By Timothy Lai
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Secretary-General Dr Chee Soon Juan declared on Friday that the party is “going to hit the ground running”, and promised that – in the event of a win – the party would ensure “the handover process [of town councils] is uneventful”.
Dr Chee was speaking at a pre-National Day walkabout at the temporary Ghim Moh Market. SDP also made appearances at Fajar, Ghim Moh, and Bukit Timah on Friday morning.
Dr Chee is confident the public has reasons to believe in a stronger opposition with good alternatives instead of opposing for the sake of opposing. From ground sentiments, he noted that people are “tired of giving a blank cheque to the PAP.”
However, there were concerns regarding the opposition’s ability to run a town council because of the recent Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) debacle.
Referring to its Town Council Management Plan released earlier in May, Dr Chee believes an SDP Town Council (SDPTC) would be “well-managed” with low costs. Current management structures by PAP Town Councils involve a management agent. Such an arrangement, according to Dr Chee, “levies additional charges that the residents end up paying.” Instead, SDP MPs will employ professionals to oversee the functioning of SDPTCs.
Dr Chee encouraged voters to read its Town Council Management Plan and track SDP based upon its promises. The plan has laid out specific landmarks on what it hopes to achieve by the first 30 days, 100 days, and beyond.
Dr Paul Tambyah, an infectious diseases specialist at the National University of Singapore and potential SDP candidate for the election, focused on the issue of MediShield Life.
Dr Tambyah said the policy “is good because it covers those with pre-existing illnesses”, but noted that it remains inadequate as it has a high deductible.
“The fact that MediShield Life is so inadequate is shown by the fact that we still have to keep huge MediSave balances. We think that this does not make sense. Why have a national insurance policy that requires you to keep in addition, a significant store of cash reserves so that you can pay for the areas that your insurance policy cannot pay for?” he said.
The Ministry of Health had announced MediShield Life coverage would take effect on 1st November 2015, replacing the existing MediShield plan. Individuals with pre-existing illnesses, however, will have to pay additional premiums of 30 per cent.
Following yesterday’s opposition meeting, SDP is now focused on the eleven constituencies: Holland-Bukit Timah and Marsiling-Yew Tee GRCs, as well as Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, and Yuhua SMCs.
The party chose to relinquish its claim on Sembawang GRC in the next election. The party wrote on Facebook that “such a move will help to facilitate the discussions among the parties”.
The post continued: “[C]ompromise is key… in order that there be one-to-one contests between the PAP and the opposition parties.”
The National Solidarity Party (NSP) is slated to contest Sembawang GRC.