SINGAPORE: In its party political broadcast aired on Thursday (Jul 9), the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) highlighted its policy papers on issues such as housing and healthcare, and called the election a "critical" one about "the future of our children and grandchildren”.
Speaking on behalf of the party, chairman Paul Ananth Tambyah said holding an early general election during a pandemic is "reckless and opportunistic" in the minds of many experts.
"There are risks for voters and election officials but more importantly, we cannot afford to let the ministerial committee leading the pandemic response be distracted by campaigning for the election," said Dr Tambyah.
He said the People's Action Party's (PAP) campaign "seems to be focused on the old tactics of scare-mongering and character assassination without any new ideas to deal with a world which has changed dramatically".
READ: GE2020: Tune out PAP’s ‘mudslinging’ and ‘personal attacks’, says SDP’s Chee Soon Juan to voters
Dr Tambyah said he used to wonder "why the PAP was so afraid" of SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan, until he read Mr Goh Chok Tong's biography Tall Order.
Quoting from the book, Dr Tambyah said: "Mr Lee Kuan Yew liked to say 'that without the GRC, Teo Chee Hean on his own, standing in a single ward, might not win against somebody like Chee Soon Juan'."
"That explains a lot," said Dr Tambyah.
Referring to the "non-issue of the 10 million population figure that has been circulating for some time", Dr Tambyah asked Singaporeans "not to believe in the SDP or the PAP" but look up the Straits Times article and decide for themselves.
This election is about a "critical election about the future of our children and grandchildren", said Dr Tambyah.
He flagged SDP's slogan of "Four Yes, One No", which includes a call to suspend GST until the end of 2021, implementing a retrenchment insurance plan and introducing a retirement income for low-income seniors.
Dr Tambyah also pointed to the party's "comprehensive policy papers” covering housing, healthcare, population, education and climate change, saying that they share the common goal of putting people first.
Dr Tambyah said their plans would be paid for by using "slightly more of the return on investment income", and there would be no need to touch Singapore’s reserves.
"Singapore does not have oil and gas or diamonds," said Dr Tambyah. "Our reserves are built from the sacrifices of our parents and grandparents who gave up their pensions and cheap healthcare and housing so that we would have funds for a rainy day."
"A senior citizen with S$500 or a retrenched single mother with S$1,500 are far more likely to spend the money locally on food or shops in our neighbourhoods than a billionaire putting his millions in the Cayman Islands," he said.
He added that "it is much better to have the cash in the hands of the people rather than corporations and hope that some of it trickles down to the rest of us”.
Dr Tambyah also spoke about SDP's "comprehensive town council plan", which will ensure "a smooth transition if we are elected", with "transparent accounting and no more S$2 companies involved in the process”.
He said the party will run the town councils without the additional cost of a managing agent. He listed issues residents are concerned about, including fire safety, delayed lift upgrading, traffic hazards, noise pollution, as well as lack of childcare and infant care.
"The SDP promises that our MPs will be out there on the ground every day working together for the good of the people," said Dr Tambyah. "Let’s all work together to build a democratic society based on justice and equality. Majulah Singapura. Thank you."