Updated: Jun 30
The Workers' Party (WP) has released their manifesto for GE2020 today!
WP's Vision for Singapore:
Singaporeans must be enabled to achieve their dreams: starting from our schools to ensure all our children are given the right tools and support to fulfil their potential and ambitions, and having social policies that support hardworking families to achieve their dreams.
We must forge a dynamic economy with competitive, locally-based firms that can withstand global and internal forces of change, while providing dignified jobs for our workers.
We will work together to build the home that we want: tackling the cost of living, having a robust health and social care system, with sustainable and affordable housing and liveable communities.
An accountable democracy and resilient Singapore is one where robust political, governance and defence institutions protect our security. We should embrace a diversity of views and encourage robust debate about the way forward.
The key proposal from WP (peppered with comments from IREsimply81):
1) No to a GST Hike
The Workers’ Party opposes the government’s plans to increase GST to 9%. This tax hike further burdens hardworking families already struggling with the high cost of living in Singapore. The Government must thoroughly explore all other alternative sources of revenue before increasing the GST.
IREsimply81 do not object to a GST hike. However, we propose a tiered GST for different levels of "needs" and "wants". 1) Essentials will have NO GST. Eg. merchandise sold at wet markets and meals at hawker centres will have no GST. 2) Necessities will be imposed a 5% GST. Eg. merchandise sold at supermarkets and meals at food court will have 5% GST. 3) Mild Indulgence items will attract 7% GST. Eg. Bakery, bubble tea, cafes, desserts will attract 7% GST. 4) Luxury items will attract 10% GST. Eg. Cars, meals at restaurants, entertainment such as pubs, bars will attract 10% GST. What do you think?
2) Uncage Our CPF, introduce Special Dividend from GIC investment
To empower our seniors and give them adequacy in retirement, the CPF Payout Eligibility Age and CPF Life eligibility age should be lowered to 60. Also, a third of the 10-year moving average difference between the investment returns of GIC and the net interest payable on CPF member balances, where positive, should be returned as a special dividend and paid into CPF members’ Special Accounts.
Aren't we already getting interests on our balances in CPF? Every month when I receive my CPF statement, I feel so rich! Next!
3) Introduce a national minimum wage
The Workers’ Party calls for all working Singaporeans to receive a minimum take-home wage of $1,300 per month for full-time work and pro-rated for part-time work. This helps over 100,000 Singaporeans that currently earn less than $1,300 to meet their basic needs.
Agree. However, IREsimply81 feel that the minimum wage should be higher at S$1,500 due to inflation. And not to forget, with minimum wage, things are going to get costlier too. So we should factor that increase too.
4) Introduce Redundancy insurance
To ensure that our workers can withstand income disruptions in an uncertain world, the Workers’ Party proposes a Redundancy Insurance Scheme to ease financial pressure on workers who have been made redundant while complementing existing programmes for re-training and re-employment.
The Redundancy Insurance is quite redundant. Which insurance company is going to underwrite this product? Perhaps some millionaire from WP can spearhead this project? Furthermore, retrenchment is good for Singapore. If there are no retrenchments, then I worry. IREsimply81 propose making retrenchment benefits compulsory for all companies.
5) Widen the use of Medisave for those over 60
To minimise out-of-pocket health expenses for our seniors, patients above 60 should be allowed to use their Medisave for all medical expenses at government polyclinics, public specialist outpatient clinics and CHAS clinics, that are not already covered by Medishield Life, Medifund or other assistance schemes.
Agree. However, use of Medisave should be limited to Government medical centres only to prevent unscrupulous profiting by private doctors.
6) Lower the cost of Intermediate and Long Term Care (ILTC)
Intermediate and Long-Term Care (ILTC) must be more heavily subsidised. Patients with a monthly household per capita income of below $3,200 should receive subsidies of 65% to 80% for approved ILTC services. This will help relieve the out-of-pocket financial burden of social care for many families.
Agree. However, the criteria should be more stringent such as annual value of property, personal net-worth should be considered. We must bear in mind that some millionaires can retire at 35 years old and have $0 income for the rest of their lives.
7) Improve access to university places for Singaporeans
Universities should implement targeted programmes and mentorships to widen access to students from all backgrounds, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds and no family history of attending university. The Government should also increase places for university admissions, aiming for at least 50% of each cohort to obtain a university degree.
Agree. Stop giving scholarships to foreigners and start developing our own talents! Why do we limit the number of medical students intake and yet employ doctors from other countries? Why do we stop students who are passionate about saving lives from studying medicine just because their grades are not on par? Shouldn't we give these students an opportunity, if they have not studied hard in the past, to redeem themselves?
8) Make public transport free for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)
Public transport on trains and buses should be made free for Singaporeans aged over 65 and all Singaporeans with disabilities. This should be funded from the Budget as well as utilising all available monies from the Public Transport Fund. Free public transport would lower the financial burden on PWDs and the rising number of seniors and supports inclusiveness.
Fully agree. No doubt about this.
9) Introduce HDB reform to tackle lease decay
A universal buy-back scheme should be offered to all HDB lessees to back-stop resale prices to a certain degree. Some flats could be rented out to Singaporeans at rates in between commercial and HDB public assistance rentals. Recognising the need for orderly urban renewal, the government should also consider raising SERS rates and providing a SERS scheme which uses instead BTO and balance flats for relocation instead of a nearby proxy site.
Partially agree. IREsimply81 propose that ALL HDB flats should be SOLD BACK TO HDB at the original purchase price at any point of time. There should be no profit or loss in absolute value, disregarding inflation. The flat will then be available for resale in the market via HDB again, after re-pricing, according to the market. This will prevent HDB flats from being used as a tool for profiteering.
10) Safeguard the independence of national institutions
National institutions should not only be independent but must also be seen to be independent. The Attorney-General’s Chambers should be separated into a prosecution service and a government legal counsel, the Elections Department of Singapore and the Electoral Boundary Review Commission should be made fully independent, and the term of each Parliament should be fixed.
IREsimply81's comments are done in jest with no malicious intent! Please take them with a bucket of salt.
However, if any party or if the Government would like to consider IREsimply81's ideas, do drop us an email and we can discuss in details.
You can read more about WP's manifesto here: https://www.wp.sg/manifesto/