SDA’s General Election 2015 MANIFESTO
The Singapore Democratic Alliance presents this Manifesto to the people as part of our plan for Singapore, towards building a “Singapore for Singaporeans”.
The issues that we wish to tackle in the Manifesto are as follows:-
- The Population White Paper
- Central Provident Fund (CPF) and Retirement
- Housing Development Board (HDB)
- The Costs of Healthcare
- Public Transport System
1. The Population White Paper
The Population White Paper projected a population of 6.5 to 6.9 million by year 2030. While we understand that the purpose is to boost economic growth of the country, could it be possible that the social and safety aspects are being severely compromised? Also, from an infrastructure point of view, is the Government well-prepared to accommodate this sharp increase in population?
Besides that, with the increase of foreigners on the rise, true blue Singaporeans will soon become the minority race in the future. As such, where is the National Identity? We need to encourage Singaporeans to give birth or adopt children, so that these children will grow up with Singapore’s values instilled in them, to serve the country, and preserve our nationality. We need to breed and grow our own people, and not to “import” as this may translate to conflicting values and beliefs; that instead of integrating into our culture, we lose our Singapore identity.
SDA will propose schemes to take care of mothers-to-be, to encourage childbirth as well as work-family balance. On top of that, the number of childcare centres will also be increased with good schemes in place so that mothers can continue to work and have peace of mind that their children have good minders. More incentives and grants will be awarded to couples with children, because their children are the future of Singapore, making up of the population of true-blue native Singaporeans.
SDA proposes that all children should be taken care of well, and treated fairly. We will advocate the same rights, benefits, grants and welfare for single parents so that they can support their children and continue to play dual parental roles to the children.
The True Singaporean
We cannot afford to have a nation full of foreigners who have come here to make hay, but have no allegiance to our country. In the event of a war, or if this ship sinks, will they flee back to their homeland? Would they even care about our history, and what Singapore is made of?
SDA will spell out what makes a True Blue Singaporeans in our Constitution, and ensure that the highest political offices can only be held by local-born Singaporeans.
SDA will stand firm on saying NO to 6.9 million population; we treasure our unique identity made of up 4 main races living harmoniously as one, and will stand together to hear the lion roar! We will stand up to the PAP against the mass import of foreigners into Singapore vying for our houses, our jobs, our schools, our public infrastructure by becoming new citizens! We will preserve a “Singapore for Singaporeans” value strongly, where in everything essential and beneficial, it will always be “Singaporeans First”.
2. Central Provident Fund (CPF)
Central Provident Fund (CPF) was set up for retirement, but it is used to fund housing and education too. The minimum sum required keeps increasing and we have no control over our very own hard-earned savings in this account.
Singaporeans work hard and save hard, pumping 20% of their hard-earned salaries into their CPF accounts so that they can retire at age 55 and pursue a more leisurely life thereafter. However, with the constantly minimum sum required, and the automatic transfer of funds from Ordinary Account into Retirement Account, how can one retire these days?
No wonder the retirement age in Singapore keeps going up as well – leaving the elderly citizens sandwiched between the worst dilemma – because of their age, their actions and response time is slower, and some companies are trying to get rid of them and replace with younger employees, some companies practise biasness in the employment of this group.
Therefore the principal sum of monies in our CPF account, that we contribute monthly, should not be used for other purposes such as education and property purchase.
This is to ensure that our people are well-taken care of and able to self-sustain when they are retired.
To pay for education, housing & medical needs we should be instead using the profits generated by the government when they invest our CPF funds.
Currently we are paid a small interest of only 2.5% and the larger profits are not shared with us.
SDA strongly proposes that better returns from the investments be channeled back to us, so that we can use this profit generated money to pay for healthcare, education & housing; without touching our principal sum in the CPF.
3. Housing Development Board (HDB) Public Housing
As the name implies, the flats under HDB are public housing. However, government housing comes with very steep price tags these days, especially with the “Build To Order” (BTO) scheme. This makes home-ownership either impossible, or young couples spend their entire lives repaying housing loans.
The influx of immigrants have also pushed up the demand for our public housing, hence jacking the prices in turn.
Secondly, SDA will fight for CPF to revert back to its basic, original use – a retirement account. As the costs of living is already on the rise as it is, coupled with inflation over the years – by the time most of us retire in a few decades, the money might be barely enough for our sustainability. Therefore the monies in CPF account should not be used for other purpose such as education and property purchase. This is to ensure that our people are well-taken care of and able to self-sustain when they are retired.
Let’s take a look at the exorbitant prices of a typical BTO unit in Singapore these days. Even with grants in place, a young couple still has to pay six-figure sum for a HDB unit which comes without any furnishing or renovation. 20 years ago, a HDB flat costs only SGD$50,000 – SGD$100,000 at best, with larger total floor area.
These days, price of new flats are atrocious, so the couples can only afford to purchase smaller units. Those hoping to practice multi-generation living under one roof have no option to do so due to space constraint.
The repayment of HDB loans till their old age (usually the loans go for 20 -30 years repayment schemes) also puts strains on the young couple’s family planning, as such many of them choose not to give birth or have children at later stages of their lives when they feel they are financially more read. This also correlates to the decrease in Singaporeans’ future population, as described above in Point 1.
Even resale flats are being sold at high prices these days. Older flats require more renovation and maintenance (of pipes, doors, windows etc), so couples looking to purchase 2nd or 3rd hand HDB units are also subject to a lifetime of HDB loan repayment, plus renovation loan repayment on top of it all.
