What Is Each Singaporean Party Promising You This Election?

With less than a week till polling day, the electoral race is heating up in Singapore. Regardless of whether you’re a first time voter or a seasoned one, the time has come once again to collectively decide the fate of Singapore’s future. Key to making an informed decision at the ballot box come July 10 is to be informed of what the political parties in your constituency are promising you. The best way to find out is through each party’s manifesto. 

Here, we have compiled the various parties’ campaigning points across different areas of concern. However, it should be noted that the party manifestos of People’s Voice and People’s Power Party are not included, as they have yet to be officially released. 

While this article is rather comprehensive, it is merely designed to be a starting point for your exploration of Singaporean politics. Being a compilation, there might be some areas where policy positions are simplified or distilled. We urge readers to read the complete manifestos if something piques your interest.

Track records, policy feasibility, and the types of rhetoric used are all important considerations as well. We have our own opinions on each one of the manifestos – but its important that you come to your own conclusions after critical analysis.

Response to Covid-19

People’s Action Party (PAP)

  • Boost the standards of public health and safety
    • Allocated $20 billion to MOH in the recent budgets
    • Equip healthcare professionals and frontline agencies to provide excellent healthcare for all
    • Free in-patient treatment for Covid-19 at public hospitals
    • Ramp up and invest in Covid-19 testing and tracing capabilities and ensure that it is available to all Singaporeans who needs them
  • Reduce the risk of transmission & safeguard public health
    • Ensure everyone can obtain protective items such as face masks
    • Establish new norms of safe interaction for daily living
    • Improve public hygiene through a major national effort, including through the SG Clean campaign
  • For the migrant workers
    • Complete their health clearances and enable them to return safely to work
    • Build additional housing with new operating models and improved standards

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Listen to medical experts 
    • Recommend the formation of an independent medical advisory board making both public and private recommendations to the government’s medical team, to act as a source of alternative perspectives and advice to the government’s doctors, and to pre-empt any possible blind spots
  • Expand testing for Covid-19
    • This involves testing a large number of people within the community, including those who may not present symptoms. Communities which are at higher risk of infection should be prioritised for such testing. 
    • When borders are eventually opened, all incoming travellers must be tested and cleared before being allowed to mingle in the local community
    • A national effort to leverage domestic biomedical R&D and manufacturing resources should be made to ramp up production of test kits to make this possible
  • Implement effective contact tracing while safeguarding privacy
    • The current adoption rate of the TraceTogether app falls far short of the level needed for it to be effective. 
    • Key now is to ensure widespread use of the nationally adopted contact tracing solution, minimising attempts at evasion.
    • To protect the privacy of Singaporeans, the TraceTogether code should remain open source and gather only data that is absolutely necessary for contact tracing. Third party privacy audits should be conducted regularly with results published.
  • Offer free vaccinations for Covid-19
    • The Covid-19 vaccine, when available and approved, should be administered for free to all Singapore residents, starting with the most vulnerable. 
    • Immunisation should be required for residents of all ages, where safe and medically recommended, so that herd immunity against the virus in Singapore can be quickly attained, with an added benefit of avoiding further costly lockdown measures. 
  • Review Budget stimulus and payment modes
    • Instead of spreading the support package over so many schemes, it would be better to channel the financial support primarily through a stored value account for each citizen
    • There should also be a single portal across the whole of government, allowing every citizen and company to view the support they have received from government schemes, the schemes which they may be eligible for with direct links to application forms, as well as their available credits.
  • Plug gaps in support
    • HDB public rent should be forgiven until all forms of lockdown restrictions are lifted, as rental flat residents are screened to be of low income.
    • The Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme should be made automatic for all self-employed adults below the age of 37.
    • Singaporeans who have CPF balances that exceeded their CPF Minimum Sum should also be allowed to withdraw a reasonable percentage of their excess CPF balances during times of crisis such as this.
  • Support local enterprises robustly
    • For government loan schemes to provide emergency credit to SMEs during Covid, SMEs should be allowed to repay these loans when they return to profitability. 
    • There should be clear rules mandating that financial institutions offer lower interest rates to be offered for loans where the government takes on the bulk of the credit risk.
  • Review public communications and controls during pandemics
    • Every effort should be made to ensure that major rule changes should not happen on a daily basis. Exceptions to new rules should be announced at the same time as the rule.

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

  • Create a stronger social safety net to help Singaporeans through the Covid-19 crisis
    • Improved financial assistance due to Covid-19.
    • Increased ComCare payout.

Red Dot United (RDU)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Reform Party 

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Economy

People’s Action Party (PAP)

  • To stabilise businesses against the immediate effects of Covid-19, the government is: 
    • Helping with cash flow, costs and credit
    • Passing laws for rental relief
    • Providing extra help to the hardest hit sectors like aviation, hotels, tourism and retail
  • Accelerate digital transformation of all industry sectors
  • Help firms to innovate and adapt with Transformation and Growth Packages
  • Give SMEs extra support through the SMEs Go Digital, SkillsFuture Enterprise Credits and other grants
  • Promote new growth sectors – such as innovation and technology, biomedical, ICT, professional and digital services, cybersecurity, food manufacturing, medical care and education
  • Establish green lane arrangements for safe travel with other countries 
  • Pursue international co-operation, expand SIngapore’s trade networks and seek out new markets
  • Participate actively in the global digital economy
  • Diversify Singapore’s sources of food and essential supplies and build resilient supply chains

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Form an export-import (EXIM) Bank. The bank will finance SMEs’ expansion overseas and can be harnessed in the aim towards Industry 4.0.
    • Focus on providing credit for exports and promoting foreign direct investment for promising SMEs. 
    • The Bank’s mandate can include a focus on financing for digitisation and Industry 4.0 projects by local firms. 
  • Form an inter-ministerial National Secretariat for Enterprise. The NSE will groom local firms to become globally competitive in key sunrise industries. 
    • Coordinate programmes across all relevant agencies and periodically review progress made towards targets. 
    • Develop metrics measuring job creation and multiplier effects on the SME sector for industries receiving government support. This will then be used for reviewing the return on investment. 
  • Keep commercial and industrial rents manageable.
    • JTC to expand its market share for industrial space, and to continue offering low-rent options for SMEs alongside its private sector-run facilities. 
    • Pegging HDB rents to commercial rates places a large burden on the micro-businesses and start-ups operating in the heartlands. HDB should offer low-rent commercial spaces allocated by ballot, to stimulate microbusinesses and entrepreneurship in the heartlands.
    • To minimise rental surges, government commercial and industrial land policy must ensure that the level of commercial and industrial rental growth should not outpace inflation. 
  • Nurture silver industries (Industries catered to elders). Government agencies to work with local enterprises and government-linked research centres to promote the use of productivity-enhancing technology amongst eldercare service providers. 
    • Test-bedding and perfecting care innovations domestically will enable Singapore’s local firms to export these innovations to overseas markets, helping to drive the economy
  • Require interest on late payments from Government to vendors to ensure fair contract adherence practices 
  • No to the GST hike to 9%
    • Alternative sources of revenue need to be more thoroughly considered before increasing the GST. 
    • The Government should also release its revenue and expenditure projections for the rest of the upcoming decade for the public to make a more informed decision on raising GST. 

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

  • Assistance to local SMEs
    • Priority in public sector procurements
    • Invest in local SMEs and encourage cooperation amongst them 
    • Direct support to SMEs to restructure their business and in their effort to go overseas 
    • Reduce business costs 
  • Taxes and Fees
    • Freeze tax and fee increases for the next five years 
    • Exempt basic necessities from GST

Red Dot United (RDU)

  • No’ to a further rise in the Goods & Services Tax (GST) or other fees, in the next five years.
  • Support for local businesses
    • Provide priorities in government procurement and use Sovereign-Wealth Fund (SWF) to acquire companies in selected industries and reserving some jobs in these companies to create opportunities for Singaporeans
    • Provide pathways for SMEs to partner GLCs/MNCs to venture overseas and provide risk capital in the form of debt instruments, quasi equity, and equity alongside technical assistance.
    • Study development of greater synergies with land-abundant neighbouring regions to support the whole value chain needs of businesses, thereby jointly offering investors a more attractive value proposition that spans borders.
    • Support the growth and development of local SMEs and move towards a more progressive tax structure.

Reform Party 

  • Suspension of GST for this year and next and then a review with a view to eliminating it on certain essential categories of spending like food, utilities and medicines.
  • Unemployment benefit of up to six months based on 75% of last drawn salary with a cap of $2500 per month.

Singapore Democcratic Alliance (SDA)

  • Propose a more stringent set of checks prior to the approval of expenditure on “vain-glorious mega-projects” such as the upcoming Founder’s Memorial, Changi Jewel and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, and channelling savings yielded to developing our savings.
  • Reduction of GST to 3% for essential goods.

