Years ago, the PAP and its supportersportrayed the SDP as an opposition party that opposed foropposition’s sake. In other words, we did not have anythingconstructive to propose but, according to DPM Teo Chee Hean, onlyknew how to “throw stones”.$CUT$
That was before the advent of theInternet when the PAP had a field day painting the SDP as itwished through the state media without us having any means to counterthe smears.
Today, we have, at least, the new mediato inform the voting public of our views and ideas. As a result, notonly have Singaporeans been able to see the truth but our ideas arebeginning to gain traction – even among PAP leaders.
For example, PM Lee Hsien Loong’sannouncement last year to turn Medishield into a national insurancescheme was a page taken from the SDP’s healthcare paper. We made thepoint that all Singaporeans must have equal access to medical careand receive equal treatment regardless of their financial status. Inother words, our healthcare system must be universal.
The StraitsTimes, in reporting PM Lee’s announcement, wrote that “Theextension of MediShield into MediShield Life is tantamount to havinga universal national health insurance…”
In September 2013, the SingaporeMedical Association published a piece by SDP’s Professor PaulTambyah and Dr Tan Lip Hong on universal healthcare, a rareacknowledgement of SDP’s contribution.
Another example is our proposal forminimum wage which we had been advocating since the late 1990s. Theidea was more recently reiterated by Professor Tommy Koh and Lee KuanYew School of Public Policy Associated Professor Heng Wui Tat.
It culminated in DPM TharmanShanmugaratnam announcing that the Government would introduce aminimum wage for cleaners (even as he denied that it was a minimumwage legislation).
Our idea of a Singaporeans First Policywas also echoed by the NTUCand, more significantly, the Manpower Minister Mr Tan Chuan-jin inhis proposal for the FairConsideration Framework.
Also, the SDP’s proposal for theNon-Open Market (NOM) scheme where HDB flats are sold without theland cost factored into the prices found support within establishmentcircles.
Prominent economist and Vice-Presidentof The Economic Society of Singapore, MrYeoh Lam Keong, said that our idea for an NOM scheme was”excellent” and that the idea to de-link HDB prices from theprivate cost of land is a “fundamentally sound one.”
Our proposal also found support in MrKu Swee Yong who is the chief executive of International PropertyAdvisor. Mr Ku wrote in the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS)website (comments section): “The SDP paper is well presented” and the proposal is”something good for the authorities if they needed a theoreticalbasis for amending policies on allocation and pricing mechanism.”
DrTan Meng Wah a research fellow at the IPS has also proposed thatflats be sold at costs-based prices minus land value.
We highlight these matters not as achest-thumping exercise but to demonstrate how the PAP has used thestate media to paint a misleading image of the SDP. While we havebeen been constructive for years, the PAP has never given creditwhere credit is due even as it now adopts our ideas.
Unfortunately, many Singaporeans arestill misled by this false picture of the SDP. We have a limitedperiod before the next general elections to rectify this problem. Tothis end, we call on all our supporters and right-thinkingSingaporeans to help debunk this myth that the PAP has constructed ofthe SDP.
We are working hard to be thecompetent, constructive and compassionate party that Singaporeanswant to see – we always have and always will. And we will not stopuntil we make Singapore a better place.