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SDP’s Young Democrats respond to President Halimah’s address

The Young Democrats said that talk of redistribution must be supported by new policies with measurable outcomes

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Singapore – Opposition Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) youth wing, the Young Democrats, released their response to President Halimah Yacob’s address during the 14th Parliament opening, noting the importance of new policies to support the concerns highlighted in her speech.

“The Young Democrats are heartened to hear that the Government is belatedly considering the vast inequalities in our society,” read their Facebook post on Saturday (August 29). “However, talk of redistribution must be supported by new policies with measurable outcomes.”

The youth wing noted that the hikes in regressive taxes and increases in actual socioeconomic inequalities challenge the Government’s claims of redistribution. In her speech, Mdm Halimah repeated the Government’s rhetoric against “causes, attitudes and values from other societies that may not be relevant to our social context” yet are exposed to mainly because of social media when it came to the global diffusion of ideas.

“This rhetoric is unfortunate as the Young Democrats believe that Singaporeans have demonstrated the capability to be discerning in critiquing new ideas,” the group noted. They highlighted that the surge in youth voices advocating issues such as climate change, mental health and racial disparities were due to the meeting of local and global ideas.

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The statement provided a few examples of the confluence of ideas such as the inaugural Singapore Climate Rally in 2019 that showed an interconnected emergence of ideas and the Black Lives Matter movement in America which has “prompted many young Singaporeans to critically reconsider the racial disparities in Singapore.”

“Amid this global movement of ideas, we will experience a surge of new ideas and attitudes that may not fit the agenda of the Ruling Government,” added the youth group. “Some of these ideas include the calls for major decarbonization, formulating a post-racial social model and reconsidering our historical narratives.”

The Young Democrats called for a “free and open society where state machinery is not repeatedly used to crush ideas that are inconvenient for the Ruling Government.” They noted the importance of being able to debate ideas in a free and organic manner to achieve a national identity based on shared values and principles.

Should there be a need for regulation or moderation of ideas, it must be done in a transparent, fair and accountable manner, the youth group added.

The Young Democrats touched on the Prevention of Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) alongside other “repressive actions” against those who could be described as “loving critics” of the Government. “We live in very uncertain times; the voices of young and old Singaporeans must be heard freely if we are to bring our country forward together,” said the youth wing.

The Young Democrats' Response to the President's Address:The Young Democrats are heartened to hear that the Government…

Posted by Young Democrats on Friday, 28 August 2020

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IN FULL: President Halimah Yacob’s address to the 14th Parliament of Singapore

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