The chief of Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), Dr Chee Soon Juan and his team began to ramp up their presence by conducting the annual Chinese New Year walkabout at their constituencies last Sunday (19 Jan).
The walkabout covered several markets and food centres around Marsiling, Bukit Panjang, Yuhua, Bukit Timah and Bukit Batok.
SDP said in its Facebook post yesterday that the party received a great reception from the locals during the walkabout at Bukit Timah.
Dr Chee also took to his own Facebook – after walking the ground and meeting the residents in the constituencies – to address some issues of senior citizen who are still working in their sunset years to sustain their livelihood.
He said that the party is grateful for the dedication that the elderly has brought, and promised to care for them in their retirement age.
During the media interview at Bukit Timah Food Centre, Dr Chee said that the party is hitting hard on three key issues for the next general election, mainly relating to the raising of GST rates to 9%, population target of People’s Action Party (PAP) government, and the withholding of the people’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings.
The party has highlighted these three main issues in the leaflets handed out to residents during the party’s walkabout.
“We have been going on for these three issues, and lo and behold, whether is it a coincidence or not, we will let you people figure out. The PAP has become big on these issues as well.” Dr Chee said during the interview.
Regarding the issue of GST, Dr Chee commented, “Mr Heng Swee Keat in his PAP convention last year…come out and said, they have to address the GST because if he doesn’t, the opposition will be doing that.”
“And what we have been saying, you cannot continue to do this because GST is a regressive tax, it is not fair to the middle and lower income group,” he added.
He also said that the party will continue calling PAP out on its antics and their exploitation of taxpayer’s monies in measures such as Pioneer Generation Package and Merdeka Generation Package which have been used as a reason to raise taxes.
Last year, Parliament passed a Bill to establish a Merdeka Generation Fund which costs S$6.1 billion. This was said to be an amendment to the existing Pioneer Generation Fund.
Moving on to address the lift issue at Marsiling Rise, the SDP’s chairman, Dr Paul Tambyah shared that there are some indications that the lifts for blocks 115 and 119 will stop at every level with the effort of SDP and the residents – after more than ten years of feedback to the authorities.
It was earlier reported that the residents at Marsiling Rise has appealed to the authorities to install the lifts at their respective blocks over the years have so far been unsuccessful. Member of Parliament (MP) of the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Ong Teng Koon even said that the cost would be too high for upgrading the lifts.
Following this, SDP has led the online petition calling for the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to install lifts in Block 115 and 119 Marsiling Rise that serves every floor.
SDP’s appeal against POFMA correction direction
Additionally, Dr Chee also commented on the difficulties faced by the party in its appeal against the correction direction by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulations Act (POFMA).
He pointed out the disparity between what Law Minister K Shanmugan said in his speech on POFMA versus what is being argued out in court by the Attorney General Chambers (AGC).
Paraphrasing Mr Shanmugan, Dr Chee noted that the Law Minister had said that “comments, viewpoints, opinions” whether “reasonable or unreasonable” are accepted.
“And this is where when you do things that you really really need to tighten up where falsehoods pertain to issues that you can verify. Where it is yes, it is yes. Where it is no, it is no. It cannot be left to the reasonable interpretation of people, some people or the minister, which the AGC in its argument is trying to make,” added Dr Chee.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issued correction directions to the SDP for three online postings which allegedly contains misleading graphic and false statement of facts relating to employment trends in Singapore last year (14 December).
SDP then submitted the application to Ms Teo this year to cancel the correction directions, but it was rejected due to insufficient grounds provided in its appeal.
Adhering to it, SDP had consequently applied for the matter to be heard in court; however, the judge refused the party’s application and the case is being heard in chambers instead – where the media and members of the public are not allowed to attend.
The party explained that if the correction directions issued by Ms Teo are upheld, then “the last holdout where important national issues are openly and robustly debated on the Internet in Singapore would be irreparably closed”.