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

  • Ensure revenue neutral budgets. Rather than register huge surpluses every year, the government should collect in taxes only the amount that it needs
    • If it says, as DPM Tharman did in 2015, that the government has all its spending needs taken care of for the rest of the decade, then it should not raise taxes, fees and other charges during this period.
  • Scrap GST for essential items, raise GST for luxury goods. This is to protect poorer households from regressive taxation. To offset the reduction in revenue, the GST rate for luxury items should be increased to 10 percent or more.
  • Encourage entrepreneurship by working to ensure that Singapore is free and open so that innovation can thrive.
    • Workers must be intrinsically motivated; only this will ensure that they excel in whatever they do and add value to the goods and services they produce. 
    • Aim to cut down on importing cheap foreign labour and ensure that employers employ Singaporeans first. Only when local talent cannot be found should foreigners be employed.
  • Eliminate GLCs, increase SMEs 
    • Divest inefficient government-linked companies (GLCs), which are competing with and slowing down the growth of Singapore’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), of their untouchable status. 
    • Reduce land costs and rentals for local SMEs and work towards weaning the economy off its addiction to multinational corporations (MNCs).
  • Reinstate the estate duty tax which was abolished in 2008.
  • Stop extravagant public spending on lavish and unnecessary expenditure such as $880,000 rubbish centres and $1,500 bus-stop seats. To do this, an effective opposition presence in Parliament, one that will meaningfully and competently examine records and question the ministers, is essential

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • No further increase of GST as it is a regressive tax that affects the lower and middle class population disproportionately, especially since essential items are not exempt from it
    • The Government has had a healthy budget surplus in the past years and can tap on various other mechanisms to increase revenue like a higher income tax for the top 1% or re-introducing estate duty. Thus, 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. 
  • Increased cash supplement under the Silver Support scheme
    • A study by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy concluded that single elderly households require no less than S$1,379 to maintain a basic standard of living but almost 75% of elderly persons received monthly CPF payouts of less than $500. This shows that a significant number of Singapore’s aged population may not have the means to maintain even a basic standard of living
    • Propose that the quantum of the cash supplement be doubled and that the cash supplement be distributed monthly, instead of quarterly
    • In addition, those who qualify for the Silver Support Scheme should also have free travel on public transport. The quantum should also be regularly reviewed (instead of only once every 5 years) to track increases in the cost of living.

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

  • While a steady inflow of sizable foreign investments should be sustained consistently, a balanced ratio between foreign versus local investments shall be maintained.
  • Local SMEs and micro businesses shall be assisted to lower business costs, increase productivity and enhance competitiveness.
  • Taxation
    • The Government shall not increase further the current Goods and Service Tax (GST) of 7% to 9% and look beyond the GST mechanism for alternative sources.
    • More tax credits shall be given to citizens caring for their aged parents and school-going children. These credits can be the form of tax rebates in their annual income taxes.
  • Privatisation 
    • Essential entities integral to the national infrastructure shall be sustained by a responsible government and shall not depend on shareholders’ interest alone as is the norm with privatised organisations.

Workforce

People’s Action Party (PAP)

  • Equip Singaporeans to take advantage of new opportunities and growing sectors
    • Setting up of the National Jobs Council to oversee this work which aims to create 100,000 new job opportunities, comprising jobs, traineeships, mid-career pathways and courses under the SG United Jobs and Skills Programme 
  • Accessibility to job opportunities
    • Setting up of satellite career centres in all HDB towns
    • Scale up programmes for career conversion and for skills upgrading and mastery with the Next Bound of SkillsFuture 
    • Strengthen safeguards for jobseekers under the Fair Consideration Framework 
    • Provide financial incentives for employers to hire or redeploy their local workers
  • For workers aged 40 – 60:
    • Extra SkillsFuture credits and heavily subsidised reskilling programmes & mid-career pathway programmes to help you start new careers
    • Special incentives for employers to hire you
  • Young Job Seekers:
    • Strengthen career support for new graduates
    • Create structured traineeships with firms
    • Offer free continuing education and training to pick up additional skills and knowledge while the job market recovers
    • Preparation for regional opportunities through the Global Ready Talent programme and overseas internships when it is safe to travel again
  • Lower Wage Workers: 
    • Enhanced Workfare support 
    • Extending the Progressive Wage Model to even more industries
  • Work with employers to hire persons with disabilities, including through the Enabling Employment Credit

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Introduce a national minimum wage for working Singaporeans to receive a minimum take-home wage of $1,300 per month for full-time work and prorated for part-time work.
  • Abolish retirement age to allow Singaporeans to work for as long as they are able and willing to. 
    • Anti-discrimination legislation and measures should also be deployed to prevent unfair dismissal due to age discrimination.
  • Recognise unpaid labour primarily provided by women who are homemakers and caregivers. 
    • There should be annual measures of the amount of unpaid work undertaken by Singaporeans, and this should be published as a supplement to national GDP data.
  • Introduce Shared Parental Leave which encourages closer parental bonds with children while having positive effects on the relationship between the parents.
    • It should entitle parents to 24 weeks of government-paid leave, to be shared between mothers and fathers as they choose, but with a minimum of 12 weeks to be granted to the mother and 4 weeks to the father. 
  • Support Employer Workforce Re-Entry Programmes for mothers and informal caregivers. Such programmes should include mentorship, skills updating and offering a permanent position at its completion and tax reliefs should be granted to employers who run successful re-entry programmes. 
  • Introduce Redundancy Insurance Scheme to ease financial pressure on workers who have been made redundant while complementing existing programmes for re-training and re-employment. 
    • Under the proposed scheme, the average worker will pay approximately $4 per month into an Employment Security Fund. Employers would be required to match workers’ contributions. A retrenched worker would then receive a payout equivalent to 40% of their last drawn salary for up to six months. 
    • The payout will be capped at $1,200 per month with a minimum payout of $500 a month to benefit low-wage workers. Payouts after the first payout will be conditional on the worker actively seeking a new job or undergoing re-training. 
  • Legislate against discrimination for gender, race and age as any discriminatory practice is still not an offence carrying penalties. 
    • TAFEP should be instituted which will help Singapore’s job market benefit from the greater clarity and more stringent penalties behind minimum anti-discriminatory norms that anti-discrimination laws would create. 
  • The Singapore government should develop a measure for under-employment by pay and qualifications, so that the government is able to track Singapore’s progress in tackling what would likely be a huge, structural challenge in the future. 
  • Tighten Employment Pass (EP) approvals to ensure employment is only granted to foreigners where there is a real lack of local manpower and skills.
    • Employers should, in all cases, submit a detailed description of local recruitment efforts done, numbers of Singaporean applicants and reasons why Singapore candidates who were considered were deemed unsuitable for the position. 
    • MOM should use this data to better support employers in hiring Singaporeans, and ultimately to curb access to EPs by employers with a track record of low rates of hiring of Singaporean applicants versus foreign applicants without convincing reasons.
  • Introduce Employment Pass credentials assessment 
    • All Employment Pass and S Pass job applicants with university degrees and diplomas should be subject to mandatory educational credential assessments (ECAs), with costs to be borne by the applicant. 
    • ECAs would only be accepted from a panel of government-appointed established, independent consultants. The ECA report will be sent to the government, prospective employer and applicant. 
  • Incentives for employers with a track record of hiring more Singaporeans than required by the dependency ratios. They should be given economic benefits such as tax incentives, reduction in government charges or preferential access to state incentives. 
  • Boost caregiver support as many of them may neglect their own physical, emotional and mental needs. All informal caregivers of elderly or disabled family members should be entitled to ask for flexible work arrangements that are feasible for their line of work and fair to both employer and employee. 
    • Employers should provide reasons if the request cannot be met. Caregiver support networks and counselling services should also be readily available for care-givers who also work.
    • All full-time caregivers should be given the option to take a day off a week, where they can draw on a shared pool of suitably-qualified respite home care workers to step in during their day-off. Full government subsidies should be made available to those who meet the means-testing requirements.

