Singapore – Opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) kept up with the trends and held a Reddit forum to answer questions from the public regarding their campaign, the upcoming elections and other issues of society.
On Thursday (June 25), SDP’s chairman Dr Paul Tambyah and member Alfred Tan took on the inquiries of Reddit users as a means of maximising and expanding their reach to the online community. Questions that were submitted included their stand on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in Singapore, their views on the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), and the feasibility of their zero per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) until 2021 proposal.
Dr Tambyah responded to a POFMA-related question submitted by Reddit user #okaycan who asked if the legislation was too broad and encompassing, which allowed ministers too much control on the dispersing of information in public. Dr Tambyah noted that while the legislation was supposed to be about protecting the public from deliberate online falsehoods, the kind that causes serious problems resulting in violence, “the reality has turned out quite different.” He added that SDP just filed their appeal for their POFMA case against Manpower Minister Josephine Teo’s correction directions so they cannot discuss the details at the moment. “The key is not to be intimidated,” said Dr Tambyah. “Tell the truth, and it will set you free.”
The first item on the SDP’s 4Y1N campaign is “Yes to suspending GST” to zero per cent until the end of 2021 as it is a “regressive tax and will hurt the poor more than the rich.” Reddit user #382— asked how the party intends to “find the revenue” after reducing the GST to zero per cent.
Mr Tan answered the question and explained that the suspension was in response to the prevailing Covid-19 environment. “We don’t see the economy and society recovering to its pre-Covid levels so soon, especially given the global pandemic nature,” he said. The proposal to suspend the tax should be thought of as a natural extension of the Covid-19 stimuli packages previously provided by the Government. “This approximately S$10 billion package could be funded from our reserves, similar to the ongoing Covid responses” Mr Tan added. “The suspension of the GST will put money back into the people and businesses. In turn, this will help kick-start the economy, something that is productive as well as pushes back deflationary pressures.”
Reddit user #okaycan also submitted an LGBT-related question and asked how the SDP intended to resolve LGBT issues if there was one in their view. This was a popular thread that got frequently upvoted by others although was not answered by Dr Tambyah or Mr Tan.
#bubbler_crab commended those who tried bringing up the issue and mentioned that this topic is “literally untouched in Singapore.” The Reddit user highlighted the current situation where politicians who didn’t actively say anything negative regarding this issue got the highest standing. “That’s our bar for success.”
Catch up on the full thread here.