Singapore – Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Dr Paul Tambyah and Dr Chee Soon Juan, highlighted their 4Y1N campaign during a press conference, saying it will be the “loudest and clearest” message yet for the General Elections, with a focus on putting the people first.
On Wednesday (June 24), SDP held a virtual press conference to provide alternative ideas and proposals for a post-Covid society. Secretary-General, Dr Chee Soon Juan and Chairman, Dr Paul Tambyah were present to expound on the party’s campaign and to answer questions from media representatives.
Dr Tambyah noted that the upcoming General Elections is a critical one as there are so many issues which affect the daily lives of Singaporeans and have the potential to transform the future of the country. Dr Chee mentioned that “putting people first” is one of the critical pillars in SDP’s 4Y1N campaign and he found it bizarre that the country is now in the middle of the elections after recently emerging from a partial lockdown. “This is all done because the People’s Action Party (PAP) has calculated it to be in their political interest to do so,” said Dr Chee. “The interest and welfare of the people and public safety – that comes secondarily,” he added.
The Government hoards reserves
Singapore’s reserves came into focus when a question was submitted regarding the sustainability of maintaining a zero GST (Goods and Services Tax) until the end of 2021 alongside an increase in spending such as the four budgets provided by the Government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and SDP’s proposals of paying retrenchment benefits and retirement income. Dr Chee responded by highlighting the “unique problem” with Singapore: the Government hoards reserves, which is estimated to be around a trillion dollars. He admitted that the actual amount had not been disclosed; therefore, there can be no basis for how much a budget would be. “We want to pass the ball back,” said Dr Chee. “Tell us how much we have in the reserves then we can begin to have this intelligent conversation about how much we should be spending in a crisis such as this.”
He explained that a significant portion of the previous four budget stimuli provided by the Government was in favour of businesses. “You’ve got to be careful because a large part of this budget goes back into supporting companies, corporations and businesses,” warned Dr Chee and added that a “huge percentage” went to Government-linked companies like Temasek Holdings. “So effectively you have a right pocket going to the left pocket” kind of situation, said Dr Chee. He urged Singaporeans to question how such instances would benefit them and instead of bailing out corporations during a crisis. “Let’s put the money back into the pockets of Singaporeans because that is going to stimulate the economy,” said Dr Chee.
Dr Tambyah followed up by saying that these reserves didn’t come from the country’s natural resources but from the pockets and sacrifices of Singaporean’ grandparents and parents set aside for rainy days. “It is all the more important for these reserves to be used appropriately, in a thoughtful manner that really benefits Singaporeans and not just the employers,” said Dr Tambyah.
SDP is aiming for 11 seats in Parliament to push for such policies to be enacted. “We will have a serious debate and rethinking of how our reserves are deployed,” said Dr Chee. Having the 4Y1N campaign, which came from the people, take front and centre in Parliament would be the “loudest and clearest message yet” for the Government, added Dr Chee.
Prof Paul Tambyah & Dr Chee Soon Juan addressing questions from the media.
Posted by Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Wednesday, June 24, 2020