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PV’s Lim Tean targets CECA and ministerial pay in second Facebook Live talk

Party leader also focuses on the calling of elections at this time and on reports of plans for a 10-million population

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Singapore — People’s Voice (PV) Secretary-General Lim Tean held his second “After Work” livestream on Facebook on Thursday (June 25).

This is a 30-minute talk on Facebook Live during which he speaks about pressing issues of interest to voters. The livestream saw about 740 people at its peak, with many responding to his comments.

Mr Lim described the calling of elections now as unfair, the Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) as “absolutely disastrous”, the creativity and innovation situation as needing nurturing, plans for a 10-million population as madness   and ministerial pay as requiring slashing.

The PV leader began the session by remarking that the announcement that the Prime Minister’s bother, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, had joined the opposition as “probably one of the best news we have had in a very long time”. He hoped that this would be the catalyst for an opposition victory in the General Election.

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Mr Lim mentioned that PV had tried to buy the electoral roll the day before but had been told that the Elections Department was still updating the data. He, therefore, questioned the rush to hold the elections. The electoral roll contains data of all eligible voters, which political parties usually consult prior to elections.

The PV leader added that the time-frame given to fill in all the necessary forms was very small, citing the three days given before the deadline for the submission of the political donations form. The time-frame given to minority candidates to obtain certification from the relevant committees was also small.

As for the elections, Mr Lim said a Singapore citizen, Mr Daniel De Costa, had filed a constitutional challenge against the decision to call an election under current circumstances. Mr Lim’s law firm would be representing him. The application was filed on the grounds that calling elections under these circumstances is a breach of the right to fair and free elections.

As for CECA, a free trade agreement between Singapore and India, which many point to as a major driver of the increasing number of foreign professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs) in Singapore, Mr Lim described it as a “one-way street” which allows hundreds of thousands of Indian nationals into Singapore, without a reciprocal flow of Singaporean workers into India.

He stressed that PV’s stance on CECA was to abolish it completely. He greed that CECA allowed some companies into areas of the Indian market that were previously difficult to access but reiterated that it did not benefit the rest of the Singaporeans. He described CECA as “trickle down economics at its worst”.

Mr Lim then called “madness” reports of plans for a 10 million population in Singapore. He said it had no need to rely on the size of its population to run the economy. Calling the current era a “knowledge era”, he highlighted that growing the creative and innovative spirit of Singaporeans was more important.

Mr Lim pointed out that Singapore ranked highly in the Global Innovation Index but emphasised that this was misleading. In 2019, it ranked eighth in the world. However,  Singapore ranked highly in terms of input, but not output. He clarified that input referred to how much money the Government was spending to help Singapore become innovative, and output referred to how much innovation actually happened, measured in terms of trademarks and patents.

Mr Lim blamed this lack of innovative output on Singapore society, where the idea of failure bred fear. He added that PV believed in the importance of encouraging small, micro businesses, as they are the hub of innovation and creativity in Singapore.

As small and medium enterprises (SMEs) employ 70 per cent of Singapore’s workforce, Mr Lim said the Government should be more liberal in its lending policies to SMEs to ensure their survival.

The PV leader also brought up the issue of inequality in Singapore. He said it was a place where the Prime Minister earned about $183,000 a month, while a cleaner might earn only about $1,100. He added that the People’s Action Party (PAP) believed in neoliberalism, a theory that if the rich were made richer, the riches would trickle down to the rest of the population.

However, he pointed out that neoliberalism was now marked as a failed theory as it did not promote social cohesion and social good. He said the rich did get more rich, but that the middle class was worse off, and those with lower income were “left way behind”.

On ministerial pay, Mr Lim said the PV’s pledge to Singaporeans was to push for the slashing of the Prime Minister’s pay by 70 per cent. “Yes. Seven. Zero,” he emphasised. He added that this pledge would be in the PV manifesto to be released before Nomination Day on June 30. He added that PV was pushing for the pay of the other ministers and top civil servants to be cut accordingly.

PV is fielding 12 candidates across two GRCs and three SMCs in the General Election. /TISG

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