Workers’ Party GE2020 manifesto:
Make Your Vote Count
“An accountable democracy and resilient Singapore is one where robust political, governance and defence institutions protect our security. We should embrace a diversity of views and encourage robust debate about the way forward.”WP GE2020 manifesto
These points have been extracted from the WP GE2020 manifesto.
Read it in full here.
COVID-19 crisis • Thriving post COVID-19 • Cost of living • Workers’ rights • Healthcare • Housing • Inclusive education • Inclusive society • Immigration • Local businesses • Ceremonial presidency • Accountable public institutions • Accountable parliament • Electoral reform • Democratic society • Judicial system • Environment • Cyber security • Foreign relations
💊 On tackling the COVID-19 crisis
- Support safe distancing measures already in place.
- Recommend the creation of an independent medical advisory board in making both public and private recommendations to the government’s medical team.
- Expand COVID-19 testing to include more widespread community testing, with priority to communities with higher risks of infection. Mandatory testing for travellers once the borders reopen.
- Implement effective contact tracing while safeguarding privacy by having the TraceTogether app collect information that is absolutely necessary for contact tracing, while at the same time having third party privacy audits conducted regularly.
- A COVID-19 vaccine, once available and approved, should be free and mandatory for all Singaporean residents, with the most vulnerable receiving them first.
- Implementing a single portal for Singaporeans to view the support they have received from government schemes, with direct links to application forms.
- Expanding support packages through measures such as:
- Forgiving HDB public rent until all forms of lockdown restrictions are lifted.
- Making the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) automatic for all self-employed adults below the age of 37.
- Allowing Singaporeans who have CPF balances that exceeded their CPF Minimum Sum to withdraw a reasonable percentage of their excess CPF balances.
- Allowing SMEs to repay government loans when they return to profitability.
- Reviewing public communications and controls during pandemics, to avoid confusion with new rules and measures.
👍 On thriving post COVID-19
- Revise pandemic preparedness plans by setting up an independent commission of inquiry, with the goal of institutionalising changes to the current pandemic preparedness strategy.
- Developing domestic manufacturing capabilities for critical items in the event of a large-scale medical outbreak. With the government having powers to order manufacturers to divert R&D and production resources for national emergencies, as well as having such powers being tested from time to time, for emergency preparedness.
- Proactively gather information about global disease outbreaks as they first occur, instead of relying solely on official warnings, or advice from international organisations or foreign governments.
- Improving the living conditions of foreign workers by:
- Stepping up enforcement efforts to ensure that dormitory operators comply with the law.
- Creating a dedicated statutory board to set and enforce standards for work and living conditions for all foreign workers on Work Permit.
- Continuing to build on digital gains made during the pandemic.
- Changing laws to enable Singapore to ease the growth of reserves in order to invest in Singaporean workers and companies.
💸 On cost of living
- Against increasing GST to 9%.
- Relax rules on transferring CPF funds before 55, as long as the Minimum Sum is met.
- Lower CPF payout eligibility age and CPF Life eligibility age to 60.
- Introduce a Special Dividend from GIC investments for CPF members.
- Fight poverty by establishing social protection steps pegged at 30%, 50%, and 80% of the annual median monthly household income per member.
- NEA to manage all hawker centres directly to control costs.
- Allocate void deck space to convenience stores and coffee shops. At least one shop every two precincts.
💼 On workers’ rights
- Introduce a national minimum take-home wage of $1,300 for full-time work.
- Enact anti-discrimination legislation regarding employment on the basis of race, gender, age, and against Singapore citizens.
- Abolish the retirement age.
- Address the gender wage gap. Require employers to report to MOM the gender pay gap for the same job description.
- Recognise unpaid labour, such as house- or care-work.
- Establish a shared parental leave scheme of 24 weeks of government-paid leave.
- Introduce a Redundancy Insurance Scheme.
- Develop a measure for under-employment by pay and qualifications.
🚑 On healthcare
- Make medicines affordable by channeling procurement of medical supplies through a central buying agency.
- Remove MediShield Life annual claim limits. Replace with a lifetime claim limit.
- Subsidise immediate and long-term care more heavily.
- Expand use of MediSave for those over 60.
🏠 On housing
- Universal buy-back scheme for HDB to fight lease decay.
- Peg BTO selling prices in non-mature estates to household incomes.
- Lower age for single BTO buyers, from 35 to 28.
- Remove ethnic quotas for HDB resale flats.
- Equalisation of state benefits and housing options for single parents.
📚 On inclusive education
- Improve access to university places for Singaporeans from all backgrounds.
- Raise the targeted percentage of graduates per cohort to 50%.
- Reduce form class sizes in schools to 20-25 students.
- Ensure equitable funding for schools. Less popular schools should receive further baseline funding on top of the current per capita funding.
- Improve access to enrichment programmes for low-income children.
- More infant care centres.
- Extend fee and financial assistance to all preschools.
- 10 year through-train option for primary and secondary schools.
- Introduce a SkillsFuture education loan. 0% interest loans to support the cost of private Continuing Education and Training (CET) programmes.
- Teach for Singapore scheme. Teachers trained in both educational and social work, who can provide academic guidance and holistic care to at-risk students.
🤝 On an inclusive society
- Ensure inclusivity for persons with disabilities (PWDs):
- Anti-discrimination legislation.
