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Increase wages and reduce costs. This was the message that rang loud at the SDP’s May Day Rally held at the Speakers’ Corner this afternoon.
As income inequality rise to historic levels in Singapore, the Singapore Democrats used the event to call for the establishment of an egalitarian society by paying minimum wage and introducing a Singaporeans First policy where locals are given priority when it comes to employment.
Dr James Gomez kicked off the rally laying out the party’s policy plans to provide Singaporeans with alternatives to pull together our very econmically divided society. Ahead on the SDP’s calendar are our economic, housing and education policy proposals.
Dr Ang Yong Guan, one of the members of the party’s healthcare panel, hammered home the point that runaway healthcare costs must be reined in. Speaking in English, Mandarin and Hokkien, the psychiatrist and 2011 candidate explained how the SDP National Healthcare Plan could make medical treatment genuinely affordable for Singaporeans.
Ms Regina Chin took over the baton and in a moving speech spoke about how difficult life was especially for working mpthers who had to struggle with low-paying jobs and the high cost of living. Children in such households suffered from parental neglect which exacts a cost on society.
Ms Chin currently works as a developmental trainer. She is a philosophy graduate of the Gregorian University in Rome and holds a Master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Bath in the UK.
Associate Professor Paul Tambyah tore into the system that perpetuated inequality in Singapore. He reminded Singaporeans of the stinginess of the PAP Government when it came to paying for healthcare and, noting that Hong Kong and Malaysia had recently introduced minimum wage, repeated the party’s call for such a law to be passed in Singapore.
Party chairman Mr Jufrie Mahmood lamented how the ministers continued to look after themselves rather than our workers.
Dr Juwita was next to take to the podium to loud cheers and spoke on how the PAP’s education policies were propping up an elitist system and outlined the SDP’s approach on using education to build a system that ensures equal opportunity for our people.
Dr Vincent Wijeysingha then came on and related his encounter with a 78-year old woman whose husband had just died and she was left to fend for herself. With a walking stick on one hand – one of her legs was injured and required surgery – and a basket of tissue paper in the other, she trudged through hawker centres selling her ware to make a living.
Such is the sin of the Singaporean society. Dr Wijeysingha pleaded for compassion and called for support of the SDP as we work to remedy the injustice.
With the cost of living and inflation rising and wages continuing to be suppressed, the PAP will have an increasingly hard time clinging to its outdated ideology of Western neo-liberals.
It is a matter of time before this Government yields to the wishes of the Singaporean people and introduces minimum wage. Until then the Singapore Democrats will continue to take the lead in pressing for its legislation. We fight this fight because it concerns our countries most precious resource – our workers. It is time the PAP pays heed to them.