SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party (PAP) has unveiled its manifesto for the general election, entitled Our Jobs, Our Lives, Our Future. Below is a summary of key points in the 10 areas it covers:
1. Facing the Crisis of a Lifetime Together
Singapore has weathered many crises - Separation from Malaysia in 1965; British withdrawal in the 1970s; recession in the 1980s; Asian Financial Crisis in the 1990s; Sept 11, Sars and Global Financial Crisis in the 2000s.
Covid-19 is the most dangerous public health and economic crisis in over a generation. The PAP will work with Singaporeans to bring everyone safely through the storm. It has clear plans for Singapore's future beyond the crisis, and will invest in people, rebuild the economy and strengthen society.
2. Staying Safe and Healthy Together
Healthcare professionals and front-line agencies equipped to provide excellent healthcare for all, with $20 billion allocated to Ministry of Health in recent budgets.
Ramped up Covid-19 testing and tracing capabilities, and investments in R&D for Covid-19 treatments and vaccines.
Access to protective items such as face masks for all, new norms of safe interaction and improved public hygiene.
More migrant worker housing with improved standards. Health clearance of migrant workers so they can return safely to work.
3. Creating Jobs and Acquiring Skills Together
Jobs are a top priority. Wage subsidies protect workers from the immediate impact of Covid-19, income relief for the self-employed, financial assistance for retrenched workers.
No effort spared to protect and create jobs for Singaporeans. They will be equipped to take advantage of growth sectors and new opportunities, through SGUnited Jobs and Skills package.
Workers aged 40 to 60 get extra SkillsFuture credits, subsidised reskilling programmes, special incentives for employers to hire them.
Seniors, young job seekers, lower-wage workers and workers with disabilities to benefit from Senior Employment Credit, re-employment grants and job redesign; structured traineeships; enhanced Workfare support and extended Progressive Wage Model; and Enabling Employment Credit, respectively.
4. Transforming and Growing the Economy Together
To stabilise them against the immediate effects of Covid-19, businesses get help with cash flow, costs and credit, new laws on rental relief, with extra help for the hardest hit sectors like aviation, hotels, tourism and retail.
Preparations for a post-Covid-19 economy include plans to speed up digital transformation, Transformation and Growth packages, SMEs Go Digital grants and SkillsFuture Enterprise Credits.
Green lanes set up for safe travel with other countries, expanded trade networks to seek out new markets, and more diverse sources of food and essential supplies.
5. Providing Care and Support Together
Families received help with expenses when the economy was shut down through cash payouts to parents and seniors, and utilities credits.
They will get continued help with cost of living, through the Care and Support Package, enhanced housing grants, subsidies for transport, education and healthcare.
Enhanced subsidies so pre-schools are as affordable as primary school, with more places and higher quality.
More schools to cater to children with special education needs; and more affordable. More work and care options for such students beyond age 18.
Students from vulnerable backgrounds to get more support and guidance. Home-based learning to be made an integral part of education. Education reforms to be sped up; more inter-disciplinary learning in higher education with life-long learning in specialised areas.
Seniors to have more community support networks, free entry to public gyms and pools, more financial security in retirement with Matched Retirement Savings Scheme and enhanced Silver Support.
Polyclinic network to be expanded from 20 today to 32 by 2030.
To fund the healthcare needs of an ageing population, the Goods and Services Tax must go up from 7 per cent to 9 per cent but not before 2022. To help Singaporeans cope with the GST hike, a $6 billion Assurance Package will pay for the GST increase for five years for most households and 10 years for lower-income households, with social assistance for those who need more help.
6. Building a Strong and Resilient Society Together
To strengthen the social compact, social safety nets will be improved, communities of care built with mental wellness as a key focus and greater digital inclusion.
More support for social service agencies, through increased funding and matching of donations, and help to transform their operations.
The Government will exercise financial prudence and replenish the reserves when it can, as a safeguard for future generations.
7. Living Sustainably Together
Sustainability will be a way of life, with more clean energy from solar panels on rooftops and reservoirs, reduced greenhouse emissions, planting of one million trees, new mangrove areas to preserve carbon sinks.
Another 200ha of nature parks, 140ha of city parks and gardens in the next five years.
Enhanced coastal and inland flood protection against climate change and rising seas.
Scaled-up local food production and long-term production capabilities for essential supplies.
8. Building Our City Together
Covid-19 will slow down but not put an end to plans such as Smart Nation, 5G network, Tuas Megaport, Greater Southern Waterfront, Paya Lebar redevelopment and doubling of rail networks.
9. Creating a New Future Together
Covid-19 has forced a global pause and reset. Singapore has a unique opportunity to redesign for the future.
The 4G leaders launched the Singapore Together movement for deeper partnership between the Government and Singaporeans, and will work with Singaporeans to chart a new direction for the country, to emerge stronger as an economy, society and people.
10. Overcoming Crisis Together
Singapore will face the storm of a century with unity, resilience, solidarity and fortitude. The PAP will work with Singaporeans to seize new opportunities, reshape the future and build a sparkling city of tomorrow, emerging stronger from the crisis.
This, and more, will be done "because we have the Singapore spirit and each other".