SDP again claims PAP stole their idea, this time

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has claimed that the ruling party has once again appropriated its policy idea, in response to the Returner Work Trail scheme that was recently unveiled by NTUC to provide financial assistance for retrenched professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).

They had previously claimed that the People’s Action Party had adopted their idea to raise taxes for the top 5% of income-earners. The idea which was conceptualised by the SDP in 2010 was criticised by PAP politician Dr Vivian Balakrishnan in 2011 before it was re-introduced as part of the nation’s budget in 2015.

In response to Dr Balakrishnan’s criticism that the SDP’s policies would bankrupt Singapore, SDP chief Dr Chee Soon Juan had said that the PAP has a habit of adopting SDP’s policies after criticising them.

He indicated that these policies include the minimum wage model, pooling of healthcare risks, priority for Singaporeans when it comes to employment and government schemes like the Fair Consideration Framework that he said was an appropriation of the SDP’s proposal that employers must try to hire Singaporeans first, before considering foreigner job applicants.

Dr Chee had said then: “The PAP has a knee-jerk reaction that anything the SDP proposes cannot be good.”

We republish the SDP’s statement on the Returner Work Trail programme in full here:

The latest scheme adopted by the NTUC to provide professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who are retrenched with financial assistance is a modified version of the SDP’s proposal launched 2010.
The PAP’s idea, called Returner Work Trial, will assist employers to offer job training for the individuals who have been unemployed for at least two years. The trainee, who must be 30 and above, will receive
  • $1,500 per month from Workforce Singapore
  • $1,000 per month from the potential employer
  • a $2,500 allowance
The payout period for trainees is limited to six months.
Compare this to the SDP’s RESTART (Re-Employment Scheme and Temporary Assistance for the ReTrenched) programme where retrenched workers will receive:
  • 75% of last drawn salary (capped at median wage) for first six months
  • 50% for the second six months if still unemployed
  • 25% for the third six months if still unemployed
The payout period is capped at 18 months and MOM will help match retrenched individuals with jobs. The job-seekers can only reject up to three job offers.
The NTUC’s idea is essentially an unemployment benefits scheme similar to RESTART but with the difference that under the Returner Worker Trial programme, a retrenched worker has to undergo training in order to get the financial support. There are many problems with the measure:
One, it is restricted only to PMETs. There are many retrenched workers who are not PMETs. They also face the same hardships when laid-off.
Two, the payout-training period lasts for only six months after which the employer has no obligation to offer the trainee a permanent job. This is especially salient as Singapore’s economy contracts with job vacancies continuing to fall.
Three, how are retrenched workers expected to survive if they have to remain unemployed for two years before they qualify for the scheme? A study found that 50 percent of households have little or no savings due to the high cost of living to tide them through difficult times.
In addition, why is the government using taxpayers’ money to subsidise businesses? Companies can use the scheme as a cheap source of labour. Also, will this not encourage companies to lay off workers and then profit by “training” others under the scheme at a state-subsidised rate?
Given such loopholes, Temasek Holdings needs to state how many of its Government-linked companies are participating in the scheme and the government needs to tell the public how much these GLCs will stand to benefit from it.
In the past, the PAP has also followed the SDP’s lead on minimum wage, universal healthcare, and employing Singaporeans first.


  1. It’s common knowledge that the PAP does that all the time. In late the 70s when I was living in Toa Payoh I mention to one of their grassroots leaders why do you always fine people for littering why can’t you just give them corrective work order instead like they do in European countries. Lo and behold they took my suggestion to their bosses an today we have CWO’s.

  2. I have been there where suggestions were turned down under very stupid reasons just to see it in action some years later n the thief praised for the idea…….

  3. The current ministers all brain dead unlike our first generation of leaders, full of ideas and always one step ahead in everything. They didn’t even know what hardship is all about.

  4. What do you expect from these overpaid idiots who are bankrupt of ideas? Where Ministership is just a career path towards wealth and status. What the hell have they come out with that is new these past 10 years other than new fines and charges?

    • This is true. MiW take other policies from everywhere and call it their own. No new initiative yet. Take a look at the date when SDP policies come out and compare them with what the ones spew out by the MIW or Civil Service.
      Then you can either laugh or you can sigh at what your master did.

  5. Chee is a bloody clown. Whole day talked about people stealing his idea. Eh, hello, people already rejected him at the Bt batok by election. Just get loss la, chee

    • Lol, u guys just couldn’t face the fact that your super hero Chee lost big big time in Bt Batok by a minority candidate from PAP. Chee is just a super loser la

    • The truth my friend is this. Chee continues to be involved in politics even if he loses cause he is doing this for a living. He needs donations and funding from suckers like u guys. Haha!

    • Bro rocky joh….who is super hero..? U put words into people mouth lei…!!!
      So whats wrong if he is in politics…are you saying that to con people n living in luxury like the kong kong kek from CHC is OK???
      Dr Chee is not super hero for your info. He is a politician and we are not a fan or supporter but what he says make sense and we too are thinking the same thus its not wrong to support him.
      So paying ownself in millions is not wrong….and not to admit all mistakes or wrong policies by the current govt is good???
      GOD bless you then pray hard that you will be forever safe from their mistakes.

    • So its ok…if 70% agree with the govt…we do agree to disagree. So does Ox-LEE and famiLEE….the day have come for them to experience it themselves. We are heppi? We are not coz we prefer to respect the law….but if the law makers does not know how to respect the law ….. what do you expect from ordinary citizens.

  6. Yes its true..i very well remember it was an nmp from opposition party who brought up to NATIONALIZE TRANSPORT or to b under LTAs its that time they whacked him n his idea n ADOPTED transport should b private or else there wl b no standards.copy from all over e world n get paid in millions.

  7. PAP has no more idea. In fact they are using taxpayer money to buy themself out. And is now borrowing ideas from oppositions. They are more interested in money counting as easy as ABC.

  8. If your ideas or suggestions are good, Pappies would not say thank you but will keep dormant until such times that public forgotten, then implement them and claimed credits for their stupid ministers and said “my ministers are worth a million dollars “

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