SDP spells out vision for 'post-COVID-19 era', campaign focus for General Election

SDP spells out vision for 'post-COVID-19 era', campaign focus for General Election

Chee Soon Juan SDP walkabout Aug 4
Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan talking to residents at the Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre on Aug 4, 2019. (Photo: Elizabeth Neo)

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Tuesday (Apr 28) spelt out its vision for a post COVID-19 Singapore and the focus of its campaign for the upcoming General Election.

The opposition party said it will launch a "Four Yes, One No" campaign that is aimed at addressing the immediate and longer-term concerns of Singaporeans.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought major and irrevocable changes to the politico-socio-economic landscape in Singapore," said SDP.

"We spell out a vision that will take Singapore into a post-COVID-19 era which will allow the country to adapt and take advantage of changed circumstances and where the average Singaporean will play a central role," it added.

The next General Election must be held by Apr 2021. A Bill to allow special arrangements for a General Election held during the COVID-19 outbreak was introduced in Parliament earlier this month. 

READ: Bill to allow special arrangements for General Election during COVID-19 outbreak introduced in Parliament

READ: SDP holds 'pre-election' rally, says PAP has not kept its promises

SUSPENSION OF GST, PAYING RETRENCHMENT BENEFITS

SDP said its vision includes a plan to "protect the ordinary people", in view of "heightened income and social inequality" arising from an expected rise in retrenchments and pay cuts due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

One of the focuses of its GE campaign is the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The SDP proposed that the levy be cut to zero per cent and suspended until the end of 2021, a move that it said will "stimulate the economy and help businesses". 

It also suggested paying retrenchment benefits to workers laid off due to COVID-19.

This, it said, would involve the Government paying 75 per cent of the employees' last drawn salary for the first six months, 50 per cent for the the next six months, and 25 per cent for the following six months.

The party also said it will push to provide retirees over the age of 65 with a monthly income of S$500.

Under its proposed scheme, the bottom 80 per cent of retirees will receive the sum, SDP said. This group of retirees, it said, include many people who depend on their working children for financial support and those who do not have working children.

"With retrenchments and pay cuts expected to rise as a result of COVID-19, working adults will find it even harder to provide for their own children and take care of their retired parents at the same time," SDP said. 

PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST

As part of its focus of putting people first, the SDP called out the People's Action Party for putting its political interests ahead of public and health and safety "by insisting on calling for a GE in the midst of the COVID-19".

It also said that the pandemic was mishandled, and made the situation "much worse" for Singaporeans.

"Ordering Singaporeans not to wear masks if they are well, and not having addressed sooner the dire living conditions of our foreign workers in their dormitories despite early warnings, has made the situation for Singaporeans much worse," SDP said.

"SDP will ensure that the PAP puts the people's interest as top priority," it added.

SDP also reiterated its objection against increasing Singapore’s population through immigration, which it made during a "pre-election rally" in October last year.

"These "Four Yes, One No" issues address the concerns of our people on two levels: One, they take care of the immediate necessities of Singaporeans during and immediately following the period of the COVID-19 pandemic and, two, they ensure that the longer-term problems that confront our nation are dealt with," said SDP. 

"The SDP will focus on these ideas and proposals in our GE campaign and will elaborate on them in the coming weeks and months."

Source: CNA/ja

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