- Civil service taking the lead in employing PWDs.
- Higher caps for current Assistive Technology Fund.
- Free public transport for PWDs.
- Equalise childcare subsidies for all women, including home-makers.
- Make CareShield Life premiums gender-neutral.
- Enhance fertility support through a not-for-profit National Fertility Centre (NFC) that consolidates fertility related care.
- Fast-track priority for citizenship to foreign spouses on LTVP+.
- Freeze number of gambling outlets and reduce access to gambling opportunities.
- Launch a Silver Lining Development Scheme for Assisted Living.
- Free public transport for Seniors.
✈️ On immigration
- Tighten Employment Pass approvals.
- Introduce mandatory educational credentials assessment for Employment Pass and S Pass applicants.
- Employers with a track record of hiring more local staff than required should be given economic benefits.
🏭 On local businesses
- Establish an export-import (EXIM) bank to provide credit for exports and promote foreign investment for SMEs.
- Form a National Secretariat for Enterprise to groom local firms to become globally competitive.
- Keep commercial and industrial rents manageable.
- Require government agencies to pay interest to vendors when payment is delayed.
🪑 On a ceremonial and appointed presidency
- The President should revert to being a unifying figure that is appointed by Parliament.
- The task of safeguarding the reserves should be delegated to a separate Senate that is directly elected by the people. Parliament should be able to overturn any Senate veto with a three-quarters majority.
🏛 On accountable public institutions
- Close relatives and current or former party colleagues of political office holders should not be appointed to key positions in national institutions.
- The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) should be overseen by a cross-party Parliamentary Committee.
- The Attorney-General’s Chambers should be separated into two organisations: a prosecution service independent of the government, and a government legal counsel.
- Depoliticise the People’s Association and end the appointment of PAP branch chairmen, even in opposition wards, as “grassroots advisers”.
- Establish an independent Ombudsman office to both investigate complaints against the public service, and to advise it on corrective actions or recommend prosecutions.
- Declassify documents in the National Archive after 25 years from the date of record, barring national security interests. Cabinet papers should be automatically release after 40 years.
- Enact a Freedom of Information Act to institutionalise accountability, excluding sensitive areas such as security or defence.
✍️ On an accountable parliament
- Select Committees that comprise MPs from across party lines should be set up for each Ministry with the purpose of examining their spending, policies, and administration.
- Parliament should establish a cross-party public consultation Select Committee that allows for neutral, non-partisan public consultations.
- Broadcast Parliamentary sittings live, unedited, and without time delay.
- Ministerial discretion should be subject to judicial review or review by the Ombudsman.
- Require the approval of the courts on substantive grounds when issuing government POFMA directives. Provide enhanced resources to ensure timely judicial decisions when time is a concern.
✖️ On electoral reform
- Abolish GRCs and replace them with SMCs.
- Lower the voting age to 18.
- Establish both the Elections Department and Electoral Boundaries Review Committee as independent from the Prime Minister’s Office.
- End the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme.
- Fix the terms of each Parliament, free from the discretion of the Prime Minister. Mandate that the Electoral Boundary Review be completed one year before the fixed term ends.
💪 On a democratic society
- Update National Education to focus on the Constitution and Parliamentary Democracy, and encourage the comparison of different interpretations and accounts of Singapore’s political history.
- Amend the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act to abolish the government’s power to designate a class of management shares in newspaper companies. Amend the Broadcasting Act in a similar way.
- Open the licensing regime to create a free and competitive mass media sector.
- Create an independent regulatory industry body to investigate complaints against the media on grounds of ethics and journalistic integrity.
- Politicians from any party should not be allowed to hold positions within sports associations.
- Create an independent body for the arts. Support for artistic projects should be given based on considerations of artistic merit, not the work’s implied attitude towards any political party or interpretation of history.
⚖️ On the judicial system
- Extend the retirement age of Supreme Court judges to 70.
- Remove the provisions for the appointment of fixed-term Judicial Commissioners and short-term Senior Judges.
- Amend the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act to scrap the immunity of the government from the Act.
- Trials for capital cases should be conducted via a tribunal of two judges that requires unanimity for the imposition of the death sentence. Any appeal will uphold the death sentence only if there is a unanimity from the Court of Appeals bench.
- Arrested persons should be told their legal rights upon arrest.
- All interviews and statement-taking by law enforcement should be video recorded.
- Establish an independent Police Complaints Commission to oversee complaints about the police and Internal Security Department.
- Abolish the Internal Security Act and replace it with an anti-terrorism law that allows for limited detention without trial and adequate means for suspects to challenge their detention legally.
- Cases of espionage should be tried in the courts.
🌏 On the environment
- A minimum of 10% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2025.
- Introduce a single-use plastic charge over the next 5 years.
💻 On cyber security
- Deploy independent cyber security audits and “white hackers” to detect security flaws. Audit reports should be submitted for Parliament’s review.
- The Cyber Security Agency should publish regular advisories on cyber security for businesses and not-for-profits.
☎️ On foreign relations
- Align Singapore to global best practices in areas such as vaccinations and workplace harassment.
- Continue efforts to work with neighbours in bolstering ASEAN.
- Conclude a South China Sea Code of Conduct through ASEAN.