDP has launched our policy paper titled A Singapore for All Singaporeans: Addressing the Concerns of the Malay Community in which we propose a 10-point plan to improve the conditions of the Malay community in Singapore:$CUT$
1. Improve economic conditions. In terms of earning power, 20% of Malay families live on less than $1,500/month. Malays still significantly lag the Chinese and Indians in terms of earning power. The SDP will push for minimum wage and retrenchment benefits to help uplift the Malay community economically.
2. Make healthcare affordable. Healthcare in Singapore is expensive. Many Singaporeans avoid screenings and are saddled with huge debts when they are hospitalised. Also, low-income mothers with poor nutrition are likely to give birth to babies of low birth weight and this could affect the child’s learning abilities in later years. To keep healthcare affordable, the SDP’s healthcare plan proposes that
- Medisave be scrapped and the money returned to our CPF accounts.
- Singaporeans pay an average of $40/month (taken from our CPF) into a national fund. This is one-third of what we currently pay into Medisave.
- When we are hospitalised, we pay only 10% of the bill, the government pays 90% from the national fund. For more information about SDP’s heathcare plan, click here.
3. Nationalise pre-school education. Kindergarten education can affect future learning and classroom achievement of students. As such, the Ministry of Education should take charge of kindergartens and provide trained teachers and inexpensive fees instead of leaving pre-schools unregulated.
4. Lower tertiary education fees. Malays make up only 5% of university students, compared to 22% for the Chinese and 35% for Indians. To help reduce this gap, the SDP proposes that tertiary education fees be lowered so that all students who qualify, especially those from needy families, can afford its fees.
5. Fund madrasahs. Madrasahs do not receive state funds even though their students take the PSLE and O-level exams. Under the SDP alternative, Madrasahs will receive state assistance in funding, consistent with the government funding missionary schools. In return, madrasah schools will recruit non-Muslim teachers to teach secular subjects.
6. End discrimination in the SAF. Distrust of Singaporean Malays to serve in the SAF will breed disloyalty and negatively affect our country’s national security. The SDP proposes that recruitment and promotion of SAF personnel, including NSmen, be based on performance and not race.
7. Introduce the Fair Employment Act. Workplace discrimination against minority ethnic groups remians a problem. Anti-discrimination legislation should be introduced to minimise the problem.
8. Abolish the Ethnic Integration Programme (EIP). The EIP restricts where ethic minorities may live. This is unfair as the political voice of these groups is dissipated. Also, re-sale prices of their HDB flats are negatively affected because they can only sell their flats to their own race which has lower buying power. The SDP alternative will abolish the EIP.
9. Make housing affordable. Public housing in Singapore is very expensive. The SDP has drawn up an alternative housing plan that makes HDB flats affordable: We want to introduce Non-Open Market (NOM) flats where HDB sells flats without adding the cost of land.
This reduces prices by more than half of present levels. The reduced prices allow flat owners to save their CPF money for retirement or to make other investments. If and when NOM owners want to sell their flats, however, they have to sell them back to the HDB. For more information about SDP’s housing plan, click here.
10. Make Mendaki non-partisan. Mendaki was first set up more than 30 years ago to raise the level of education of Malays. After three decades of its existence, the majority of Malays are still lagging in education. This is because Mendaki is highly partisan with a PAP minister as its chairman and several PAP MPs on its board of directors.
The SDP wants to see Mendaki’s governing body nominated by civil society and Malay-Muslim organisations to be confirmed through a parliamentary process and serve a two-year term. The unhealthy practice of putting PAP members in the organisation’s leadership structure will stop.
To read the full copy of A Singapore for All Singaporeans: Addressing the Concerns of the Malay Community, please click here.