The Workers' Party - Empower Your Future ~ 30 Aug 2015
NSP will announce its candidates on Nomination Day ~ 27 Aug 2015
Singapore Democratic Party (Announcing of candidate) ~ 26 Aug 2015
ESM Goh Chok Tong: Opposition parties come and go like nomads ~ 26 Aug 2015
Tan Jee Say: PAP is not sincere in moderating the immigration influx ~ 25 Aug 2015
Dr Chee Soon Juan: "Take, for example, the 2014 report by Credit Lyonnaise Securities Asia which showed that almost half of households in Singapore live from paycheck to paycheck with little or no savings. This is middle class that we're talking about. They are just one major bill away from financial ruin. This can come in the form of an accident, health problem, or some other foreseeable catastrophe. What is less surprising is the report's finding that the majority of our elderly indicated that they are not saving. How can they when they have hardly anything to live on after they've paid up their HDB loan? What's more, the little that they have is withheld under the Minimum Sum Scheme. But what's particularly disturbing is the finding that a high proportion of Singaporeans in their 30s and 40s are also unable to save. How did all this come about? The cost of living in Singapore, of course, plays a major role. In 2001, we were the 97th most expensive city in the world. In a short span of just over 10 years, we hopped, stepped and jumped to becoming the most expensive city in the world, according to the Economic Intelligence Unit." ~ 15 Aug 2015
What's the most expensive city in the world? ~ 16 Mar 2015
SINGAPORE—The ruling People’s Action Party won Singapore’s most contentious general elections in five decades of independence and improved its vote share on Friday, marking a significant gain for a party that had seen its popularity fade as some voters rejected its dominance just four years ago.
The PAP won 83 of 89 parliament seats, giving it a comfortable majority to govern for the next five years. The party’s share of the popular vote rose to 69.9% from a historic low of 60.1% at the last election in 2011, returning Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to power. Of the eight opposition parties, only the Workers’ Party won seats, with six representatives.
“This election results show that Singaporeans understand what is at stake; that we can prosper only if we stay united,” Mr. Lee said at a postelection news conference. “These results are also an endorsement of the policies and the performance of the PAP government,” he said.
Although the PAP’s victory wasn’t a surprise—the party has governed uninterrupted in the city-state since independence in 1965—the result marked a significant victory for Mr. Lee and far exceeded expectations. Many believed the PAP’s hold on power had been softening as economic growth slows and opposition parties gain a foothold, and expected that trend to reflect in the results. Friday’s outcome instead cemented PAP’s half-century dominance on Singaporean politics.
For Mr. Lee, the outcome vindicates his campaign message: that the PAP was a “safe and successful pair of hands” that built the modern Singapore and could navigate the nation through troubled economic waters.
Mr. Lee is the son of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s revered first prime minister who transformed the nation from a poor, former colonial trading port beset by racial tensions into one of the world’s wealthiest societies. Singaporeans turned out in the thousands this year to pay their last respects to the elder Mr. Lee, who died in March.
In August, after celebrating the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence, Mr. Lee called the early general election to capitalize on a strong sense of national pride generated by the celebrations. A general election had to be called in Singapore before the end of January 2017.
Mr. Lee’s decision to call the early election appears to have paid off. A poll conducted by local firm BlackBox in July indicated that the senior Mr. Lee’s death had contributed to a significant increase in overall satisfaction in the government’s performance: 80% of voters polled in March, the month Mr. Lee died, said they were satisfied with government performance, compared with 72% to 76% in each month of the previous year.
Since the last election, the prime minister has tackled many of the criticisms that had led to the PAP’s fall in vote share in 2011. His government has slowed the rate of increase in Singapore’s foreign-worker population, boosted social spending and improved access to housing and health care, particularly for the elderly. Perceived overcrowding on the tiny island because of an open-door immigration policy ushered in by Mr. Lee’s government had been among the most contentious issues as a burgeoning population put a strain on the country’s public transport networks. Some 30% of Singapore’s residents are foreigners, many of them working for the international firms that have made this city a base.
“The main reason I voted for [the PAP] is because they have foresight,” said Jeremy Yeo, 22 years old, a first-time voter who recently completed his military national service.
Most opposition parties had campaigned on a promise to bring an alternative voice to parliament and to provide a check and balance to the PAP’s dominance.
“The result [is] even worse than we had expected. It’s a national swing, you can see across the country,” said Tan Jee Say, chairman of the SingFirst opposition party. “This is really contrary to the feedback we received from the ground. Everywhere that we went, it looks like people are more angry and more disappointed with government policy. This is a result which is not consistent with the feedback that we have got. So we really have to see why, why this has happened.”
The biggest opposition group, Workers’ Party, founded to represent members of trade unions—which the government still tightly controls—broadened its appeal by presenting itself as a counterweight to the ruling party. Its manifesto included proposals to nationalize public transport and to curb immigration.