SDA will fight for more affordable public housing, heavily subsidised by the government. More rental units should be made available, without those rigid application guidelines, so that young couples can have a temporary abode while waiting for their own houses to be ready.
Besides building new rental flats, SDA also proposes a public housing scheme to provide public flats that are sold 10% above the raw price to Singaporeans who are not able to afford to buy from the open market or the current HDB BTO flats. This type of flat units can only be sold back to HDB and not in the open market, so that price may be contained.
Public housing should be just that – affordable housing built by the government for the people, not projects that are built-to-order based on the number of successful applicants.
4. Costs of Healthcare
The costs of Healthcare in Singapore is exorbitant, and the only solutions are subsidies with conditions attached; or to purchase insurance so that we could afford our own medical bills. The present solution by PAP is to utilize our CPF Medisave account’s funds to purchase medical insurance so as to be able to cover our medical expenses. There is a famous saying in Singapore, being that “one may die, but not afford to fall sick” here.
The SDA proposes that Medisave be fully liberalized to cover the medical expenses. The Medisave account can be used – without caps – for paying of all hospitalization and outpatient charges, and for paying comprehensive medical coverage offered by private insurers.
The SDA strongly encourages CPF members to take up comprehensive private medical insurance policies, which would pay for their hospitalisation and outpatient bills from the first dollar onwards.
That this might lead to overcharging by hospitals and other healthcare providers would not be an issue, as insurance companies will collectively pressurize healthcare providers to lower medical costs as far as possible, to prevent a rise in claimable amounts, and thus a rise in premiums.
Cases of overcharging will be handled by the Singapore Medical Council as per current practice.
5. Public Transport System
Our major Public Transport providers are public-listed companies that need to answer to respective shareholders; which is why even though breakdowns occur so frequently, the only way to maintain our public transport is through unloading of the burden unto commuters by constant fare hikes.
Despite profits being generated every year by SMRT and SBS, the fare hikes are still recurring.
This is unfair to the citizens because “public transport system” should benefit the public, and costs should be minimised for the commuters who take our trains and buses to work on a daily basis.
As such, SDA proposes that the public transport system be returned to the care of the State, who shall maintain the system to ensure that it is functional, as its core responsibility.
Alternatively, the transportation sector in Singapore shall be liberalized so as to encourage more companies to compete for tenders. Competition will bring about competitive pricing as companies vie for market share. This can only benefit the consumer as he gets to choose the best fare for his intended routes.
Finally, SDA also advocates full-day concession for the elderly citizens.
Employment opportunities is an issue as well, with good PMET roles being given to non-locals instead of our own people being considered for the positions first, even if both candidates have the same qualifications and level of experience.
The SDA advocates a “Singaporeans-First” Policy for employment, which will be legislated. This means that an employer must prove that he cannot find a suitable local for the current vacancy and has exhausted all means of employing a local for the job, before approval is granted for the employment of foreigners.
On top of that, the SDA is also aware of the dichotomy between a “foreign talent” and a “foreign worker”. While stringent measures are taken for the hiring of foreign talents to cut out competition for our citizens’ employment opportunities, there are certain roles that may be only be filled by foreign workers. Such roles may include restaurant staff, logistics staff, construction workers, manufacturing industries etc, and we will repel the current “foreign workers quota” policy so that the SMEs and F&B businesses do not have to shortage of manpower, which in turn leads to lost sales and lousy service rendered.
The SDA supports the legislation of a Minimum Wage Law. This is to help the citizens in coping with the country’s high costs of living, which are constantly on the rise. By supporting the minimum wage law, citizens are assured of receiving income that are on-par with the current minimum real living wage. A minimum wage scheme will also boost the economy as well as eliminate the risk of discrimination of different job roles.
By imposing a Minimum Wage scheme, citizens are free to pursue their passion as careers. This would ease the pressure of societal stereotyping of the white-collar employees being more superior to the blue-collar workers, and erase the thought that working with brains is more important than working with one’s hands. People can take pride in their work then, whether they choose to become a technician, cook or retailer, and find greater satisfaction in their jobs. This would in turn boost productivity and the economy gradually, and at the same time offer more choices for Singaporeans instead of being dependent on foreigners to take on job roles in certain industries.
The income gap in Singapore would also be reduced significantly, keeping at bay the risk of middle-income earners suffering from the brunt of the high costs of living.
Academic education still holds a lot of weight in today’s education system here, where grades and performance in examinations are main determinants of a child’s capability. Other aspects such as soft skills, sports and arts are being neglected instead of given the chance to blossom.
To help cope with the rising costs of living and encourage childbirth, SDA proposes that there be heavy subsidy or complete waiver of school fees for pre-schoolers and primary schools. To ease the stress of competition, SDA also proposes that we do away with the streaming system where students are being classified into the “better streams” or “worse streams” because of their academic performance.
With too much focus on academic performance, we are neglecting the nurture of other aspects of talents that a child may possess. SDA will advocate an education system whereby equal emphasis is being placed on different subjects, such as arts, music and sports etc, so that the students may discover their core gifts, and be developed and groomed in that area.
Unbiased history lessons should also be introduced into the syllabus, reflecting the shaping of our history including the tide of political events.
Please support a “Singapore for Singaporeans; Singaporeans First” policy.