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GE2020: Red Dot United's manifesto includes proposals to put Singaporeans first on labour policies

GE2020: Red Dot United's manifesto includes proposals to put Singaporeans first on labour policies

Newest opposition party Red Dot United arrives at Nan Hua High on Nomination Day on Jun 30, 2020. From left to right: Mr Alec Tok, Ms Liyana Dhamirah, Mr Ravi Philemon, Mr Nicholas Tang and Ms Michelle Lee. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: Prioritising Singaporeans when it comes to jobs and avoiding a Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike for the next five years – these were some of the policy proposals laid out in Red Dot United's manifesto.

The party launched its set of policy recommendations, titled A Charter for our Future – Captains of our Own Lives, for the 2020 General Election last Sunday (Jun 28). 

In it, the party said it wanted to help Singaporeans be the “captains of their own lives and families” in three main ways: Improving their lives and reducing anxiety; creating more options; and getting ready for the future. 

READ: GE2020: PAP to face Red Dot United in Jurong GRC

“We cannot see the present clearly, much less the future, when we are constantly worrying about issues like our jobs, our healthcare expenses, and our retirement adequacy,” the party wrote in its manifesto.

“We cannot take on the future when we are overly anxious about failing and how to bounce back if we do.

“Having more options with flexibility in our policies, from CPF to education, is also important as it will mean that Singaporeans will be able to live a happier and more satisfying life,” it added. 

RELIEVING STRESS OVER JOBS, HOUSING 

Some of the suggestions the party had in reducing anxiety over jobs include offering workers in the gig economy more protection.

This can be done by revising the classification of workers as employees or independent contractors. The Employment Act should also provide them more protection and prevent them from getting abused. 

Several positions in selected growth sectors should also be reserved for Singaporeans to ensure “capability transfers” and to grow local expertise. 

In the area of housing, one suggestion was to make the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Programme (SERS) mandatory to ease Singaporeans’ concerns about lease decay and the value of their Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats.

READ: Old HDB flats: Assets losing their value?

SERS was launched in 1995 and offers owners of older HDB flats compensation and a new flat if their block is chosen for redevelopment. 

MANAGING COST OF LIVING 

Among the proposals Red Dot United had to tackle the cost of living was to offer heavily subsidised medical consultations without means testing. Preventive health measures such as vaccinations and screenings can be carried out at the same time.

This will help to identify ailments such as diabetes and hypertension early, ensuring better health for citizens and lesser cost for acute care in hospitals, it said. 

It also called for the impending GST rate increase from 7 per cent to 9 per cent to be halted for the next five years. 

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget speech in February that while the GST will not be increased in 2021, it will still need to be raised by 2025. 

Red Dot United said that people should be allowed to withdraw all their Central Provident Fund (CPF) money at retirement age. This will give senior citizens the chance to “live their lives with dignity” and the flexibility to make their own retirement plans, it said. 

Red Dot United's team at Nan Hua High giving a speech after filing nomination papers to contest at Jurong GRC on Jun 30, 2020. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

FLEXIBILITY IN EDUCATION, ADVOCACY WORK 

On how Singapore should improve its education system, Red Dot United said the curriculum should be more flexible to allow students to experiment and pursue their interests in areas such as sports and music. 

Students in alternate education programmes such as those who are home-schooled or in the Madrasah religious schools should be given an equal quantum of funding pegged against government expenditure per student.

Another suggestion was that Singaporean children should be given the choice to study in international schools, as this will free up spaces at more popular schools for other children.

On civil liberties, Red Dot United called for a review of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act, the Internal Security Act, the Public Order Act, and for a Freedom of Information Act to be instituted. 

HELPING LOCAL BUSINESSES

To better support local businesses, Red Dot United said the Government should prioritise local firms when it comes to procurements. 

Singapore’s sovereign wealth funds – Temasek Holdings and GIC – should acquire companies in selected industries and reserve some jobs in these companies for Singaporeans as well. 

FIXING THE LOW FERTILITY RATE 

According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, the country's feritility rate has been steadily declining and stood at 1.14 in 2019. 

To increase the fertility rate, Red Dot United said the Government should incentivise workplaces to develop family-friendly policies through the likes of tax rebates, reliefs or work permits. 

Paid parental leave should go up from the present 18 weeks to 26 weeks, and each parent must take at least eight weeks. 

Recognition should also be given to unpaid homemaking work, Red Dot United wrote. CPF contributions should be made to parents who decide to stay home to look after their children.

READ: Former PSP members file application to form new political party Red Dot United

ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE

Aside from installing solar panels and wind turbines in public spaces, Singapore could collaborate with regional countries to bring in clean solar and wind power, Red Dot United said. 

It also reiterated the need for community waste management and recycling schemes to reduce waste generated by households and businesses. 

Red Dot United, which was formed in May 2020, will be contesting Jurong GRC at this election. 

The candidates fielded include its secretary-general Ravi Philemon, 52, chairperson Michelle Lee, 43, Ms Liyana Dhamirah, 33, Mr Nicholas Tang, 28, and Mr Alec Tok, 55. The party was founded by Mr Philemon and Ms Lee. 

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of GE2020 and its developments

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Source: CNA/rp(cy)

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