SDP lists key campaign issues for next polls

Dr Chee Soon Juan has cited three issues his party will campaign on in the next general election: cost of living, CPF Minimum Sum, and the country's growing population.
Dr Chee Soon Juan has cited three issues his party will campaign on in the next general election: cost of living, CPF Minimum Sum, and the country's growing population. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan has cited three issues his party will campaign on in the next general election: cost of living, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Minimum Sum, and the country's growing population.

Many Singaporeans told him about the difficulty they have in coping with the rising cost of living, he said at an exhibition at the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium yesterday to mark the opposition party's 35th anniversary.

He also said the SDP first spoke up against the CPF Minimum Sum requirement 20 years ago: "We want to tell the electorate: If you don't have an opposition, the People's Action Party is going to be having a free rein in raising the Minimum Sum."

In February, a government-appointed advisory panel recommended making the CPF scheme more flexible, but said the requirement for a basic amount to be kept locked up should remain.

On the population, Dr Chee said it was important to assess if Singapore had adequate infrastructure. There was an outcry over a 2013 White Paper on parameters for a larger population. But the paper also outlined plans for infrastructure to cope with a potential population ranging from 6.5 to 6.9 million by 2030.

Dr Chee said yesterday the SDP has been preparing for the next general election, which must be held by January 2017, on the assumption it could take place as early as September.

A panel comprising Dr Chee, blogger Alex Au, Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics executive director Jolovan Wham and film-maker Martyn See discussed the SDP's legacy. Mr See said the SDP had a "proud record" of using civil disobedience to push for change, while Mr Wham said civil society is invariably tied to the party because of its history of activism.

But Mr Au noted that the SDP had turned away from such activities in recent years and was now "the one party that has been producing a lot of very thoughtful reports on a lot of important issues".

CHONG ZI LIANG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2015, with the headline 'SDP lists key campaign issues for next polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe