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GE2020: PAP has not delivered on promise to ease cost of living burden, says SDP's Chee Soon Juan

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan said in a party political broadcast on Thursday that the People's Action Party (PAP) government, under Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has not delivered on its promise to lessen cost of living burdens.

Dr Chee, who is vying for the single seat in Bukit Batok once again after losing in a by-election in 2016 in that same constituency, said that the government has increased the cost of living by hiking water prices, town council fees, healthcare costs, and electricity rates and school fees, among others. 

The opposition politician also said that Mr Lee "has brought in even more foreign workers to compete with us for our jobs".

"We were told that the prices of our flats would never fall. But now, the PAP admits that our flats will decline in value until they become worthless at the end of the 99-year lease," said Dr Chee. "The future for Singaporeans, young and old, are looking increasingly bleak." 

Dr Chee reiterated the SDP's "4Yes1No" campaign. The "yes"es involve suspending the Goods and Services Tax (GST) until the end of 2021, introducing retrenchment benefits, providing a monthly income for retirees, and putting people first.

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The "no" is a thumbs down to Singapore's population growing to 10 million. 

The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) on Thursday issued a statement saying that the Government "has not proposed, planned nor targeted for Singapore to increase its population to 10 million".

“The Government regularly explains its approach to population planning, including through annual updates at the Committee of Supply debates," the NPTD said.

In a separate broadcast, the Peoples Voice (PV) party also highlighted income disparity as an issue they hope to tackle. 

"Peoples Voice wants to deliver a fairer and more prosperous society for the many, and not just the privileged few," said party candidate Michael Fang Amin.  

He is part of the team led by party chief Lim Tean who will contest Jalan Bear GRC against a PAP team led by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.

PV is advocating for a freeze on all S Passes and a "dramatic reduction" in the number of Employment Passes. The S Pass allows mid-level skilled staff to work in Singapore.

Candidates need to earn at least S$2,400 a month and have teh relevant qualifications and work experience. The Employment Pass allows foreign professionals, managers and executives to work in Singapore. Candidates need to earn at least S$3,900 a month and have acceptable qualifications. 

In its broadcast, the National Solidarity Party (NSP) said it wants to champion policies regarding labour, housing, population, retirement, and cost of living. 

NSP secretary-general Spencer Ng echoed calls made by PV to ensure Singaporeans have the priority for quality jobs. "We want to reduce the cost of living. One way is to make our housing affordable," said Mr Ng.

He questioned the necessity of the impending GST increase, arguging that GST is a "regressive tax" and that it should be abolished starting with basic necessities. 

Mr Ng contested in Marine Parade GRC in the 2011 polls and Sembawang GRC in 2015. This year, he is part of the NSP team contesting in Sembawang GRC against a PAP team led by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.

Mr Ng said they want the government to honour the legal rights of Singaporeans to allow residents to withdraw their CPF at 55. 

"Financial literacy for our retirees is the key to ensure they have adequate money to enjoy their hard-earned retirement. We do not believe in equal misery for all pertaining to the CPF." 

Meanwhile, the Reform Party (RP) said it wants to see "substantial" government spending now to combat the immediate economic effects of the Covid-19 crisis, but also a lasting change in the economic model. 

"There should be an end to the cruel policy of austerity," said Charles Yeo, one of the party's candidates in Ang Mo Kio GRC. "We want vastly improved social safety nets, universal health care, cash payments to families, a seniors pension, and a minimum wage," he said.

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