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

  • Living Wage
    • Increase amount of Workfare and the cash portion to 80% (like wages) 
    • After the economy stabilises, to introduce living wage to all sectors
  • Jobs for Singaporeans
    • Job priority for Singaporeans 
    • Introduce quota for Employment Pass 
    • Lower quota for S Pass and Work Permit 
    • Review free trade agreements like CECA 
  • Reduce dependence on foreign labour
    • Problems of congestion, social strains and depressed wages 
    • Curb easy supply to push employers to invest in equipment or processes for higher productivity 
    • Move toward higher value-add and higher-wage model Assistance to local SMEs

Red Dot United (RDU)

  • Review of FTAs like CECA to show how Singapore and Singaporeans have benefited from this agreement – how many local jobs have gone to Indian professionals, and how many Singaporeans have gone to countries like India.
  • Assess bearing of Employment Pass system to study bearing on unfair competition for good jobs for Singaporeans.
  • Offer more protections to workers working under the gig economy
    • There is a need to look at the classification of workers as employees or independent contractors. 
    • The Employment Act could be revised to clamp down on errant employers, preventing them from abusing the distinction between employees and independent contractors in order to avoid giving benefits and protections to employees by classifying them as independent contractors.
  • Ensure a Singaporean First hiring policy by reevaluating the effectiveness of the Fair Consideration Framework to assess if it is an effective mechanism to ensure Singaporeans have access to good jobs.
  • Introduce an award scheme for Human Resource managers with a good compliance track record for prioritising jobs for Singaporeans and provide incentives for companies to employ such HR managers.
  • Encourage more people to upgrade themselves by starting the reverse way – match PMETs to jobs before they go through an OJT or part-time training programme.
    • Salary support can come from the government to incentivize companies to hire such people and train them. 
    • The Professional Conversion Program where the government pays up to $4,000 monthly salary to the company when they hire and re-train the employee is in place and can be expanded.
  • Reserve some jobs for Singaporeans in selected future growth sectors to enable capability transfers and to grow local expertise.

Reform Party 

  • Unemployment benefit of up to six months based on 75% of last drawn salary with a cap of $2500 per month.
  • Minimum wage of $10 per hour which will ensure more jobs go to Singaporeans and better wages for foreign workers
  • Employment Pass minimum salary to be raised to at least $5,000 per month with a cap on total numbers. Additional tax for new citizens, long-term employment pass holders and PRs who have not done NS.

Singapore Democcratic Alliance (SDA)

  • Proposes stricter qualifying criteria regulations for local firms that seek to hire foreign working professionals
  • Tighten quotas on the number that a company can hire, and that these foreign working professionals come from universities on a Singapore-accredited list
  • Demand higher labour audits on companies, to ensure that rogue firms do not get away with hiring phantom local stuff to boost their army of cheap foreign labour

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

  • Legislation of minimum wage ensures that low-income workers are not exploited and that economic growth occurs in a fair and sustainable manner. Minimum wage will also help to reduce income inequality as well as reduce the demand for foreign workers.
  • Empower workers by upgrading their minds and attitudes by returning them their freedom to help them feel a sense of belonging to society that they will be motivated to contribute more than what is asked of them.

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Introduce minimum wage to be instituted and pegged to the amount required for one to meet their basic needs in Singapore. 
  • Unemployment insurance and retrenchment rights should be mandated for all Singaporean workers, especially to ensure that in times of economic recession or hardship, Singaporean workers should not have to struggle to maintain a basic standard of living.
    • This can be funded through contributions from both employees and employers and will help to tide the employees through a period of 6 months while they upskill or look for new jobs. 
    • Employers should also be required to give employees retrenchment benefits in accordance with the TAFEP guidelines which should be codified in law to prevent inequitable retrenchment and to guarantee the rights of employees. 
  • Review of free-trade agreements as they should not be a mechanism for the Singaporean workforce to be displaced and should aim to complement the Singaporean worker instead of just the employers and conglomerates.
    • The Government should also be more transparent in showing evidence of how FTAs have benefited the workforce
  • Abolishing the retirement age 

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

  • Employment 
    • Citizens should be entitled to foremost priority in the engagement and employment of the workforce.
    • The Government shall establish a minimum living wage policy to protect low-wage earners from being exploited, and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) shall ensure non-tolerance to employment discrimination.

Central Provident Fund (CPF)

People’s Action Party (PAP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Lower the CPF Payout Eligibility Age and CPF Life eligibility age to 60 and empower elderly Singaporeans to make an informed choice of when to start drawing down their hard-earned retirement savings
  • Introduce Special Dividend from Government Investment Corporation (GIC) investments for CPF members
    • To ensure transparency on the performance of their money, members should be notified of the 10-year moving average difference between the investment returns of GIC and the net interest payable on CPF member balances.
    • To boost retirement adequacy, a third of this difference, where positive, should be returned as a special dividend and paid into CPF members’ Special Accounts.
  • Boost retirement adequacy for unpaid workers such as full-time homemakers and caregivers
    • Relax rules on the transfer of CPF funds before the age of 55 (including Medisave), provided the Minimum Sum has been met, to allow transfers to older relatives in one’s extended family. 

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

  • Increase quantum of CPF withdrawal up to $50,000 at age 55
  • Sale of En-bloc rights
  • Medishield Life premium to be paid by Government

Red Dot United (RDU)

  • Allow CPF Members an option to withdraw all their monies in the Provident Fund at retirement age.
  • Allow members to borrow from their own CPF accounts to steady themselves in an uncertain job market. 
  • Study if more competition by professional fund managers can be introduced to get better returns on CPF Savings for Members.
  • Provide more options for CPF Members, for example, by incentivising staggered withdrawal of CPF money in 5 or 10 year intervals after retirement age through better interest rates for such savings.

Reform Party 

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA)

  • Senior citizens should receive their CPF savings in full upon reaching retirement age (currently at the age of 62)
  • A component should be reserved for MediSave and MediShield Life to fund emergency healthcare costs

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

  • Abolish the Minimum Sum Scheme (MSS) and return retirees their CPF savings.
  • De-couple housing and healthcare from CPF to ensure Singaporeans have enough retirement money
  • Require the GIC to submit annual reports of their investment activity and financial accounts to Parliament for scrutiny and questioning.
  • Hold the GIC publicly accountable for its actions by tracking funds, management costs, investment strategies, projection of value creation and risk management of these strategies.
  • Ban ministers/former ministers from GIC leadership. Instead, its management team should be appointed to limited terms by the President subject to a public confirmation process conducted by Parliament.

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Ensuring retirement adequacy with a fundamental re-think of the CPF scheme to consider top-ups and supplementary schemes. 
  • Allowing partial withdrawals on compassionate grounds, widen the current narrow prerequisites and should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
  • Publication of CPF investment returns in the interests of transparency and accountability, this will also help to retain the trust of the populace by showing that the Government can pay off its debts. 
    • On years when the returns are better than expected, the Government should also distribute the increased returns to contributors as a bonus to help members be more adequately prepared for retirement.

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

  • Withdrawal from CPF during times of hardship
    • Citizens shall be allowed to withdraw temporarily from their own CPF Ordinary Accounts, whenever they are retrenched or in times of hardship. 
    • A household can withdraw a maximum amount of $3000 per month up to a 6-month period, capped at 20% of the Ordinary Account.
    •  Such withdrawals should be fully repaid when the Account Holder is gainfully employed.
  • Education Support
    • To provide a further boost for continuing education in this current knowledge-based economy, the list of CPF-approved tertiary providers should be expanded both in scope and availability.

Education

(Source)

People’s Action Party (PAP)

  • Education subsidies
    • Enhanced bursaries, scholarships, transport, meal and school fee subsidies. 
    • 100% subsidy for ITE fees and reduced fees for SIT and SUSS full time general degrees
  • Families with children with Special Education Needs (SEN) need extra support.
    • Raise awareness of SEN and promote greater inclusivity.
    • Make special education more affordable.
    • Open new Special Education Schools to cater to different special needs. 
    • Increase work and care options for SEN students beyond age 18.
  • Pre-Schoolers
    • Make early childhood centres Covid-19 safe so that preschoolers can continue to learn and be nurtured, and parents can work with the assurance their children are cared for.
    • Enhance subsidies to make preschool as affordable as primary school.
    • Increase the government share of supported preschool places to 80%.
    • Double the number of MOE kindergartens to 60. 
    • Raise pre-school quality through the National Institute for Early Childhood Education.
  • Students
    • Provide greater support and guidance to students from vulnerable backgrounds, who are most affected by the crisis.
    • Accelerate the National Digital Literacy Programme, including bridging the digital divide by equipping every secondary student with a computing device.
    • Make Home-Based Learning (HBL) an integral part of education 
    • Accelerate education reforms so students can acquire knowledge and skills for a fast-changing future.
    • Reform higher education to introduce more interdisciplinary learning, complemented with lifelong learning in specialized areas.
    • Refresh Singapore’s Character and Citizenship Education curriculum to prepare young Singaporeans to be upright and compassionate individuals, imbued with mental resilience and sound values.
    • Deepen the professional expertise of Singapore’s teachers with SkillsFuture for Educators.

