GE2020: National Solidarity Party unveils manifesto, joins other opposition parties in calling for GST hike to be scrapped

NSP Tampines GRC team members (from left) Mr Choong Hon Heng, Mr Mohd Ridzwan Mohammad, Mr Reno Fong Chin Leong, Mr Eugene Yeo, and Mr Vincent Ng Kian Guan. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - The National Solidarity Party (NSP) has announced its party manifesto for the general election on July 10, which calls for the upcoming goods and services tax (GST) hike to be scrapped and for retrenched workers or those in need to be allowed to make temporary withdrawals from their Central Provident Fund Ordinary Account.

The manifesto, which was uploaded on the party's Facebook page on Nomination Day (June 30), said that the Government should look beyond the GST for alternative sources of revenue, instead of raising the GST, which is slated to rise from 7 per cent to 9 per cent between 2022 and 2025.

It was originally set to go up from 7 per cent to 9 per cent between next year and 2025, but Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat made it clear that the rise will not take place next year.

But the GST hike will still be needed by 2025, he added, as Singapore requires recurrent sources of revenue to fund its recurrent spending needs in the medium term.

Scrapping or putting the GST hike on hold has featured in nearly every manifesto released by opposition parties to date. The Workers' Party, Singapore Democratic Party, Progress Singapore Party and Singapore People's Party have all made similar proposals.

The NSP also proposes that households be allowed to withdraw a maximum of $3,000 a month, up to a six-month period, from their CPF Ordinary Account if members are retrenched or if the household is experiencing financial hardship. This withdrawal amount will be capped at 20 per cent of the ordinary account, and should be fully repaid when the account holder has found employment.

Other policy proposals include reducing the cost of public transport, reducing expenditure on defence, smaller class sizes and the provision of comprehensive medical insurance for citizens. Citizens should be given priority when it comes to employment, the party said.

Elaborating on its proposal for healthcare, NSP said that there should be affordable medical insurance coverage for hospitalisation and outpatient treatments, including treatment for Covid-19 at private or restructured hospitals, polyclinics and affiliated private clinics. This insurance coverage should be mandatory for all citizens, with the Government contributing at least 50 per cent of the premiums.

Reducing class sizes would also allow for better interaction between teachers and students, the party added. "Now with the new experience of home-based learning digitally and virtually, we can explore boundless opportunities to provide our students with holistic learning."

The country's expenditure on defence should be reduced progressively over several years, so that it could be capped at 4.5 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product). "The nation should adopt a moderate and restrained posture and support regional cooperation and joint defence in order to contribute to a stable and peaceful environment in the region," said the NSP.

The NSP has fielded 10 candidates in Sembawang and Tampines GRCs for the upcoming polls.

NSP secretary-general Spencer Ng will lead the charge in Sembawang GRC. Also included in the team are Mr Ivan Yeo Tiong Boon, Mr Sebastian Teo Kway Huang, Mr Yadzeth Hairis, and new face Sathin Ravindran.

They are up for a rematch against the PAP Sembawang team after losing to them with 27.72 per cent of the vote in the 2015 polls.

The NSP team in Tampines GRC will include NSP president Reno Fong Chin Leong, as well as Mr Choong Hon Heng, Mr Eugene Yeo Ren Yuan, Mr Mohd Ridzwan Mohammad, and Mr Vincent Ng Kian Guan. In 2015, the NSP Tampines team lost to the PAP with a vote share of 27.93 per cent.

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