Prime Minister Lee Hsien recently unveiled the People’s Action Party (PAP) manifesto ahead of the upcoming general election.
Titled “Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future”, the 25-page booklet elaborates on the party’s strategies to rebuild Singapore’s economy and strengthen its society.
In the manifesto’s foreword, PM Lee — who is also PAP’s secretary-general — talked about how Singapore has been fighting COVID-19 hard since the start of this year.
PAP notes that this is not the first crisis Singapore has faced. From the separation from Malaya in 1965, to the Asian Financial Crisis in the 1990s, to 9/11, SARS, and the Global Financial Crisis in the 2000s, we have weathered many crises together as a nation.
While they were each a “major threat,” Singapore has always emerged stronger from the crisis — and PAP was always there. This time will be no different, it stressed.
In this manifesto, PAP sets out its plans for “Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future.” Here’s a quick overview:
1. Public Health And Safety Remains An Urgent Task. PAP Will:
- Provide free in-patient treatment for COVID-19 at public hospitals. In total, the government has allocated $20 billion to MOH in recent budgets.
- Ramp up COVID-19 testing and tracing capabilities
- Invest in R&D for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, and ensure these are available to all Singaporeans who need them
- Complete health clearance of migrant workers so they can return to work safely
- Build additional migrant worker housing with new operating models and improved standards
2. Jobs Will Remain A Top Priority. PAP Will:
- Protect workers from the immediate impact of COVID-19 with initiatives like wage subsidies, income relief and financial assistance
- Create 100,000 new job opportunities to keep Singaporeans employed
- Improve access to job opportunities with initiatives like setting up career centres in the heartlands, skills upgrading, and financial incentives for employers to hire local workers
- Help young Singaporeans enter the job market, boost employment of workers aged 40 to 60, encourage hiring of senior workers
- Improve jobs and earnings for lower-wage workers, as well as boost hiring of workers with disabilities
3. To Grow Singapore’s Economy, PAP Will:
- Stabilise businesses against the immediate effects of COVID-19 by helping with cash flow, costs and credit; passing laws for rental relief, and providing extra help to hardest-hit sectors like aviation and retail
- Accelerate digital transformation of all sectors to help them innovate and adapt
- Establish green lane arrangements for safe travel with other countries
- Pursue international co-operation, expand our trade networks and seek out new markets
- Diversify our sources of food and essential supplies, and build resilient supply chains
4. To Provide Social And Financial Support, PAP Will:
- Continue to assist Singaporeans with cost of living through Care & Support Package, enhanced housing grants, transport vouchers, as well as education and healthcare subsidies
- Offer families with children with Special Education Needs (SEN) with extra support by making special education more affordable and opening new schools
- Enhance subsidies to make pre-school education as affordable as primary school
- Provide greater support and guidance to students from vulnerable backgrounds, who are most affected by the crisis
- Bridge digital divide by equipping every secondary student with a computing device and make Home-Based Learning (HBL) an integral part of education
- Help seniors keep healthy and active, including free entry to public gyms and pools
- Provide seniors with greater financial security in retirement with the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme, enhanced Silver Support, and the Silver Housing Bonus and Lease Buyback schemes
- With regards to healthcare, there are plans to expand the polyclinic network to 32, and build a new integrated acute and community hospital in the East by 2030
- Help Singaporeans cope with GST increase with a $6 billion Assurance Package, enhanced GST permanent voucher scheme, absorb GST on publicly subsidised healthcare and education
5. To Build Social And Financial Resilience, PAP Will:
- Build a strong, caring united community where no one is left behind and all can progress together
- Use the almost $100 billion investment (across four Budgets) to catalyse growth and returns for Singaporeans and Singapore
- Continue to exercise financial prudence, and replenish Singapore’s reserves when they can
6. To Live Sustainably Together, PAP Will:
- Produce more clean energy by deploying more solar panels and converting food waste to energy
- Reduce greenhouse emissions
- Plant one million trees and new mangrove areas to preserve our carbon sinks
- Build more city parks and gardens over the next five years. Every household will be within a 10-minute walk from a park.
- Significantly increase local food production with 30 x 30 Express strategy and develop long-term local production capabilities for essential supplies
Create A New Future Together
PAP has previously laid out ambitious plans to develop Singapore. While COVID-19 has slowed down these plans, PAP said it will strive to make these projects a reality:
- Smart Nation and the 5G network
- Tuas Megaport
- Changi T5
- Greater Southern Waterfront and Paya Lebar Redevelopment
- Punggol Digital District and Jurong Lake District
- Doubling rail networks with the Cross Island Line and the Thomson-East Coast Line
While COVID-19 has “forced a global pause and reset”, it has also served as a unique opportunity to reshape and redesign our future, said PAP in the manifesto.
“We will work with you to chart a new direction for Singapore in a post-COVID-19 era. We will draw on our collective ideas, strengths and abilities to emerge stronger as an economy, … a society, … [and] a people,” it added.
You can read the PAP’s manifesto in full here.
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Featured Image Credit: People’s Action Party