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GE2015: SDP says high living costs mainly due to land prices

[SINGAPORE] Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidates for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC sought to defend their proposals at the party's fourth rally held on Sunday evening.

Speaking at Jurong East Stadium, SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan said that the rapid rise in living costs in Singapore were mainly driven by high land prices, adding that the biggest landlord was the Government.

He said this after People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Liang Eng Hwa said on Saturday that the SDP's proposal to institute a minimum wage for foreigners could lead businesses to pass on the higher wages to consumers and drive up costs of living further.

Dr Chee's fellow SDP candidate in the GRC, medical school professor Paul Tambyah, added that a minimum wage for foreign workers would mean that Singaporeans would not have to compete against low-wage foreign workers for jobs and exploitation of low-wage workers would also end.

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Dr Tambyah also said the party was not suggesting healthcare should be completely free in Singapore, saying that there would need to be some co-payments as well but these should be kept to a minimum.

On Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam had pointed out that providing free healthcare would necessarily mean higher taxes on middle-income workers.