During the People’s Voice (PV) daily Facebook Live broadcast earlier today (1 July), the party’s chief Lim Tean talked about issues concerning inequality in Singapore.
Exclusion from the CNA political debate
Mr Lim recalled the latest incident where his party was being excluded from the political debate organised by Mediacorp. He felt the immense unfairness when PV was not qualified to join the debate due to their number of running candidates in the coming General Election (GE).
After all, the party chief had been calling for debates for the past several years, and none of the parties accepted his debate challenge.
Read about his comments he made earlier today on this topic here.
PAP’s Tan See Leng allegedly holding 69 positions in companies
Moving on, he talked about People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Tan See Leng who allegedly holds 69 directorships in various companies.
Mr Lim questioned Mr Tan’s capabilities whether he would be able to devote his time to public affairs.
The PV chief believed that a Member of Parliament (MP) should devote at least 50 per cent of working time to public businesses, adding that it is “inexcusable” that the Singapore Parliament has been “so empty” on so many occasions.
“You [MP] are a devoted public servant but if you do not want to be a full-time MP, I want to see devoting at least 50 per cent of your working time to the public business. That means attending to your duties as Members of Parliament.”
“I find it inexcusable that our Parliament is so empty on too many occasions. That is treating Parliament with disrespect and mockery. And the Parliament, as we know, is the people’s house.”
On behalf of PV, the lawyer pledged that they will not allow MPs to devote “so much time” for private businesses. He asserted that MPs being overly involved in private businesses would be “unfair to Singaporeans” since they are paid S$16,000 per month.
He went on to stress on the inadequate Parliament sitting, noting that the MPs allowance should be reduced, judging by the amount of time they spent in Parliament.
Apart from reducing the allowance, he believed that MPs should “spend at least half of their working time” on Parliament attendance and debates.
Temasek losing S$126 million in NokScoot
Mr Lim then opined on Temasek losing S$126 million in a Thai airline called NokScoot. He related this particular issue to sovereign wealth funds.
He believes that the investment returns of sovereign wealth funds are not transparent.
“The investment returns of our sovereign wealth funds (Temasek and Government of Singapore Investment Corporation) are not more transparent. For example, GIC should not be permitted to report returns on a 20-year average.”
The PV chief pointed out that this particular system must be changed because it affects Singaporeans’ livelihoods in their old age.
“We must change the system. Your CPF is affected. The rate of return of our money in GIC affects your CPF and how much you have in order to live on until you die.”
He also stated that the rules have been changed on “so many occasions”, from returning the CPF at 55 years old to receiving the last instalment at 90 years old.
The party chief called for transparency so that Singaporeans are allowed to know the “real returns” of GIC annually as they are the stakeholders in GIC.
“All your CPF money goes to GIC for investment. And I want to correct a misperception here: Temasek does not invest your CPF, it is GIC that does. Another thing that many people don’t realise is that GIC can only invest overseas and not locally.”
He could not understand how CPF is the equivalent of pension funds. To him, Singaporeans’ pension funds should be invested in local companies instead.
On behalf of his party, Mr Lim wants to promote the growth of local companies.
Inequality in Singapore
The lawyer went on to note the difference in salaries between a cleaner and the Prime Minister, saying that the latter earns 159 times more than that of a cleaner. He questioned the fairness in the disparity.
Recalling how his Jalan Besar GRC opponent Josephine Teo made remarks on how inequality is a sign of the success of the Singapore system, he was baffled at her “justification” of gross inequality in society.
Mr Lim then highlighted the PAP’s refusal to introduce schemes like minimum wage which could have a tremendous effect in reducing inequality in Singapore. Without a minimum wage, it resulted in employers wanting to hire “cheap foreign labour”.
“That is a major concern and a major cause of why our local Singaporeans are losing out to foreigners in terms of jobs.”
“It will take a people-centric party like Peoples Voice that fights for the interests of the common man, to introduce schemes like a minimum wage, a living wage, to fundamentally re-address the problem of inequality in our society.”
Not only job opportunities, but the party chief also believed that Singapore should be able to have universal healthcare and education.
Mr Lim asserted that sponsoring foreigners with free education annually will “sacrifice” a lot of great local talents. Noting how many Singaporeans could not afford to go to universities, he stands for university education for these Singaporeans so as to not “lose out” to foreign students.
He is saddened that Singaporeans are not getting the support they should be getting from the Government. The lawyer believes that Singaporean citizens should have the highest political status, while receiving the utmost respect and treatment from the Government.
Mr Lim expressed that the only way that Singapore can address inequality in society is by redistribution.
As a part of the ending of his live broadcast, Mr Lim challenged former Manpower Minister Josephine Teo to debate openly about labour and housing issues.