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Improve access to university places for Singaporeans
    • Universities should implement targeted programmes and mentorships to widen access to students from all backgrounds, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds and no family history of attending university.
    • These programmes should commence at secondary school and include financial support to ensure that participants are not only admitted to universities, but stay and complete their degrees.
  • Raise the targeted percentage of graduates per cohort to 50%
  • Reduce form class sizes in schools to 20-25 students
    • This should be rolled out progressively, with priority given to foundation subjects in primary schools and normal stream/G1 subjects in secondary schools. Academically weaker students should be the first to benefit from this change.
  • Ensure Equitable funding for schools
    • Less popular schools should receive further baseline funding on top of the current per capita funding to ensure that these schools are able to offer their students a wider range of programmes and choices.
  • Improve access to enrichment programmes for low-income children
    • The current approach to state-supported enrichment programmes outside of the school system for weaker pupils should be centralised under the coordination of the Ministry of Education to offer highly subsidised, high-quality coaching and teaching interventions for low-income and at-risk students.
  • More infant care centres
    • The number of infant care centres built must directly reflect the population demographic of the district they are located in. 
    • Newer housing estates with young families should have more centres with the necessary resources and facilities to provide quality care for infants.
  • Extend fee and financial assistance to all preschools
  • 10 year through-train option for primary and secondary schools
    • Propose a 10 year through-train programme (10 YTS) from Primary 1 to Secondary 4 as an option for parents who wish their child to bypass the PSLE. 
  • Introduce a SkillsFuture education loan
    • There should be a SkillsFuture education loan disbursing zero-interest loans from the state to support the cost of private Continuing Education and Training (CET) programmes and qualifications.
  • Teach for Singapore
    • Call for a Teach for Singapore scheme, with a cadre of teachers trained in both educational and social work, who can provide academic guidance and holistic care to at-risk students. Such teachers would be better equipped to guide disadvantaged students in negotiating the obstacles they face in achieving their full potential in life.

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

  • Use education as a social leveller.

Red Dot United (RDU)

  • Build in more flexibility in curriculum to allow students to experiment and pursue their interests.
  • For students in alternative education programmes (e.g. Madrasah, home-schoolers), provide an equal quantum of funding pegged against government expenditure per student, aimed at improving secular subjects such as language, maths and science.
  • Expand Compulsory Education Act to cover all Singaporean children to complete ten years of primary and secondary education in approved educational programmes before they turn 18.
  • Relook at school curriculum and syllabus to give more emphasis to topics like computational skills and soft skills.
  • Ensure andragogic and pedagogic educational qualifications have better international recognition.
  • Emphasise sports and other life-skills training for Singapore’s children, where they can interact across schools and economic divides.
  • Expand the Anchor Operator Programme (AOP) to include ‘diversity’ in its assessment criteria of preschool service providers, and this criteria should be given greater weightage over criterions like ‘the ability to increase capacity’.
  • Review the National Education framework to encourage students to research, discuss and hold learning journeys to learn about the different ethnic and religious groups living and working in Singapore to build a more understanding and cohesive society.
  • Make every school a good school where the neighbourhood primary and secondary schools have smaller class sizes so that the burden of tuition will be lessened. MOE will have to recalibrate teachers’ intake upwards to pre-2014 levels to make this happen.
  • Allow Singaporean children to study in International Schools if they so choose. This will free up spaces at the more popular schools so that there will be more spaces for other children.

Reform Party 

  • Education to be given a higher priority in order to reduce dependence on imported skills and to compete with Asian and other competitor nations.
  • Universal free and compulsory education to secondary level.
  • Invest more in education particularly at the pre-school and primary level. 
  • Universal free pre-school education without parents having to rely on religious or political affiliated kindergartens as at present.
  • Reduction in class sizes and increase in hours at school daily.
  • Improve teacher training. 
  • Reduction of labelling and streaming too early in children’s school careers with more emphasis on raising standards generally rather than catering to an elite who may already enjoy significant advantages in wealth or resources.
  • Admission to so-called elite schools to be open to the wider population and more meritocratic.
  • All tutors and classes external to schools to be licensed and graded
  • Early education to focus on creating a culture of creative and independent thought. 
  • Expansion of tertiary education in line with the rest of OECD.
  • Revamping of the scholarship system so that funds are directed to deserving students from lower income families rather than the way in which it is now given to the children of the elite to create a permanent aristocracy.

Singapore Democcratic Alliance (SDA)

  • Tackle social inequality by giving disadvantaged Singaporeans (particularly youth) a shot at success by providing them with
    • Conducive after school care in dedicated centres near their homes.
    • Caregiver-tutors to motivate and coach them.

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

  • Cultivate creative minds
    • Primary and secondary school curricula will be revised to include activities that cultivate creativity in students.
  • Do away with the PSLE
    • Scrapping it will allow teachers to teach and students to learn in a more holistic manner.
  • Broaden curriculum, reduce workload
    • The number of subjects at the primary and secondary school level will be broadened to include student collaboration projects, speech and drama, and humanities and the arts. 
    • The content of traditional subjects like mathematics and science will, however, be reduced
  • Reduce class size
    • Class sizes will be reduced so that each teacher will have a class of no more than 20 students
  • Introduce the Dedicated-Teacher System
    • A single teacher will take one set of students from Primary 1 to 3 before another teacher takes over from Primary 4 to 6. Giving a teacher three years (instead of only one) to teach a student allows the teacher to acquire substantial knowledge about the student’s developmental progress, allowing each teacher more time to plan and implement his or her interventions.
  • Scrap school and class ranking
    • Schools will not segregate pupils according to their examination results. 
  • Nationalise preschools
    • Preschool education in Singapore will be nationalised to ensure that Singaporean children from all walks of life have access to preschool education. 
  • Introduce interest-free student loans for all undergraduates to help them pay their tuition and fees. Loan repayment commences only when the graduate is gainfully employed.
  • Tertiary institutions to be completely autonomous and free from state interference; academic freedom must be sacrosanct. In addition, university leadership must be democratically elected by the faculty staff and not appointed by the government.
  • The government will take over special education and centralise such services. 

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Introduce environmental education into syllabus
    • Echo SG Climate Rally’s call to incorporate and integrate environmental consciousness into Singapore’s education system.
  • Introduce financial literacy into syllabus
    • At both a primary school level and the secondary school level, students should be taught fundamental financial skills like saving, budgeting, etc.
    • At a more advanced level, they should also be taught about CPF, taxes, investing, etc. 
  • Smaller teacher-student ratios
    • Schools should thrive to have smaller student-teacher ratios so that each student will be able to receive more attention from the teachers. 
    • Teachers should also be given less administrative work to allow them to focus primarily on their work in the classroom. 

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

  • Extensive purviews 
    • Subsidized educational services should be extended to include the nursery and pre-primary levels as well and the administration of both Nursery and Pre-primary education should be placed under the purview of the MOE instead of the MCYS.
  • Class size 
    • Push for the reduction of class size to an optimal size of 20, to improve the teacher: student ratio to enable better interaction, thereby enhancing the learning process. 
    • Now with the new experience of home-based learning digitally and virtually, the  boundless opportunities to provide Singaporean students with holistic learning should be explored.
  • Scholarship bonds 
    • Citizens on government scholarships shall serve their obligations in Singapore, but not necessarily with a specific ministry / statutory board, to spread their talents, networks and benefit the whole economy.

Healthcare 

(Source)

People’s Action Party (PAP)

  • Healthcare subsidies 
    • Public healthcare subsidies up to 80% and CHAS
  • Expand Singapore’s healthcare capacity to improve access to medical treatment and care for all
    • Expand the polyclinic network from 20 today to 32 by 2030, including new polyclinics in Bishan and Bidadari.
    • Redevelop the Singapore General Hospital and rejuvenate the National University Hospital.
    • Complete the Novena Community Hospital by 2022 and build a new integrated acute and community hospital in the East by 2030. 

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Make medicines more affordable
    • All public and CHAS-affiliated private healthcare institutions should channel their drug, medical equipment and material purchases through a central buying agency tasked to negotiate better prices with manufacturers on the basis of bulk purchase and purchase guarantees based on demand forecasting.
    • Healthcare providers should also be allowed to buy from alternative suppliers if they can obtain lower costs.
  • Remove Medishield Life annual claim limits
    • MediShield Life annual claim limits should be removed and replaced with a lifetime claim limit.
    • Lifetime claim limits should also be raised for patients claiming for bills in B2-class and C-class wards in government restructured hospitals, where more stringent cost control measures are already in place. 
    • Access to funding above current claim limits should depend on means testing and wealth declarations.
  • Lower the cost of Intermediate and Long-Term Care (ILTC)
    • Intermediate and Long-Term Care (ILTC) must be more heavily subsidised. Patients with a monthly household per capita income of below $3,200 should receive subsidies of 65% to 80% for approved ILTC services. 
  • Widen the use of Medisave for those over 60
    • To minimise out-of-pocket expenses for Singapore’s seniors, patients above 60 should be allowed to use their Medisave for all medical expenses not already covered by Medishield Life, Medifund or other assistance schemes. 
    • Such usage should only be allowed at government polyclinics, public specialist outpatient clinics and CHAS clinics

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Red Dot United (RDU)

  • Provide heavily subsidized quarterly-to-annual doctor consultations without means testing, during which all preventive health measures such as vaccinations and screenings are carried out at the same time.
  • Improving Medifund to provide support for needy Singaporeans, as well as assistance in huge medical bills that can cripple the lives of average Singaporean families.
  • Adopt a proactive regulatory-change framework for Medical Technology (MedTech) usage especially in home care and where it provides considerable cost reductions in health care for Singaporeans.
  • Expand the scope of Medisave for use in more areas of outpatient consultations.
  • Improve transparency of Standard Drug List (SDL) of subsidised drugs and decision-making processes leading to drugs being placed on the list.
  • Separate dispensing from medical treatment in the private sector.
  • Study the benefits of the move to convert Singapore’s public hospitals into restructured hospitals to examine whether a reverse course would be beneficial to Singaporeans and lower medical bills.
  • Establish a watchdog agency to examine healthcare costs and abuses of the system or consider a national health insurance scheme, incentivising government regulation of healthcare costs.