The vote outcome provides a strong mandate for Mr. Lee, but economic challenges remain given Singapore’s dependence on overseas demand for its goods and services, which remains sluggish. In August, the government downgraded its economic-growth forecast for this year to 2% to 2.5%, from 2% to 4% previously. The government faces other difficulties in its bid to transform Singapore from an economy heavily reliant on foreign labor to one driven by productivity and innovation.
“From my own experience, they are starting to listen,” Justine Lee, 24, said of the PAP.
The message was so clear on 11th September 2015, that even one of the longest serving opposition MPs, Mr. Low Thia Khiang of the Workers’ Party (WP), was nearly voted out.
My blood went cold in the wee hours of 12th September 2015, waiting for the final results of Aljunied GRC. When I saw Mr. Low fixated on the screen for the final result of Aljunied GRC, tears rolled down my cheeks.
This man who had fought so hard for the common people was fighting for his political life! The longest surviving opposition party leader was like a drowning animal holding on to a very thin blade of grass to stay afloat.
I am not so concerned if the Opposition has gained traction in the other constituencies but I am extremely concerned about Mr. Low and his team in Aljunied GRC. Mr. Low represented the only voice in Parliament for alternative views. In my own words, the little light of democracy in an almost one-party-rule nation. But on 11th September 2015, this little light was nearly extinguished by my fellow countrymen.
I would like Singaporeans to imagine what would had happened if the WP team was voted out of Aljunied GRC on 11th September 2015? There would be no more voices of Mr. Low and his fellow MPs in Parliament. Is this what Singaporeans wanted? Even though we still have an opposition MP, Mr. Png Eng Huat of Hougang in Parliament, what can a lonely voice do in a sea of white? 1 vs 88?
I do not know the reasons for the punitive votes against the Opposition, especially against the WP. Was it that we have finally repented? Was it a punishment for Mr. Low and his fellow MPs for speaking on the issues of immigration, cost of living and transport in Parliament? Or was it because we are happy with one-party rule?
I felt the callousness of the many Singaporeans in Aljunied GRC who wanted to dump Mr. Low into the dust bin – a man who has tried his best to serve the people for 24 years. When they felt that they have achieved their objectives, Mr. Low and his team can be discarded like rubbish since they have outlived their usefulness. I am now afraid to even think of what else my fellow Singaporeans are capable of doing.
The blame game has started. People are now blaming the Opposition. Reasons range from the so-called disunity of the Opposition, that they made few house visits, etc. There are always a thousand and one reasons for Singaporeans to blame. The Opposition had put in money, time and effort so that people could have an alternative, but now, they are getting all the blame. However, whenever there are walkovers, the people would also blame the Opposition. Damn if you do and damn if you don’t!
I think it would be better for the Opposition to contest the next election by letting a majority of the constituencies have walkovers. At least the Opposition won’t have to spend time, money and effort. The Oppositions should sit back and relax and let the people slug it out with their beloved leaders.
New citizens are also blamed for voting for the PAP. This is the most laughable excuse as there are not enough of them to produce this drastic swing of votes! Come on Sinkies, let’s be frank with ourselves that we are the ones who did it. Let’s be honest about the kind of people we really are and the cruel stuff that we are capable of doing to our fellow Singaporeans. Many Singaporeans have turned a blind eye to the bullying and replacement of fellow Singaporeans by foreigners in the work place. Even if the voting pattern of the new citizens is part of the reason for the swing, who are we to blame for this to happen? Who gave the PAP an overwhelming majority so they could bring in new citizens in the first place?
Maybe Singaporeans are so naive that they thought that the Opposition are at their beck and call whenever they are needed. Yes, there will be swarms of Opposition coming to you when the ground looks sweet, but these are like the flies that swarm around rotting meat. These are the opportunistic politicians who are looking for easy pickings. Do you want to vote for these political crooks? Of course you do when you give your votes to charlatans who totally reject dialects in our society but use dialects for political gains in election rallies.
No decent political aspirant will want to be humiliated by voters like we did on 11th September 2015. Take for example Daniel Goh and Prof. Paul Tambyah. They have successful careers and they don’t need the MP’s allowance. They have busy day jobs and can only walk the ground on evenings and weekends, the precious little time that is supposed to be for their families. Unlike the PAP members who are mostly rich, running their own businesses, working in government organisation or GLCs who can easily take one or two months off to prepare for election, these men of the opposition make great sacrifices to run for election. If these men had put their time to doing charity work, at least they would be thanked for it. But what do they gain by joining the Opposition? To receive a slap like that from voters and then be blamed for not doing this and that for their hard work?
