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The Covid-19 pandemic has wrought major and irrevocable changes to the politico-socio-economic landscape in Singapore.
The SDP will address these changes and concerns to prepare our nation for the post-Covid future.
For example, in view of the rise in retrenchments and pay cuts in the aftermath of the Covid crisis resulting in heightened income and social inequality, the SDP has set out a plan to protect the ordinary people from being further disadvantaged and exploited.
We spell out a vision that will take Singapore into a post-Covid19 era which will allow the country to adapt and take advantage of changed circumstances and where the average Singapore will play a central role.
Specifically, we will launch our ‘Four Yes, One No’ or 4Y1N campaign which will be the focus for our GE campaign:
YES #1: SUSPEND GST
Given the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis, the SDP proposes that the GST be cut to 0% until end 2021. The GST is a regressive tax and will hurt the poor more than the rich. Also, suspension of the GST will stimulate the economy and help businesses. It is not smart economics to raise the GST to 9% as proposed by the PAP.
YES #2: PAY RETRENCHMENT BENEFITS
SDP will fight for retrenchment benefits to be paid to workers retrenched as a result of Covid-19. Under the SDP RESTART (Re-Employment Scheme and Temporary Assistance for the ReTrenched) programme, if a worker is retrenched, the government pays 75% of his/her last drawn salary for 1st 6 months, 50% for 2nd 6 months, and 25% for the final 6 months (capped at the median wage).
YES #3: PROVIDE INCOME FOR RETIREES
SDP will push to provide retirees over 65 with a monthly income of $500. Under the SDP Retirement Income Scheme for the Elderly (RISE), the bottom 80% of retirees, many of whom depend on their working children for financial support and especially those who do not have working children, will receive $500 every month.
The Household Expenditure Survey shows that the average retiree household receives nearly $500 as income from their working children. With retrenchments and pay cuts expected to rise as a result of Covid-19, working adults will find it even harder to provide for their own children and take care of their retired parents at the same time. By providing $500 for the average retiree, RISE will also reduce the financial pressure of younger working generations.
YES #4: PUT PEOPLE FIRST
By insisting on calling for a GE in the midst of the Covid-19, the PAP shows that it is willing to sacrifice public health and safety for its own political interests. As a result, the second surge of infections occurred which has affected thousands of Singaporeans and caused a lockdown of the city. The mishandling of the virus spread, eg. ordering Singaporeans not to wear masks if they are well, and not having addressed sooner the dire living conditions of our foreign workers in their dormitories despite early warnings, has made the situation for Singaporeans much worse. SDP will ensure that the PAP puts the people’s interest as top priority.
NO TO 10 MILLION POPULATION
Our current population is 5.7 million and on course to hit 6.9 million in a few years’ time. Imagine if the PAP gets its wish to jack the number up to 10 million by bringing in more foreigners. Already, it cannot competently contain the outbreak of Covid-19 which spreads faster as the population density increases. Also, our economy has become overly dependent on foreign workers especially PMETs. SDP will push to stop the PAP from raising our population to 10 million and displacing our PMETs with foreign ones.
These 4Y1N issues address the concerns of our people on two levels: One, they take care of the immediate necessities of Singaporeans during and immediately following the period of the Covid-19 pandemic and, two, they ensure that the longer-term problems that confront our nation are dealt with. The SDP will focus on these ideas and proposals in our GE campaign and will elaborate on them in the coming weeks and months.