The cost of living is hurting us. This was the unmistakable, but unsurprising, message that we heard when we did our walkabout at the Sembawang, Holland-Bukit Timah and Bukit Panjang constituencies yesterday.$CUT$
Party activists were on hand to listen to residents who raised issues that concerned them, ranging from insufficient CPF funds to the integrity of the voting process to the necessity of retiring in Malaysia.
Apart from listening to their concerns, we were also there to bring a message of hope and to tell them that they did not have to live in helplessness. There are solutions to the problems they faced and these solutions are contained in the SDP’s alternative proposals.
For example, one of the biggest factors that make our lives extremely difficult is the high cost of HDB flats.
We spend a disproportionately large amount on our housing loans which drastically reduces our spending power as well as leaves us with almost nothing to retire on.
The SDP’s proposal to introduce Non-Open Market flats where HDB sells flats at cost (eg about $150,000 for a 4-room flat) will reduce the financial burden of Singaporeans and leave them adequate CPF savings for retirement.
Healthcare cost is another big expense for Singaporeans, especially the elderly and those with ageing parents. The SDP’s proposal for the Government to undertake 70 percent of the country’s healthcare expenditure (presently at 30 percent) will bring us more in line with First World economies and ease the financial pressure on our people.
The Government should also stop using rent for shops as a means of revenue. This increases significantly business costs which are passed on to consumers.
These were some of the measures that we explained to residents in Woodlands, Bukit Panjang and Ghim Moh housing estates as we re-visited the various hawker centres yesterday.
“I went to see my MP about the high cost of my daily needs,” said one middle-aged lady at 888 Plaza in Woodlands, “but all he said was to go to the wholesaler to see if I can get my daily supplies for cheaper. By the time I take a bus there and back, I might as well just buy from the shops here.”
Another elderly man said that he was angry that he couldn’t withdraw his CPF savings for his daily living. “I work so hard all my life and now when I retire I cannot get back my money, he said.
That’s why we need an opposition in Parliament to keep the Government in check and to speak up for you on some of these pressing issues.
Singaporeans can expect the SDP to push for the abovementioned measures contained in our alternative policies if we are in Parliament. The chance will come at GE2016.
In the meantime, we will continue to bring our message to the people by visiting them in their homes and housing estates. We have been doing this since the last GE in 2011 and will press on in the coming weeks and months.
More walkabout photos at SDP’s facebook album.