The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) launched its manifesto yesterday (June 29), outlining its key positions on a spectrum of issues, ranging from the cost of living to climate change.
“Our policies and positions are designed to tackle not just the short-term issues posed and/or exacerbated by COVID-19, but also take a long-term approach as some things do warrant a fundamental rethink instead of mere cosmetic change,” said the party in its manifesto.
The party’s 24-page manifesto, titled after its campaign slogan “A Better Tomorrow”, underlined its three core values: accountability, commitment and empathy.
Here are 10 key proposals from the SPP manifesto:
1. Empower Singapore Youth
- Reduce the voting age from 21 to 18 to “[add] a fresh perspective that will lead to a more vibrant contest of ideas.”
- Allow the use of parent’s CPF monies for education.
- Increase youth engagement in policy-making.
2. Lower The Cost Of Living
- No further increase of GST.
- Increased cash supplement under Silver Support Scheme to “maintain a basic standard of living.” It also proposes the cash supplement to be distributed monthly, instead of quarterly.
- Those who quality for the Silver Support Scheme should also have free travel on public transport.
- Introduce minimum wage. “This is a long overdue policy that will help to ensure that people, despite inequality, are not deprived of a basic standard of living. It will also help to prevent the exploitation of workers,” said the party.
3. Combat The Climate Emergency
- Divestment from carbon intensive operations and resources.
- Mandatory environmental impact assessments and disclosure.
- Besides electronic and packaging waste, other waste streams should also be included under the umbrella of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme.
4. Strengthen Retirement Adequacy Through CPF
- Ensure retirement adequacy. Whether through top-ups or supplementary schemes, a fundamental re-think of the CPF scheme is necessary to ensure that it serves its purpose.
- Allow partial withdrawals on compassionate grounds. At the very least, they must be allowed to “borrow” from their CPF monies.
- Publication of CPF investment returns.
5. Greater Democracy
- Enactment of a Freedom of Information Act. It will serve as a potent antidote against the spread of fake news, and help to level the playing field by solving the information dissymmetry that currently exists in policy discussion.
- Enactment of a Fixed Terms of Parliament Act to govern the date of elections.
- Mandatory public declaration of assets for elected officials.
6. Protect The Sandwiched Generation
- Introduction of Parentcare Leave so employees can look after their parents when they are unwell and accompany them to medical appointments.
- Encourage and incentivise flexi-work arrangements.
- Lower income tax for new parents and higher tax reliefs for those living with parents
7. Improve Mental Health
- Improve accessibility to mental health professionals by making it available at all government health institutions.
- Introduce unpaid mental health leave so employees can cope with work burn-out and attend to their mental health needs.
- Review the criteria for sentencing under Mandatory Treatment Orders (MTOs) to allow offenders suffering from mental health disorders to be sentenced more appropriately so that they can get the help they need.
- Greater subsidies for mental health services.
8. Affordable Housing
- Extending the lease buyback scheme. After a period of five years, all HDB owners should be given the option to sell their leases back to the HDB at a price that is near the market value.
- In light of the fact that the value of HDB flats would decrease towards the end of the 99-year lease period, SERS should be extended to all estates.
- Abolish the ethnic quota as it may be prohibitive to sellers from minority races looking to sell their HDB flats due to a smaller pool of potential buyers.
9. Holistic Education
- Introduce environmental education and financial literacy into syllabus.
- Smaller teacher-student ratios so that each student will be able to receive more attention from the teachers.
10. Strengthen Local Workforce
- Unemployment insurance should be mandated for all Singaporean workers to help them tide through a period of six months while they upskill or look for new jobs.
- Employers should also be required to give employees retrenchment benefits in accordance with the TAFEP guidelines.
- Regularly reviews of free-trade agreements to ensure that they serve the best interests of a Singaporean worker.
- Abolish the retirement age so seniors who wish to continue to work can do so.
You can read SPP’s manifesto in full here.
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Featured Image Credit: Singapore People’s Party