~ By Kumaran Pillai ~
1st May 2012 – The Singapore Democratic Party was in general elections mode today. For the 1st time in the history of SDP and possibly a first for an opposition party, the SDP has organized an elaborate May Day Rally for Singaporean workers, the party supporters and their constituents. The event was a fun-filled afternoon of carnival activities and ending with fired up speeches from SDP’s party leaders.
The opening speech was made by James Gomez and he spoke about how the SDP has transformed itself as a leader in alternative policy matters. For the first time in the history of Singapore, the SDP proposed an alternative healthcare plan on 17th March 2012.
Currently, the SDP is also crafting alternative plans for education, housing, low wages, immigration and transportation. And, housing being one of the hotly debated topics today is something that SDP can do to address the current issues and can also realign the policy direction of our nation going forward. When asked about PAP's asset enhancement policy, Gomez said categorically and with no reservations that "the fundamental obstacle to PAP's patchwork effort to address policy challenges is its own inability to move out its old policy framework to address the contemporary issues facing Singaporeans."
Ang Yong Guan, a prominent psychiatrist spoke in both English and Mandarin. He pointed out that Singapore has the highest number of cases for people suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He attributes this to the high stress lifestyle of the PAP model.
Jufri Mahmood, SDP party chairman said that “Singaporeans can improve productivity through the use of technology and not push (economic) growth by importing more people.” He added that, “the PAP will not change unless you change them.”
Paul Thambyah, speaking in his own personal capacity said that it “would not be necessary to use debt collectors for those who can't pay their medical bills. Healthcare is a necessity and not a commodity.” He also said that there was a need for a universal mandatory healthcare system and "in the rental flats in Taman Jurong where 30% of those who need monitoring for hypertension do not get it."
Vincent, The Eloquent
The popular Vincent Wijeysingha took the stage by saying, “We are 51 weeks into the most devastating elections for the PAP.” He went on to say that PAP made a lot of promises like reviewing ministerial salaries but only made some ‘miniscule’ adjustments downward. “Inflation has gone up by 5.2% and will continue to go up in the last two quarters of this year.” He reiterated the fact that even though new jobs were created, “a large proportion of those went to foreigners.”
“Transport prices have also gone up and increases in the prices of COE of up to almost a hundred thousand dollars.” Wijeysingha was listing out all the broken promises of the PAP.
Wijeysingha also highlighted the fact that the government promised to bring down the number of foreign talents, “shortly after the election,” but it seems the numbers are on the rise again.
He quoted the recent statement made by Economist Lim Chong Yah that “wages must rise significantly” in order to address the social injustices that are taking place in Singapore. “We have built the hardware, but not the heartware,” he said.
Speaking from the side-lines SDP's Sec Gen Chee Soon Juan said that they organized this event to address the social divide that is happening in Singapore today. "The PAP has lost its political will to do what is right for its people. We are not mere economic digits for the PAP to exploit. We need to address the many things that have gone wrong and we want to highlight these issues at this event."
They ended the rally by singing, ‘count on me Singapore.’