GE2015: Vivian Balakrishnan should look at PAP's track record on tax and spend policies, says SDP's Chee Soon Juan

Mr Chee Soon Juan (left) and Mr Paul Tambyah speaking at the SDP Ang Mo Kio headquarters on Sept 2, 2015.
Mr Chee Soon Juan (left) and Mr Paul Tambyah speaking at the SDP Ang Mo Kio headquarters on Sept 2, 2015.ST PHOTO: MARISSA LEE

SINGAPORE - Dr Vivian Balakrishnan should look at his own party's track record when he talks about policies of tax and spend, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan said on Wednesday (Sept 2).

On Tuesday, the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC incumbent from the People's Action Party called the SDP's policy prescriptions "tax and spend programmes" that would put Singapore on the road to Greece.

Dr Balakrishnan also said that the SDP had "copied" these policies from other parts of the world, where they had "already failed".


Speaking to reporters at a press conference at the SDP Ang Mo Kio headquarters on Wednesday, Dr Chee said: "The criticism from Dr Balakrishnan is reminiscent of the one he made in the 2011 GE about our proposal to raise taxes for top earners, those in the top 1 per cent.

"In 2015, however, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that the Government would raise taxes for the top 5 per cent of earners. It seems that Mr Tharman did exactly what Dr Balakrishnan attacked the SDP for," Dr Chee added.

He cited the Government's progressive wage model - launched in 2012 - as another instance of the ruling party copying the SDP, but in piecemeal.

"They call it by another name, but it's still the minimum wage," said Dr Chee, adding that SDP's proposed minimum wage will be a universal one, whereas the Government's existing model targets the cleaning and security industries.

Medical professor Paul Tambyah, Dr Chee's teammate in the contest for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC against a PAP team led by Dr Balakrishnan, also spoke at the press conference.

"We're glad that he has chosen to engage us on policy issues rather than gutter politics," said Dr Tambyah.

On Tuesday, Dr Balakrishnan's teammate Ms Sim Ann reminded the media that Dr Chee had "kicked" Mr Chiam See Tong, his former mentor, out of the SDP.

"Mr Chiam's situation with me, we've resolved it. We invited him to our 35th anniversary dinner recently. I never ousted Mr Chiam. It's on record. Mr Chiam said so himself, that he had all these problems with his colleagues even before I joined the SDP," said Dr Chee.

"Ms Sim Ann continues to want to dredge all these things up... but Singaporeans just want the Government to address some of the points that affect their everyday lives, and they want some discussion, some debate on that, so they can vote intelligently," said Dr Chee.