Reform Party 

  • Extend the current Medishield Life scheme to offer more generous coverage, particularly in GP and polyclinic visits. Cover those with chronic conditions completely.
  • Abolish Medishield Life premiums for over 65s.
  • Integrate Medishield Life, Medisave and Medifund to create a comprehensive national health insurance coverage in which no one is left uncovered for serious or chronic conditions.
  • Continue to develop Singapore as a regional and global health centre.

Singapore Democcratic Alliance (SDA)

  • Propose that a component of the CPF system be reserved for Medisave and Medishield Life, so that the elderly have resources in reserve to fund emergency healthcare costs 

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

  • Propose that an amount of $1.5 billion a year be budgeted to carry out the healthcare infrastructure and manpower investment programme 
    • Increase the number of hospital beds, doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel to the levels of the high-income countries of the developed world. 
    • Increase the number of healthcare personnel including specialist doctors, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory staff, technicians and technologists, as well as administrative support staff. 
      • The pool of local healthcare professionals should be enlarged by increasing the intake of medical, nursing and other healthcare students at the tertiary level or by making it easier for private specialists and general practitioners to serve in public hospitals. Postgraduate specialist training should also be advanced. 
    • Attrition rates of doctors and other healthcare specialists from the public sector have to be seriously looked into, to minimise the loss of personnel to the private sector.
  • National healthcare programme (universal, affordable coverage)
    • Legislation must be enacted to ensure that every single citizen is covered by a basic healthcare policy regardless of age, employment status or gender. 
    • Whatever amount each citizen contributes to the national healthcare plan as an annual payment, as well as out-of-pocket expenses, must always remain affordable.
  • Proposed National Healthcare Programme
    • Suggest a single-payer universal healthcare system in which the government manages a central health investment fund, which will be run along the lines of a government-subsidised public insurance scheme to finance compulsory basic health, accident and pregnancy (for women) coverage for all citizens and permanent residents (PR) residing here for more than 6 months a year. 
    • No one may be rejected or excluded from this basic plan on the basis of age, gender, or state of health. 
    • The usual exclusion clauses will apply: nonessential surgery, dental, alternative medicine, aesthetic treatment. 
    • The government’s healthcare expenditure should be increased to about $10.5 billion annually immediately on passage of the legislation and be paid into the central health investment fund.

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Improving accessibility to mental health professionals
    • The Government should consider measures to improve the accessibility of mental care by making it available at all government health institutions
    • In National Service institutions, educational institutions and facilities that house the elderly, there is an especially acute need for ready access to mental health professionals.
  • Unpaid mental health leave
    • Employees should be able to take unpaid mental health leave to cope with work burn-out and attend to their mental health needs.
  • More appropriate sentencing options for offenders
    • Echo the Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon’s recent call for Parliament to review the criteria for sentencing under Mandatory Treatment Orders (MTOs) to allow offenders suffering from mental health disorders to be sentenced more appropriately so that they can get the help they need.
  • Greater subsidies for mental health services
    • The current withdrawal limits of $500 (from Medisave) should be increased to better reflect the actual costs of treatment, which is about $300 a month.

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

  • Comprehensive medical insurance
    • The Government shall undertake to provide an affordable Comprehensive Medical Insurance (CMI) with coverage to include hospitalisation and outpatient treatments, including treatment for COVID-19 virus, at private or restructured hospitals, polyclinics and affiliated private clinics. It shall also cover all pre-existing medical conditions of children.
    • The CMI should be made mandatory for all Citizens, with the Government contributing at least 50% of the premiums payable. It may also be extended to foreign workers, PRs and foreigners living in Singapore, but without any Government subsidy.
    • Full payment of the CMI premium for those citizens under Public Assistance should be undertaken by the Government.
  • Generic drugs 
    • The Government shall promote the use of generic drugs which are comparatively cheaper with Free Trade Agreements that may restrict any rights to use generic drugs should be carefully reconsidered.
  • Aging population
    • Urgent attention should be given to Singapore’s aging population’s needs for more beds, medicine, medicinal facilities and qualified healthcare workforce.

Housing

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People’s Action Party (PAP)

  • Enhanced housing grants – for purchase of HDB flats

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Control HDB Build-to-Order (BTO) prices
    • HDB BTO selling prices in non-mature estates should be pegged to household incomes.
    • Prices should be based on a 20-year mortgage, 10% down-payment, and monthly repayments of a maximum of 25% of the median monthly household income
    • Discount should be offered to lower income applicants of 2-room and 3-room flats to achieve debt service ratios of 10% and 20% respectively.
    • HDB should also give each buyer the breakdown of land sale costs, developmental costs and subsidies for them to better understand the price of their flats.
  • Introduce HDB reform to tackle lease decay
    • A universal buy-back scheme should be offered to all HDB lessees to back-stop resale prices to a certain degree. The buy-back formula should be devised to be fair to the buyer and the state.
    • Some of the acquired flats could then be rented out to Singaporeans at rates in between commercial and HDB public assistance rentals.
    • Recognising the need for orderly urban renewal, the government should also consider launching more SERS exercises and providing a SERS scheme which does not require a proxy relocation site, using instead BTO and balance flats for relocation.
  • Allow BTO flats for singles at 28
    • The age at which singles can apply for a 2-room BTO flat should be lowered from 35 to 28.
  • Remove ethnic quotas for HDB resales
    • The ethnic quotas governing citizens’ home ownership of HDB flats should be abolished to address the disadvantage faced by ethnic minority HDB flat resellers.
    • Singaporeans should be given the freedom to choose where their homes will be without taking into account race.

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

  • Address HDB lease decay
  • En-bloc redevelopment for all old flats 
  • Peg new flat prices to income levels 
  • Bring down housing costs for young Singaporeans to free them for entrepreneurial pursuit 

Red Dot United (RDU)

  • Make En-bloc Redevelopment Programme Mandatory to ease Singaporeans’ concerns about lease decay and the value of their HDB flats.
  • Allow Singles to buy bigger 3-room or smaller BTO and lower the minimum age under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSC) and the Joint Singles Scheme (JSS) progressively, so that Singles can eventually buy flats at age 30.
  • Establish greater transparency in the cost of building HDB flats with a breakdown of land cost and building cost in order to price HDB flats affordably in a sustainable manner. 
  • Price new flats at a multiple of median income and location factor.

Reform Party 

  • Remove restrictions on minority groups to buy and sell HDB flats which is tantamount to feudalism and hinders the development of a genuine Singapore identity.

Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

  • Non-Open Market, or NOM, flats that do not include land costs in their price should be introduced into the public housing system in Singapore.
    • The NOM system will be introduced in a gradual manner to prevent a shock to the existing system and a sudden market correction.
    • Disallow Permanent Residents and non-citizens from buying or renting NOM flats.
  • Implement the Young Families Priority Scheme (YFPS)
    • A targeted priority scheme that grants balloting priority for first-timer families with children or couples who are expectant for Balance Flats or new Built-To-Order Flats in non-mature estates.
  • Increasing the inclusiveness of public housing by enabling single-parent families with children as well as singles to purchase and own their flats. The SDP plan will also increase the range of lower-income Singaporeans for housing rental.
  • Enhancing the Lease Buy-Back Scheme to more effectively assist needy senior citizens to have a secure retirement.

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Extending the lease buyback scheme
    • After a period of 5 years, all HDB owners should be given the option to sell their leases back to the HDB at a price that is near the market value. 
  • Extending SERS
    • In light of the fact that the value of HDB flats would decrease towards the end of the 99-year lease period, SERS should be extended to all estates. 
  • Abolishing ethnic quota
    • Malay, Indian and Eurasian (minority) homeowners should not have the values of their homes affected (due to a smaller pool of potential buyers) because of the ethnic quota policies. The time is ripe for it to be abolished.

