The Government is now more responsive and sensitive to the needs and struggles of the people, Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang said. This is a sign of Singapore “moving Towards a First World Parliament”, which was WP’s slogan in the last General Election, he stated in an open letter posted online, hours after Nomination Day on Tuesday (Sep 1).
But he called for Singaporeans to build a balanced Parliament. “You have to decide whether having more ruling party MPs in Parliament resulting in an imbalanced Parliament is in the best interest of the future of Singapore and your children,” he wrote.
In a separate post, Mr Low also highlighted several key policy changes made by the Government after the 2011 General Election. He said many of the PAP’s policy changes correspond to the proposals the Workers’ Party had made in its 2011 manifesto.
The Workers’ Party had proposed that employers adopt a “Singaporeans first” policy when hiring. It said foreign manpower should be hired in positions Singaporeans are unable to fill. The party said that after the GE, the Fair Consideration Framework – which encourages employers to consider Singaporeans fairly when they are hiring – was implemented.
On healthcare, the WP had called for a compulsory Basic Hospitalisation Insurance scheme for acute hospital bills. At the end of 2015, MediShield Life will replace MediShield, to provide protection for all Singaporeans for life with better coverage and payouts.
On housing, the WP said HDB flat prices should not be pegged to the resale market price. It said that they should be pegged to the median incomes of Singaporean households who qualify to buy flats. Since 2013, HDB pegged prices of new flats to 25 per cent of median monthly household income to pay for mortgage instalments on a 25-year loan.
In 2011, the WP also suggested that Permanent Residents should only be allowed to buy resale flats, if they have been PRs for at least three years. Since 2013, new Singapore PRs have to wait three years before buying a resale public flat – instead of immediately after they become PRs.
On transport, the WP had called on the Government to build the infrastructure, and pay for the initial operating equipment of public transport service. It pointed out that in 2014, the Government announced it would take over all bus operating assets and infrastructure, and will contract out bus services.