By the Singapore Democrats
05 Feb 2009
Even as it rubbishes the economic proposals put forth by the Singapore Democrats as unworkable, the PAP pilfers them and then claims them as its own.
The most glaring is the Singaporeans First Policy. The SDP had campaigned on this proposal in the 2001 general election where we said that when it came to the economic interests of the people, Singaporeans should take top priority over non-citizens (see here).
This matter was even reported in the International Herald Tribune (see here). Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Lim Hng Kiang had then slammed the policy saying that it would hurt Singapore’s prospects for growth.
Five years later on 3 Dec 06, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled the “Singaporeans-first policy” (see here) in which he called for healthcare subsidies for non-citizens to be reduced.
Then yesterday in Parliament, Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry, Mr Inderjit Singh, said: “I feel that cost as an issue has been underestimated as a problem by the Government.”
Now take a look at what Dr Chee Soon Juan wrote in Singapore’s Future As A Financial Centre: “Taxes and levies are another scourge. Whether it is the ERP, GST, foreign workers levy, road tax, radio and TV licence fees, the PAP is squeezing the lifeblood out of people and businesses.” (see here).
More specifically, Mr Singh called on the Government to reduce ERP rates and the maid levy.
Just this week, the Democrats published an alternative proposal where, among other things, we said that ERP rates should be reduced and its operation times restricted (see here). As for the maid levy, we have repeatedly stated that the tax should be abolished and for part of the savings to be channeled to the domestic helpers to boost their wages. Such a measure will benefit both employer and employee (see here).
Recently Mr Inderjit Singh was reported to have suggested the introduction of Minimum Wage. This is an (welcome) about-turn by the MP — he had criticised the policy in 2006.
Together with the Singaporeans First Policy, the SDP had called for the introduction of a Minimum Wage policy to be introduced during the 2001 GE. We took pains to explain how such a policy would benefit workers and the economy (see here).
In fact as early as January 2004 NUS vice-dean and economics professor, Dr Hui Weng Tat, had supported the SDP’s ideas contained in our Singaporeans First Policy and Minimum Wage (see here).
In our most recent Budget proposal, we also called for the GST to be suspended for at least two years. In the Budget debate this week, PAP MP Mr Michael Palmer echoed our call for the GST to be suspended. Was he reading this website before he attended the budget session?
Nailing the lie
We make this presentation to nail the lie once and for all that the Singapore Democrats do not come up with alternative suggestions. The reference links we have provided above make it irrefutably clear that through the years we have been a constructive opposition.
It is the PAP, with the help of the media it controls, that blacks out our news. That’s the only way the ruling party can defeat the Singapore Democrats — not by competing with us on ideas but preventing voters from hearing and reading what we have to say.
Not only have we come up with ideas, these alternative proposals are also constructive and workable. Would the Prime Minister and his MPs adopt them if they were not?
The Singapore Democrats wish to emphasize that the PAP often makes economic policy-making to be a mystically complex subject where it and only it can handle.
The truth of the matter is that the economy should be run by the people and they are the ones the Government should listen to, not the so-called experts. In fact, it is the “experts” whom Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his ministers have been listening to who have caused the current financial mess the world finds itself. This will be the subject of discussion in an upcoming post.
One thing is absolutely clear, policy-making involves listening to the people and making sensible choices. For this to take place democracy and the freedom to speak are indispensable tools.
In the recent Budget debate in Parliament, not only were SDP’s ideas to eliminate or reduce GST and reduce ERP rates pilfered by PAP MPs, their idea to give out consumption coupons was also pilfered. See here.