During the Progress Singapore Party (PSP)’s Meet-The-People online session on Wednesday (17 June), a member of party, Damien Tay, noted that the cost of living is one of the factors behind the dwindling birth rate in Singapore.
Mr Tay noted that there is “no silver bullet” on this total fertility rate issue, but said that if a couple could at least be allowed to rent a house before they can actually afford to buy one, that would eliminate one big concern when starting a family.
Mr Tay was among the new faces featured in the “MeetPSP 4” online session. He was responding to a question on how PSP would improve the falling birth rate in Singapore. He went on to add that the party will also propose a stipend amount for couple who have children from the age of zero to ten, which can help to alleviate the immediate concerns of Singaporeans regarding housing cost as well as the cost of raising a child in the country.
When introducing himself, Mr Tay, who is currently a customer service manager, said that he was raised in a single-parent family and had went through a “hard-knock” working career.
“I have been retrenched twice and each time I have actually bounced back but it’s increasingly getting harder and harder for PMETs like myself, having to contend with competition and ageism as well,” he said.
Women and youth in PSP, and minorities in Singapore
During the session, Mr Tay was also asked about the seeming lack of female and youth presence in the party. To this, he explained the public may not see many women or young people in these webinars, in fact the party does have women and youth members, adding that they will certainly come to the forefront soon. He said, “But we have to lead the way, so once we lead the way, everything will just fall into place.”
Moving on to his thoughts on the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), Mr Tay commented on their policy to maintain a Chinese majority of 75% in the country while ramping up the efforts to bring foreigners to the country
“There is neither Chinese Singaporean, Malay Singaporean, Indian Singaporean nor other Singaporeans. We are all Singaporeans. That is the bottom line,” he remarked, adding that he is assured that PSP will have “adequate representation of all the minorities” with sufficient diversity to represent the demographics of Singaporeans. He continued, “So, for us nobody is left behind.”
Apart from this, Mr Tay also agreed that the Government should step up the enforcement check on the issue of increasing number of foreign talents in the workplace. He said that about thousands of companies have already flouted the rules and over 500 companies have been placed on the observation list. Noting that “this is only a tip of the iceberg”, he stressed the importance of enforcement checks while cautioning, “Only when it comes to a crisis, then you can see everything.”