Singapore—Reversing an accusation hurled against the Workers’ Party during the campaign period for GE2020 that the WP is “PAP lite”, Mr Pritam Singh asked, in the context of the minimum wage issue discussed lately, if the tables have been turned.
“Minimum Wage: WP-Lite?,” he wrote in a much-shared Facebook post on Sunday (Jul 25).
While it was Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan who said on Jul 1, 2020, that people have taken to calling the WP “PAP Lite” due to what he alleged were similarities in WP’s manifesto to PAP’s, Mr Singh, the Leader of the Opposition and the head of the WP, took aim a little higher, at Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
He wrote that PM Lee accused the opposition during the Fullerton rally on July 6 of last year “of coming up with nothing but old recycled manifestos, ‘prattling on’ about proposals such as a minimum wage which would just add to employers’ cost and pressure them to drop even more workers.”
When asked to comment on this the following day, Mr Singh had said “I make no apologies for this…(the minimum wage) is something the WP has believed in for many years, across many manifestoes and it is something that we will continue to press.”
WP Members of Parliament Gerald Giam, Jamus Lim, and Leon Perera have argued in Parliament that a minimum wage would complement the existing Progressive Wage Model (PWM), which was also underlined by WP MP Louis Chua at a talk at the Institute of Policy Studies in 2020.
The LO noted the seeming change in perspective toward the minimum wage among “some very senior individuals in Government”.
He added, “Yesterday, the Straits Times reported the Senior Minister of State for Manpower saying that the Government was looking at the option of complementing the progressive wage model (PWM) with a universal minimum wage” adding, “It is still early days and we are not quite there yet, with more work and discussion ahead.”
Additionally, speaking on the topic of an inclusive society at the IPS at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on Thursday (Jul 22), Mr Ravi Menon, the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, expressed similar sentiments, saying that a minimum wage could complement the PWM.
The WP Secretary-General then underlined WP’s commitment “for the betterment of Singapore and Singaporeans,” writing that this has often meant “challenging the ruling party, taking the punches, and rolling with them at other times. But there is no question of surrender.”
“In The Workers’ Party, our beliefs extend beyond the political horizon, beyond hustling with our parliamentary opponents,” he also wrote, inviting followers to the party as well.
“Walk with us. Join us. It is challenging, and the path is fraught with uncertainty. But it is worth it. A hundred times over,” wrote Mr Singh.
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