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

  • Transparency
    • HDB shall release comprehensive detail of the costs (land, construction, development, administrative, etc) of each project on its website before launching it, to allow evaluation of its cost efficiency.
  • Financial Assistance
    • The Government should render more assistance to those with genuine financial difficulties.
  • Subsidised rental flats 
    • More subsidized rental flats should be developed to reduce the waiting time for those citizens who are in dire needs. 
    • Such flats should be prohibited from being used to house foreign workers.
  • Restrictions on PRs
    • HDB flats owned by PRs should be prohibited from resale within 8 years of ownership, and any profit realised from the sale thereof should be subject to taxation to prevent speculative transactions. 
    • Such flats should also be prohibited from being leased out either wholly or in part.

Transport

(Source)

People’s Action Party (PAP)

  • Transport vouchers – for public transport

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Make public transport free for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)
    • Public transport on trains and buses should be made free for Singaporeans aged over 65 and all Singaporeans with disabilities
  • Independently-measured service quality standards should be taken into consideration to determine the extent to which PTOs can raise fares, to encourage improvements to the commuter experience.

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Red Dot United (RDU)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Reform Party 

  • Examine rationale for mixed private-public ownership when the taxpayer is paying most of the costs of the infrastructure. 
  • Lower fares for special groups such as disabled, senior citizens and children paid for by slightly higher fares for tourists and non citizens.
  • Introduce competition as much as possible with a view to lowering cost and improving service quality.
  • Re-examine the current basis of the COE system and ERP to see whether it is efficiently reducing congestion.
  • Accelerate introduction of new technologies such as driverless cars and electric vehicles with a view to moving away from car ownership.

Singapore Democcratic Alliance (SDA)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Those who qualify for the Silver Support Scheme should also have free travel on public transport. 

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

  • Public transport operations shall be monitored closely to prevent unreasonable fare hikes. 
  • All persons with disabilities and receiving public assistance shall be eligible for concessionary passes.
  • All Concession Pass holders (students, Senior Citizens, PWDs, and Public Assistance recipients) should be allowed to enjoy concession rates at all times.

Social Development 

(Source)

People’s Action Party (PAP)

  • Families with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) need extra support
    • Raise awareness of SEN and promote greater inclusivity.
    • Make special education more affordable.
    • Open new Special Education Schools to cater to different special needs. 
    • Increase work and care options for SEN students beyond age 18.
  • For seniors: 
    • Provide networks of support, including through the Community Network for Seniors. 
    • Help seniors keep healthy and active, including free entry to public gyms and pools. 
    • Provide greater financial security in retirement with the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme, enhanced Silver Support, and the Silver Housing Bonus and Lease Buyback schemes.
  • Strengthen Singapore’s social compact
    • Build a strong, caring united community where no one is left behind and all can progress together.
    • Build resilience, enhance social mobility and tackle inequality.
    • Help those who fall down to get up stronger. 
  • Improve Singapore’s social safety nets to provide sustainable support
    • Partner citizens and organisations to help those in need and build communities of care in every town through the SG Cares network and connect needs to volunteers and resources.
    • Make mental wellness a key focus.
    • Foster digital inclusion and enable vulnerable groups to reach support and resources online.
    • Support the aspirations of Singapore’s people in arts, culture and sports.
  • Strengthen and support Singapore’s social service agencies
    • Increase funding and matching of donations by helping them transform their operations and service delivery.

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Address the gender wage gap
    • Employers with 10 or more employees should be required to report to MOM the gender pay gap for the same job description. 
    • The data should be aggregated and the average gender pay gap published for each industry sector, including the civil service, with individual company data being anonymised. 
  • Make Careshield Life premiums gender-neutral 
    • Private insurers should be barred from offering products that levy differential premiums based on gender or race. 
  • Ensure Inclusivity for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)
    • Anti-discrimination legislation should specifically address PWDs, with the civil service taking the lead in employing PWDs where possible. 
    • The current Assistive Technology Fund administered by SG Enable should be made more flexible, with higher caps for disabilities requiring more expensive technology and for cases of disability diagnosed early in life. 
    • The government should intervene to ensure access to reasonably-priced van or bus transport services for VWOs supporting the PWD community
  • National strategy to combat poverty
    • Proposal to establish social protection steps pegged at 30%, 50% and 80% of the annual median monthly household income per member. 
    • The Government should publish an annual state of social protection report to measure progress for poverty mitigation and social mobility measures. The report should track Singapore’s progress in empowering vulnerable groups to move up the social protection steps to become more self-reliant. It should also contain key performance indicators which the Government and the public can use to evaluate assistance programmes and to set future targets. 
  • A leg up for children of disadvantaged and single parent families
    • The equalisation of state benefits and housing options for single parents
    • The Kidstart programme needs to be expanded beyond the current pilot areas. There should also be research on providing conditional cash payments to low-income parents to keep their children enrolled in early intervention programmes aimed at breaking the poverty cycle.
  • Equalise childcare subsidies for all women, including home-makers. 
  • Enhance fertility support
    • Establish a not-for-profit National Fertility Centre (NFC) that consolidates fertility-related care under a single centre that will significantly reduce the delay in patients receiving fertility treatment. 
    • Explore the possibility of offering preservation of eggs and sperm to benefit married couples. 
    • Medisave limits for fertility treatments under the Marriage and Parenthood Package should also be the same regardless of which attempt it relates to.
  • Fast-track Naturalisation for foreign spouses on LTVP+ 
    • Foreign spouses should be given priority for citizenship naturalisation if they apply after 5 years on the LTVP+, on the condition that they have been married to their current Singaporean spouse for 3 years or more and they have at least one child together. 
    • Transnational marriages will continue to be an important contributor to family formation in Singapore. 
  • Reduce gambling opportunities 
    • There should be no new casino licences, and annual passes should be prohibited, with the cost of entry kept at $150 for every 24 hours. Reiterate the call for a ban on all forms of online gambling, which can create easier access to gambling.
  • Revive convenience and coffee shops. HDB should allocate a portion of void deck space to provide for at least one coffee shop for every two precincts. 
  • Launch a Silver Living Programme for Assisted Living to increase the number of affordable, privately-run Assisted Living Facilities to complement the assisted living HDB flats being rolled out. 
    • The Scheme will provide a substantial land grant to not-for-profit organisations in return for following a set of guidelines on care standards, along with operational and financial best practices. Such facilities should have good transport connectivity and offer shared office facilities to be made available to residents still engaged in white-collar work. 
    • On-site commercial facilities catering to all age groups should be available to encourage family visitation and inter-generational engagement with the public. Innovative options to promote intergenerational solidarity and living should be created, including senior and child-care facilities within the same premises with shared activities. 

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

  • Reducing inequality and improving social mobility 
  • Building a strong social safety net for the needy, including the handicapped, the sick, the retired and the dislocated 
  • Seeking to achieve work-family balance to improve Singapore’s TFR 

Red Dot United (RDU)

  • Make policy makers focus more on growing the wages of Singaporeans, especially on the issue of income inequality. 
  • Arts & Culture
    • Provide more focus and effort on growing craftsmanship.
    • Provide more support for those who preserve and grow the repository of Singapore’s arts and culture.
  • Increasing the total fertility rate
    • Incentivise workplaces to develop family-friendly policies. These could be in the form of tax rebates, reliefs, priorities for leases and/or work permits or even awards.
    • Increase paid parental leave from the present 16+2 weeks to 6 months (26 weeks), of which at least 8 weeks need to be undertaken by either parent. Single parents can enjoy the full 6 months paid parental leave.
    • Ensure that more flats are made available to young people in order to encourage early marriage and childbearing. This could be done through lowering the age Singles could buy HDBs (from 35 to 30) and ensuring there are sufficient sales-for-balance flats (SBF) which could be bought by young couples ready to marry and possibly start a family early.
    • Recognition should be given to stay-home parents for their contribution and commitment to bringing up the next generation of Singaporeans, and so the bare minimum could be for the state to make contributions to such caregivers’ CPF.
    • All parents should receive the same subsidies available to households with working mothers who send their children to childcare or infant care centres for half day programmes.

Reform Party 

  • Unemployment benefit of up to six months based on 75% of last drawn salary with a cap of $2500 per month.
  • Seniors’ benefit for over 65s of $500 per month.
  • Child benefit of $300 per child per month for those at or below 1.5 median incomes.

Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA)

  • Proposes that an extra 1 to 5% of the government’s annual net returns on investments are channelled towards helping youth from disadvantaged families. 

