Reform Party

'Enough funds for handouts'

The Reform Party's sectarty-general Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam addressing their first rally Yio Chu Kang Stadium on Sept 4, 2015.
The Reform Party's sectarty-general Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam addressing their first rally Yio Chu Kang Stadium on Sept 4, 2015. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

The Reform Party (RP) defended its social spending policies last night by saying there was more than enough in Singapore's reserves to fund them.

Speaking at a party rally at Delta Hockey Pitch in Radin Mas Single Member Constituency, RP chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam estimated that plans to give $300 per month to every child under the age of 18 and $500 a month in pensions to those above 65, plus the abolishing of MediShield Life premiums for these groups, would come up to $6 billion a year.

He noted that the sum was "nowhere near" half of the return from investing reserves - which is the maximum amount the Constitution allows the current elected Government to spend.

"They will tell you our plans can't work because we can't pay for them. That is not true," he said.

He added that RP could further restrict these payouts to the bottom 60 per cent of society - "in which case the cost will be considerably lower".

Mr Jeyaretnam said his party does not believe in imposing punishing taxes on middle-income levels, nor in a welfare state.

"But that doesn't mean we don't believe in better safety nets," he went on to add.

He also said his party would put more money in the defence budget for a "professional army" and reduce national service for citizens to just one year.

Other RP rally speakers called for a minimum wage, the return of Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings at age 55, and changes to immigration policy.

CPF issues resonated with Bukit Gombak resident Tan Eng Bee, 65, who travelled to Redhill to attend yesterday's rally.

Mr Tan said: "Our Government should let us take out our CPF savings when we stop working."

Blogger Roy Ngerng, who is an RP candidate for Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency, attacked the $38 million revamp planned for Ang Mo Kio's Teck Ghee estate that was announced in July.

"Enough is enough. Singaporeans do not need the PAP to spend money to make things look pretty," he said. "If you had $38 million today, would you use it to make Ang Mo Kio pretty or would you use it to protect Singaporeans?"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2015, with the headline 'Reform Party 'Enough funds for handouts''. Print Edition | Subscribe