SINGAPORE: The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) launched its manifesto on Sunday (Jun 28), calling for the voting age to be reduced to 18 from 21, and for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be held at the current 7 per cent.
"The current age of 21 is arbitrary and disenfranchises many young people. By most, if not all, definitions, an 18-year-old is an adult. 18-year-olds should have a say in policies and laws that affect them," SPP said in its manifesto.
The party also questioned the necessity of raising the GST to 9 per cent, noting that the Government has had a "healthy budget surplus" and has "various other mechanisms to increase revenue".
Unless the Government can prove that it has exhausted other options to raise revenue, the planned GST increase is "unjustifiable", said the SPP.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat had said during his Budget 2018 speech that the GST would be increased from 7 per cent currently to 9 per cent sometime between 2021 and 2025.
The exact timing would depend several factors, including the state of the economy.
The party launched their manifesto, titled A Better Tomorrow, at a press conference held over video-conferencing platform Zoom.
The manifesto is based on its three "guiding principles" of accountability, commitment and empathy, said SPP. The ideas were broken down into 10 sections, such as youth, cost of living, climate change, housing and mental health.
READ: GE2020: Reform Party launches manifesto focusing on building 'fairer' society for Singaporeans
Other proposals by the SPP include:
- Abolishing the ethnic quota for Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats, which can be “prohibitive” to minority owners looking to sell their flats.
- Abolishing the retirement age to allow seniors who wish to continue to work to do so
- Mandatory unemployment insurance for all Singaporean workers and codifying retrenchment guidelines into law
- Introducing a national minimum wage, pegged to the amount a person would need to meet their basic needs in Singapore
- Increasing Medisave withdrawal limits for mental health services
- Introducing a Freedom of Information Act, which will serve as a "potent antidote against the spread of fake news" and help people debate public policy
- Enacting a Fixed Terms of Parliament Act, which will “remove the Prime Minister’s discretion in relation to the timing of elections”
- Allowing partial CPF withdrawals on compassionate grounds
“This is simply the start of a conversation,” said the SPP in its manifesto. “In Singapore, it is essential that we have a contest of ideas, a multitude of narratives, and credible alternatives so that the best results for Singaporeans can be produced.”
It added that its policies were designed to tackle short-term issues posed or exacerbated by COVID-19, but also a “fundamental rethink” of certain positions instead of “mere cosmetic change”.
The party will field two teams in the upcoming General Election.
Chairman Jose Raymond will run in Potong Pasir SMC, while secretary-general Steven Chia will lead a team comprising Mr Williamson Lee, Mr Osman Sulaiman and Mr Melvyn Chiu in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.