Singapore GE2020: Singapore People's Party launches manifesto

Singapore People's Party candidates Osman Sulaiman, Melvyn Chiu, Steve Chia and Williiamson Lee at Block 131 Bishan Street 12 on June 20, 2020. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - The Singapore People's Party (SPP) launched its manifesto on Sunday (June 28), outlining its key positions on a spectrum of issues, ranging from the cost of living to climate change.

The party said its policies and positions are designed for the long term, and not just to tackle the short-term issues posed or exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 24-page manifesto was launched at a virtual press conference conducted via teleconferencing platform Zoom.

SPP secretary-general Steve Chia said the party wants to "show people that SPP is a credible party with credible ideas and credible proposals", through a more comprehensive manifesto.

The party has proposed policies to address social inequality, like implementing a minimum wage. It also argued that the goods and services tax (GST) should not be further increased, as it disproportionately affects the lower to middle-income groups.

Instead, the Government should consider implementing more "equitable measures", such as a higher income tax for the top 1 per cent or reintroducing estate duty, to increase revenue, said SPP.

"There is no reason for the Government to increase the GST where it can use other more equitable measures to increase revenue that have not yet been exhausted," said SPP in its manifesto.

The party also proposed doing away with the ethnic quota for Housing Board flats, which they said has disadvantaged minority races.

Mr Jose Raymond, its chairman, said he had come across home owners struggling to find buyers of their ethnicity, and they could not make as much profit as their neighbours.

The party has also tackled the topics of climate change and mental health.

On climate change, it said the Government's approach has been "reactive", and called for Singapore to tackle the root of the issue in more creative ways.

SPP called for all companies listed on the Singapore Exchange to publicly disclose their carbon emissions portfolio, investments in carbon-intensive operation and resources, and a road map to divest from them.

They said it should be mandatory for contractors and developers to undertake environmental impact assessments for any proposed developments. Such results should be disclosed to the public, they proposed.

SPP has also called for improved access to mental health professionals, and for employees to have the option of unpaid mental health leave.

Mr Raymond emphasised that climate change and mental health matters are serious issues Singapore needs to discuss, even though they are not traditional election topics.

"It is important nonetheless, because it's important to people's lives, " said Mr Raymond.

SPP has indicated plans to field five candidates - in Potong Pasir SMC and Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

Mr Chia will front the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC fight, with party vice-chairman Williiamson Lee, 40, Mr Osman Sulaiman, 45, and Mr Melvyn Chiu, 41.

Mr Raymond will contest Potong Pasir, and release a manifesto specific to Potong Pasir in the coming days.

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