SINGAPORE: The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Saturday (Sep 28) unveiled a new book – The Way Forward – containing its printed manifesto, which lays out the party's policies ahead of the next General Election.
The next General Election must happen before April 2021.
According to SDP, some policies have been updated but its latest manifesto has "not substantially changed" from previous manifestos.
These updates include changes to its healthcare and education policies, it said.
Citing healthcare plans such as MediShield Life and CareShield Life, SDP chairman Paul Tambyah emphasised the difference between SDP’s proposed healthcare proposal and the current healthcare system.
“It was important to clarify that basically there’s a difference between one single universal healthcare plan, which is what we propose, and the multiple complicated schemes, which is currently in place under the PAP’s MediShield Life, MediSave Fund, employer-funded, CareShield and so on and so forth,” said Dr Tambyah.
He added that while the healthcare budget was “close to” what SDP forecasted, it was “just a matter of more efficient use of the money and making sure it gets to the patients”.
Mr Benjamin Pwee, who joined the SDP earlier this year, said that the party also added a “more substantive part geared around the private tuition business” to their education policy.
The party wrote on its website that the private tuition system and the current education system contribute to growing inequality in Singapore.
“Because of the intense syllabi, teachers are under pressure to complete the list of required topics regardless of whether the students understand the material or not," it said.
“Parents then seek private tuition, a billion-dollar industry, to help their children cope. Richer families can afford such expensive tutoring, leaving poorer families at a disadvantage. This exacerbates the growing divide in socio-economic class in our society."
Earlier in July, the SDP revealed its alternative education policy, which called for smaller class sizes, nationalisation of pre-schools and scrapping the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) and school rankings.
The printed manifesto was launched on Saturday at a public event, where three SDP members – Dr Tambyah, Mr Pwee and Young Democrat member Naresh Subramaniam – gave speeches touching on issues such as climate change, the racial quota for the elected presidency and the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Dr Chee Soon Juan also fielded a question and answer segment from members of the public.
The book outlines a brief version of SDP’s proposed policies, which are also available on its website, the party said. It added that the book is priced at S$39 in commemoration of SDP's 39 years since its founding.