People with the calibre of Daniel Goh and Paul Tambyah could have taken the easy way out by joining the PAP. More money, a higher chance of winning, entourage with grassroots swarming around them like nobles during walkabouts, more resources and more prestigious to be in the elitists or aristocrat club. That is not to mention that many PAP MPs skipped parliamentary sessions frequently. So, why did these men of abilities and sincerity joined the opposition in the first place?
Daniel Goh could have got into marital trouble because of the gutter politics of the rumour regarding his so-called extra-marital affair with a student. So, why chose the hard and dangerous way when Singaporeans don’t give a damn? I now understand why Nicole Seah stayed away from Singapore’s politics, maybe she had realised that it is just not worth it.
I urged fellow Singaporeans to stop blaming. We have spoken and given a strong mandate to the Prime Minister to pursue his policies. So, at least have the decency to stop blaming the oppositions for not speaking up for us, or the government, because we have just informed PAP that we fully agreed with their policies.
After this miserable defeat, I think the opposition will lose traction in their renewal with people of abilities and sincerity. Good and decent people may shun oppositions as they find it an unthankful job since the ruling party can parachute any Tom, Dick and Harry in parliament which Singaporeans readily accept. Some opposition parties may eventually be filled with charlatans, mediocre or political opportunists. With opposition leaders like Low Thia Khiang getting older, I am afraid that the oppositions will slide down to become weaker.
I know most Singaporeans don’t give a damn about what I have said and I take this as the final rant of an old man.
PAP did not have to fix the oppositions, because we did it ourselves on 11th September 2015.
Personally, I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Mr. Low Thia Khiang for giving people like me some hope. He had been at the receiving end of blames from the people and the insults and ridicule from the PAP for a long time. He had clearly show signs of aging with his long struggle, and it pains me to see him so stressed in the wee hours of 12th September 2015 waiting for the Aljunied GRC’s voting result. I would also like to thank the other opposition candidates and supporters who sincerely believed in giving people like me an alternative choice.
Finally, I wish all Singaporeans to be happy with their political awakening towards the adoption of a one-party rule.
SINGAPORE — The Government is unlikely to raise income tax to pay for the slew of healthcare, housing and infrastructure initiatives announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the National Day Rally as doing so could risk damaging Singapore’s appeal for businesses and investors.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) might instead be the first in line for an increase should the Government need to raise revenue to help build a stronger social safety net, economists have told TODAY.
“Raising income tax is not very possible if Singapore wants to remain relevant for multinational corporations and high-income global talents,” UOB economist Francis Tan said.
“A more probable venue for change is the consumption tax bracket, and I do not think it’s impossible for us to increase GST from the current 7 per cent to 10 per cent. For years we’ve been cutting income-related taxes to move towards a more consumption-based system. This is to make Singapore more attractive than other developed countries where income tax rates are much higher. I don’t see us reversing this trend.”
Barclays economist Joey Chew pointed out that in Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s Budget 2012 speech, he compared the Republic’s income tax levels with those of Hong Kong. Mr Tharman had said that income taxes are significantly higher at the top end of incomes compared with Hong Kong and, as result, there is a limit to how high taxes can go at the top end without hurting competitiveness.
Hence, a GST hike is more likely, said Ms Chew, adding that the Government is well-prepared should such a move prove necessary.
“GST is regressive, but the government would provide offsets to lower-middle income households, as they have done so in previous rounds of GST hikes,” she said. “Now that we have the permanent GST Voucher Scheme, the offsets are even easier to implement. The groundwork has already been laid for an eventual increase in GST.”
On Sunday, Mr Lee cautioned that “all good things must be paid for”, either by raising taxes or cutting other spending so that future generations will not be laden with debt. This follows previous statements made by Mr Lee and other ministers suggesting that higher taxes are on the cards in Singapore after years of relatively low rates.
Regardless of how the government plans to fund the higher social spending, Singapore will not feel the pinch in the near future as it has ample financial resources to support the measures, said CIMB economist Song Seng Wun.
“Take the last fiscal year ending March 2013 as an example. Singapore’s operating revenue — mainly from collection of taxes, including GST — was S$55.8 billion. Including other revenue such as land sales, the gross earning was S$80.4 billion,” Mr Song said. “Of that, we spent a total of S$46.2 billion. So, we have some S$34.1 billion in surplus.”
He added: “Over the longer run, as our population ages, Singapore’s operating revenue might shrink, and spending rise — only then would we need to increase tax, in which case I think the government will more likely focus on GST ... Overall, I don’t see our business attractiveness or growth potential getting diminished (by the new measures).”
Ultimately, tax rates are just one of the determinants of Singapore’s business potential, said Mr Tay Hong Beng, KPMG’s head of tax in Singapore. “Investors also look at other factors such as political stability, business infrastructure and the ease of doing business,” Mr Tay said.
It is also possible for the Government to increase revenue without raising tax rates, he added, by improving Singapore’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. “(This will) lead to rising incomes, and hence tax collections.”