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

  • Raise income tax rate for the top 1 percent
  • Proposal that the tax bracket for the top 1 percent earners be brought back up to 28 percent, which could result in the government’s tax revenue increasing by approximately $300 million. 
  • Redefine economic progress by using an alternative indicator that is not GDP because it does not take into account the cost (social, environmental and financial) of production. 
  • Reduce income inequality through the legislation of a national minimum wage and introduce retrenchment insurance to provide retrenched workers with support while they look for re-employment.
  • Increase social spending and allocate more resources to help the most vulnerable segments of Singapore’s society. 
    • The SDP does not advocate deficit spending on a continual basis, but are convinced that the national budget for social programmes and health care must be increased in order to support the needy and elderly.
  • The adoption of a points-based system called the Talent Track Scheme where foreign PMETS wishing to work in Singapore have to apply to. The applications will be assessed based on their qualifications, skills, and experience.
    • Only those who meet the required number of points will qualify for a list of potential employees. Employers will then be allowed to hire foreigners from this pool but will have to demonstrate that no Singaporean is available or qualifies for the position before that. This will prevent firms hiring foreigners based solely on their ability to accept lower wages
  • Proposes to remove race identity in Singapore’s Identity Cards as this serves only to divide Singaporeans. 

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Protecting Singapore’s sandwiched generation
    • Allowing parent-care leave for employees to look after their parents when they are unwell and accompany them to medical appointments.
    • Allow for flexi-work arrangements for workers. This can also be compounded with guidelines to reduce or stop work-related tasks after the defined work day has ended. 
    • Lower income tax for new parents and higher tax reliefs for living with parents: the current subsidies should form the baseline while those in the lower-income brackets should receive increased tax reliefs. These figures should also be revised periodically to account for inflation and other relevant considerations.

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Population growth
    • Singapore should undertake its population growth gradually in alignment with its infrastructure readiness.
    • The population growth should be organic with initiatives to increase Singapore’s total fertility rate, where the Government shall provide parents options to a comprehensive security net for their children (up to 18 years of age).

Environment

(Source)

People’s Action Party (PAP)

  • Produce more clean energy by deploying more solar panels on building rooftops and reservoirs, and converting food waste to energy at Tuas Nexus.
  • Reduce greenhouse emissions.
  • Plant one million trees and new mangrove areas to preserve Singapore’s carbon sinks.
  • Bring more nature to the city by:
    • Adding 200 hectares of nature parks and 140 hectares of city parks and gardens over the next 5 years
    • Enhancing Singapore’s green corridors and park connectors so that every household is within a 10 minute walk from a park
  • Introduce new concepts of sustainable living with the HDB Green Towns programme
  • Rejuvenate Singapore’s heartlands with home improvement and neighbourhood upgrading initiatives, as well as the Remaking Heartlands programme 
  • Strengthen coastal and inland flood protection against climate change and rising seas 
  • Significantly increase local food production with Singapore’s 30 x 30 Express strategy and develop long term local production capabilities for essential supplies

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Do more to mitigate climate change
    • Must increase Singapore’s use of renewable energy sources
    • Propose targeting a minimum of 10% of Singapore’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2025. 
    • New gas-fired power plants should not be built unless the demand cannot be met from renewable sources.
    • Government R&D funding should simultaneously be steered towards addressing the problems of intermittency and smooth integration of renewable sources into the power grid.
  • Curb plastics use 
    • Introduction of a single-use plastic charge, phased in over 5 years, to encourage a reduction in plastic waste and look for alternatives. The value of the charge would need to be sufficiently high to change behaviours but remain sensitive to the needs of lower socio-economic groups and PWDs.
    • A nationwide public education campaign to raise awareness of the effects of single-use plastics and other more sustainable alternatives. 
    • The carbon footprint for different products using sustainable, non-plastic materials should be published, together with full disclosure of the scientific methodology used to arrive at the numbers.
    • Styrofoam should also be banned where there are other eco-friendlier alternatives.
    • The manufacture and sale of rinse-off cosmetic and personal care products containing microplastics should also be prohibited. The ban should be phased in over a period of 5 years to give industry time to adapt.

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

  • Maintain balance between economic development and environmental protection for the sake of future generations.

Red Dot United (RDU)

  • Invest in and Incentivise switch to clean energy
  • Study the feasibility of renewable energy, but ensure that mega projects don’t create environmental problems.
  • Scale back the rapid pace of deforestation in Singapore and increase the pace of Singapore’s program to plant trees.
  • Increase public education in the 3Rs “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”.
  • Push for a reduction of waste from households and businesses, implementing waste management schemes and sustainable neighbourhood recycling programmes.
  • Support the move towards more energy-efficient public transportation like electric vehicles.
  • Better enforce the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act to mitigate air pollution problems.

Reform Party 

  • Much more to be done to encourage consumers to adopt solar energy and batteries to store energy that can be sold back to the grid.
  • Tighten greenhouse gas emissions and play a leading regional role.
  • Look to become a regional leader in new green technologies and in stopping other threats to the environment through much greater recycling, particularly of plastics.
  • Cohesive strategy on private car ownership. Car clubs and car sharing schemes.
  • Encouragement of electric car usage with linkage to green industrial strategy. 

Singapore Democcratic Alliance (SDA)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

  • Ramp up the switch to renewable energy like solar power and accelerate conversion to electric vehicles to stem the poisoning of the atmosphere through greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Curb population escalation in Singapore, as forests are being cleared to make way for housing and transportation.
  • Firmly enforce the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act and  prosecute business entities operating in Singapore that are linked with companies engaged in forest-burning in Indonesia.
  • Prohibit companies from manufacturing products that depend on single-use packaging.
  • Incentivise Singaporeans to recycle and reduce waste.
  • Significantly upgrade Singapore’s commitment to reaching the targets signed by Singapore at the Paris climate agreement in 2015.
  • Mandate that the construction and running of buildings adhere to strict standards of energy conservation. 

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Divestment from carbon intensive operations and resources
    • Call for mandatory public disclosure to be made for all SGX listed companies on their carbon emissions portfolio, investments in carbon-intensive operation and resources and a roadmap to divest from them.
  • Mandatory environmental impact assessments (EIAs) & disclosure
    • Call for EIAs to be made mandatory, particularly for any construction works taking place near national parks or nature reserves in Singapore and have their reports made available on a public depository. 

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Governance and Political Reform 

(Source)

People’s Action Party (PAP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Abolish Group Representative Constituencies (GRCs) 
    • The GRC system should be abolished and be replaced by Single Member Constituencies.
    • With the abolition of GRCs and the removal of the Elections Department from the purview of the Prime Minister, the NCMP scheme can be discontinued as it would be unnecessary.
  • Safeguard the independence of national institutions
    • Close relatives and current or former party colleagues of political office holders should not be appointed to key positions in national institutions, including organs of state, national media companies and sovereign wealth funds.
    • The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) should be overseen by a cross-partisan Parliamentary Committee.
    • The Attorney-General’s Chambers should be separated into two organisations as suggested by former AG Walter Woon: a prosecution service which is operationally independent of the government, with its head appointed by the outgoing head in concert with the Chief Justice, and a government legal counsel reporting to the Cabinet.
    • The Elections Department of Singapore and Electoral Boundaries Review Committee should both be removed from the purview of the Prime Minister’s Office and report to the Chief Justice and President respectively, and operate as fully independent bodies
    • The People’s Association (PA) should be depoliticised by making the President the Chairman of the PA, enabling the PA to focus purely on their stated task of strengthening community relationships.
    • The term of each Parliament should be fixed, freed from the Prime Minister’s unfettered discretion. 
    • The electoral boundaries report must be published one year before the end of each fixed term of Parliament. 
    • Early dissolution of Parliament should be allowed in special circumstances like a vote of no-confidence or assent of Parliament via a two-thirds majority.
  • Revert to a ceremonial presidency and safeguarding Singapore’s reserves 
    • The President should revert to being appointed by Parliament, and serve as a Head of State who unites Singaporeans and represents the nation.
    • The President should not be tasked to safeguard the past reserves and the integrity of the public service. Instead, a separate Senate should be established and directly elected by the people to exercise all the discretionary powers currently vested in the Elected President. 
  • Strengthen legislative oversight
    • Parliamentary powers should be enhanced to take into account the role of a loyal opposition and strengthen its oversight over the Executive.
    • Standing select committees comprising elected MPs from across party lines should be set up for each Ministry to examine their spending, policies and administration. 
    • For sensitive agencies such as MINDEF and MHA, cross-partisan parliamentary committees should review spending at closed door hearings.
    • Parliament should establish its own cross-partisan public consultation select committee supported by a secretariat that will allow for public consultations to be held in a neutral, nonpartisan manner.

