SINGAPORE: The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) has issued a comprehensive response to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally (NDR) 2023 speech, criticizing what it calls “more of the same” policies and highlighting areas of concern.
PSP Secretary-General Leong Mun Wai commented on various aspects of the Prime Minister’s speech, expressing both support and reservations.
Notably, PSP welcomed the Age Well SG initiative and applauded the Government’s commitment to aiding seniors in aging with dignity within their own homes. The party also appreciated the inclusion of its proposal to enhance Medisave accounts for older Singaporeans as part of the Majulah Package.
However, PSP, as an alternative political entity in Singapore, emphasized that the need for the Majulah Package might have been avoided if Singapore had instituted a living wage policy.
On Sunday (20 Aug) Prime Minister Lee unveiled comprehensive efforts aimed at assisting Singaporeans in diverse areas, including employment, cost of living, retirement provisions, and public housing.
Mr Leong, who also holds the position of Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP), addressed the NDR 2023, acknowledging the Government’s intention to provide financial assistance to retrenched workers.
However, Mr Leong said PSP underscored the paramount importance of preventing job displacement and generating quality employment opportunities for Singaporeans.
“The PSP believes that the ultimate priority should be preventing job displacement and creating good jobs for Singaporeans.”
The party expressed concerns about the impending Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike, despite acknowledging that the cost of living in Singapore is continuing to increase.
“The PSP repeats its objection to the GST hike and calls on the PAP Government to scrap the GST Hike.”
One of the significant issues raised by Mr Leong in the response pertained to the public housing system.
Mr Leong said he, as well as many Singaporeans, were hoping that the Government would have the courage to slay its sacred cow and deal with the root of the public housing problem, the land cost.
However, the Government merely announced that they would be abolishing the Mature/Non-Mature estate label, and increasing the complexity of our public housing system by creating the Standard, PLH- and PLH categories, accompanied by even more rules.
“It is now clear that the Government is kicking the can down the road and hoping that public discontent over public housing will go away with minor policy tweaks and the illusionary promise of VERS, that do not address high prices, retirement inadequacy and lease decay.”
Mr Leong said the PSP is extremely concerned that the increasing inequity of our housing system becomes irreversible.
“We urge the Government to seriously consider adopting the Affordable Housing Scheme and Millennial Apartments Scheme to ensure that public housing remains accessible to Singaporeans without jeopardising their retirement.”