~by: Ng Yi Shu~
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) unveiled its new Shadow Budget at its headquarters yesterday as its alternative financial policy for the year 2012.
Key principles in SDP’s alternative budget this year included alternative measures to restore security and wellbeing to Singaporeans as well as measures to transform the economy of Singapore to face new challenges in today’s world.
In SDP’s unveiling of the Shadow Budget yesterday, Vincent Wijeysingha, the principal contributor to SDP's Shadow Budget, acknowledged several measures the Government had announced, such as the permanent GST voucher scheme and the Silver Housing Bonus.
However, Dr Wijeysingha also slammed what the SDP deemed as a populist approach in this year’s Budget speech. Dr Wijeysingha and Dr Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the SDP, cited several examples, such as the wavering stance on foreign workers, as proof of a populist approach in recent Budgets. He added that he believed that this would not solve the problems Singapore was facing.
“Cosmetic changes should be frowned upon and fundamental changes should be made to guarantee the future,” Dr Wijeysingha said.
The SDP also repeated its call for minimum wage and proposed for a Fair Wage Commission to be created to investigate how a minimum wage could be implemented without hurting employer interests.
In addition, the SDP also proposed a Singaporean First employment policy that will “reward companies which hire Singaporeans and make it less easy to recruit from abroad.”
Other policies proposed included that of raising public assistance to half the median wage in Singapore as well as a creation of a Central Healthcare Fund, which would be partly funded at a citizen to government proportion of 1:5, to pay for citizens’ healthcare costs.
When asked how the SDP expected their alternative financial policy to be heard and implemented, Dr Wijeysingha said that alternative policy documents like the Shadow Budget will help contribute in the Budget debate as public interest is generated by media coverage of alternative policies.
The full Shadow Budget document can be found here.