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

  • Stronger alternative voices in Parliament 
    • Reduce the over-dominance of a single Party with over 90% representation in Parliament. 
    • Stronger alternative voices in Parliament offering different viewpoints and suggestions.
  • Independence of key institutions and key appointments
    • Expand Presidential oversight over more key public appointments.
    • No conflict of interest in key appointments.
  • Public service:
    • Ministerial salaries should be cut and pegged to median income.
    • Public spending should be frugal and huge projects subject to greater scrutiny.
    • Public service including public transport and utilities should not be profit making.

Red Dot United (RDU)

  • Review public spending by public institutions.
  • Review legislation such as the Presidential Elections Act to study if such laws should allow for wider competition among qualified Singaporeans to provide better checks and balances, especially in the area of protecting Singapore’s reserves and the function of public appointments.
  • Provide greater transparency in the Key Performance Indexes of public organisations or former public organisations that had been privatised and/or corporatised.

Reform Party 

  • New properly independent commission to examine ministerial salaries and ensure that in future pay is much more performance-oriented.
  • Remove oppressive restrictions on political parties.
  • Reduce election deposits to $1000 to encourage greater political participation and a competition of ideas.
  • Extend election campaigning period to three weeks.
  • Remove the Elections Department from the Prime Minister’s Office and entrench its status as an independent commission.
  • Remove grassroots organisations from the government’s control.
  • Introduce a new layer of local government in the form of directly elected Town Councils.
  • Reduce the number of redundant ministerial appointments.
  • Abolish the requirement for Presidential candidates to be vetted by a special Parliamentary committee. 
  • Abolish GRCs and return to single wards.
  • Abolish NMP system whose aim is to confuse the electorate and seemingly undercut the need for a democratically elected opposition.
  • Reform the Civil Service to decouple it from the Government and ruling party.
  • Restore power to Parliament in matters such as spending of reserves and away from unelected or indirectly elected officials such as the president.
  • Changes to the constitution to be put to a referendum.
  • Introduce legislation to require parties to field more female candidates with a target of at least 40% female representation at all levels. 

Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

  • To determine the appropriate ministerial salary level:
    • Establish an independent ministerial salary commission for each financial year. Such a commission shall compile and publish annually the salaries of ministers, along with their other commercial interests.
    • Do away with variable bonuses such as the GDP Bonus and the Performance Bonus
    • Peg ministerial pay to the bottom 20 percent of Singaporean wage earners.
      • MPs’ allowance should be 10 times the mean wage of the bottom 20th percentile (based on the assumption that there is a minimum wage in place). Ministers should be paid three times the MP allowance; the prime minister should be paid four times that amount. 
      • Provide ministers with allowances for expenses incurred while performing their official duties. The claims should be published to ensure transparency and accountability.
      • Move the Corrupt Practices Investigation Board (CPIB) out of the Prime Minister’s Office and empower it to investigate all ministers without needing the approval of the President of Singapore.

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Enacting a Fixed Terms of Parliament Act
    • The enactment of a Fixed Terms of Parliament Act (“FTPA”) will govern the date of elections. 
    • The FTPA will remove the Prime Minister’s discretion in relation to the timing of elections. 
    • The FTPA will also lead to regularized timelines for the EBRC reports prior to elections. 
  • Mandatory Public Declaration of Assets for Elected Officials 

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Civil Liberties 

(Source)

People’s Action Party (PAP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Workers’ Party (WP)

  • Lower the voting age to 18
  • Form an independent office of an ombudsman to investigate complaints against the public service
    • The Ombudsman will be empowered to investigate complaints with the full cooperation of the civil service, at nominal cost to the citizen, and to practise a principle of anonymity for complaints made in good faith, similar to that required by the Singapore Exchange for whistleblowing policies for listed companies. 
    • The Ombudsman would be empowered to advise on corrective actions and recommend prosecutions.
  • Declassify Singapore’s national archives
    • Documents in the National Archives that are declassified after 25 years from the date of record should be made freely accessible to all. 
    • All Cabinet papers should be automatically released after 40 years.
    • A Freedom of Information Act should be enacted to institutionalize Government accountability, with exceptions made on matters covering security and defence.
  • Implement Media reform
    • The Newspapers and Printing Presses Act should be amended to abolish the government’s power to require a class of management shares in newspaper companies. 
    • The Broadcasting Act should be amended to do the same for broadcast companies.
    • The licensing regime should be opened up to allow mass media companies to be majority owned and managed by locals to encourage a free and competitive mass media sector.
    • An independent regulatory industry body should be created to investigate complaints against the media on grounds of ethics and journalistic integrity.
  • Make the Courts the primary arbiter of fake news
    • The courts must be required to approve government POFMA directives on substantive grounds using a streamlined process with enhanced resources to ensure timely judicial decisions in time-sensitive cases.
  • Entrench an independent judiciary
    • The retirement age of Supreme Court judges should be extended from 65 to 70 with no prospect for further extension. 
    • The present provisions for the appointment of fixed-term Judicial Commissioners and short-term Senior Judges should be removed.
    • The Administration of Justice (Protection) Act, which seeks to protect Court proceedings from external influence, should be amended to scrap the government immunity clause, which unjustifiably allows the government to comment on Court proceedings in ways that members of the public cannot.
    • Propose that trials for capital cases be conducted by a tribunal of two judges, whose decision to impose the death sentence must be unanimous. On appeal, the death sentence should be upheld only if upon a unanimous decision from the Court of Appeals bench.
  • Foster a robust criminal justice system
    • Arrested persons must be told their legal rights upon arrest, especially the constitutional right to counsel under Article 9 and the right against self-incrimination. 
    • An arrested person’s constitutional right to consult legal counsel should be protected by allowing early access. 
    • All interviews and the taking of statements by law enforcement should be video recorded to ensure that statements have not been extracted by way of inducement, threat or promise.
    • There should be an Independent Police Complaints Commission to oversee complaints about the police and the Internal Security Department.
  • Replace the ISA with an Anti-Terrorism law
    • The ISA should be abolished and replaced with an anti-terrorism law that enables swift detention without trial, but for a limited duration and with avenues to enable suspects to challenge their detention legally and obtain release if the law has been wrongfully applied.

Progress Singapore Party (PSP)

  • Freedom of speech and expression
    • Allow people to speak up without fear or favour
    • Encourage diversity of views 
    • Relax the regulation of media and the arts 
    • Review of POFMA 

Red Dot United (RDU)

  • Review the current form of Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).
  • Review the current form of the Internal Security Act (ISA).
  • Advocate for Freedom of Information to enhance citizen access to information.
  • Review the Public Order Act. The right to freedom of assembly, speech and expression are the Constitutional rights of Singaporeans.

Reform Party 

  • Human rights and civil liberty
    • Restore rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association.
    • Reform of defamation laws to make it clear that Government departments cannot sue private individuals for defamation. 
    • Ministers who wish to undertake private actions for defamation must step down from office or wait until they leave office.
    • Government not allowed to use Protection from Harassment laws to try and muzzle criticism.
    • Freedom of Information Act with National Security safeguards.
    • Break-up SPH monopoly and liberalize media licensing to ensure right to freedom of expression and freedom to information.
    • Liberalise laws under Films Act.
    • Liberalise censorship laws with regard to political expression.
  • Judicial and law reform 
    • Independent commission to appoint judiciary and decide on promotions.
    • Judges not to be removed or demoted on executive prerogative.
    • Reform outmoded libel laws to prevent them being used to silence political dissent through caps on damages awarded.
    • Moratorium on death penalty not just for drug trafficking with view to eventual abolition and replacement by whole life imprisonment.
    • Abolish corporal punishment which is unworthy of a civilised society.
    • Reinstate trial by jury for serious criminal offences.
    • Provide state-funded legal aid for criminal cases if defendants are unable to afford a lawyer.
    • Introduce safeguards such as requirements to video interviews or arrests and provide immediate access to a lawyer.
    • Strengthen the penalties for sexual offences including the introduction of a sex offenders register to protect juveniles and the vulnerable.

Singapore Democcratic Alliance (SDA)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)

No responses were indicated in their manifesto.

Singapore People’s Party (SPP)

  • Reducing the voting age from 21 to 18
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
    • FOIA will serve as a potent antidote against the spread of fake news. 
    • FOIA will help to level the playing field by solving the information dissymmetry that currently exists in policy discussion. 
    • Legislation that mandates the Government to declassify documents after stipulated periods of time.

National Solidarity Party (NSP)

  • The Internal Security Act shall not be abused to suppress political dissidents or to create fear amongst the electorate. 
  • All political / security detainees should be entitled to fair trials. 
  • POFMA should be reviewed and abolished if necessary.

Authors

Nelle Ng and Sheryl Yang

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In a world that is bubbling with clickbait, sensationalism and oversimplifications, Kopi aims to bring long-form journalism back to South-East Asia.

Through deeply analysed articles, we uncover and explain the complex and multifaceted issues facing our societies. Through engaging narratives, we tell stories that are bold and unique.

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