In another video posted yesterday (September 9), the Singapore Democratic Party’s Dr Chee Soon Juan focused on the issue of the cost of living and housing, adding that even though Singapore was already one of the most expensive cities in the world, the incumbents continued to raise prices and taxes.
He explained that the stakes were raised because of the imminent elections. According to Dr Chee, in the last three years alone, prices were hiked on 16 different items. This did not include a GST hike from 7 per cent to 9 per cent.
He added, “One survey found that 50 per cent of Singaporeans are unable to stretch their savings to last for six months and are unprepared for an emergency”.
“Is the PAP really thinking of you?” he asked.
In response, the SDP drew up a ten-point plan to make the cost of living more bearable.
1. Cut ministers’ pay to help poor
2. Raise income tax for richest 1 per cent
3. Ensure revenue-neutral budget
4. Scrap GST for basic items
5. Enact minimum wage
Dr Chee added that their priority would be to spend prudently. This would be so that they can also keep taxes low.
The SDP also proposed that GST be abolished for essential items such as medicines, basic foodstuffs and school supplies. To offset the drop in revenue collection, they suggested that the government increase GST for luxury items such as gold watches, designer brand shoes, or expensive restaurants.
In talking about housing, HDB prices in Singapore have been rated as “seriously unaffordable”, Dr Chee noted.
In order to deal with housing prices, the SDP proposed the Non-Open Market, or NOM flat scheme.
Dr Chee explained that the SDP estimated that the cost of land alone makes up for more than half of the price of HDB flats. Under their NOM idea, the government removes the land cost from HDB prices, and would only charge Singaporeans for the material, labour, service and administrative costs in building HDB flats.
He also added that these cheaper flats would mean more CPF savings for each individual, but that the downside would be no longer being able to sell these HDB flats on the open market. The flats would have to be sold back to HDB, minus the amount of the number of years one lived in the flat.
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