In its second pre-election rally at Speakers’ Corner on Saturday, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) unveiled its economic strategy for Singapore, one which apparently the party will be campaigning on during the upcoming General Election. In a 47-page publication titled, “It’s About You”, the party laid out its alternatives to the Government’s economic policies.
SDP secretary-general, Dr Chee Soon Juan, hailed his party’s programme as a credible one which they had consulted academics and economists on.
“We put forward an alternative economic model that is fundamentally different from that practiced by the PAP,” the introduction to the publication says. “[It] is an alternative that is both realistic and workable for our economy.”
“This publication will demonstrate once and for all that the PAP does not have a monopoly of ideas for Singapore, including economic ones,” the SDP says.
The party addresses issues such as GDP growth, productivity, income inequality, dependence on GLCs and MNCs, retirement, employment policies, public housing and healthcare, among others.
[TOC will have a more in-depth report and review of the SDP’s recommendations at a later date.]
At Saturday’s event, speakers spoke on a variety of issues – including the large number of foreigners here, costs of public housing, and Singapore’s future.
One who impressed with his eloquence and delivery was sociologist, Dr Vincent Wijeysingha. In an impassioned speech, Dr Vincent decried what Singapore has become – a home which no longer feels like home because of the PAP’s policies. He pinpointed as one of the contributing factors the large number of foreign workers here. “The SDP is not against foreigners,” Dr Vincent emphasised. The SDP has always stood for the rights of workers, whether they are local or foreign, he explained. What the party wants to see is fair treatment of locals, particularly when it comes to employment opportunities and wages.
Dr Chee, in a defiant mood, spoke of how the PAP Government has, over the last 20 years, vilified him. While acknowledging that this has resulted in him not being able to stand in the next elections, he said he was happy that more people have joined the party. This despite the demonization of not only Dr Chee but also of the party as a whole.
Dr James Gomes, who helms the relatively new non-governmental organization Singaporeans For Democracy (SFD) and a candidate with the Workers’ Party in the last elections, disclosed that he had signed up as an SDP member on Saturday. (Read Dr Gomez's speech here.)
The rally event was very well-organised, with tents set up and even food and refreshments provided for the public. The national flag and the SDP's party flags were planted along the green of Hong Lim Park. The event felt like a carnival more than a political rally, with popular music played during breaks. Speakers stuck to the time allocated to them and the event ended at exactly the stipulated time indicated in its programme sheet for the day.
About 350-400 people turned up for the 4-hour event which started at 4pm.
Here are some pictures of the rally by Joshua Chiang: