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Singaporeans’ unmet expectations: Red Dot United’s reflections on 2023

Red Dot United reflects on 2023, highlighting the unmet wish for cost-of-living relief and critiquing the government’s policies that intensified Singaporeans’ financial burdens, while advocating for a multi-party democracy and active citizen participation.

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As 2023 draws to a close, Red Dot United (RDU) has issued a poignant New Year’s message, reflecting on the government’s unfulfilled promises and the escalating cost of living in Singapore. The party’s statement, released as the year concludes, underscores the struggles and aspirations of Singaporeans in a challenging economic landscape.

The Unfulfilled Wish of 2023

At the start of the year, Singaporeans harboured a collective hope for government intervention to alleviate the burgeoning cost of living. However, as RDU points out, this hope has not been fully realized. The party criticizes the government’s fiscal decisions, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike from 7% to 8% at the year’s commencement, and the impending increase to 9% in 2024, which has been a significant contributor to the public’s financial strain.

The Cost of Living Crisis

RDU’s statement meticulously dissects the multifaceted nature of the cost of living crisis, attributing it partly to global events like the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas conflicts, and partly to domestic policies. The party specifically highlights the series of price hikes throughout the year, from essentials like water and public transport to housing and energy costs, exacerbating the everyday Singaporean’s economic burden.

Inadequate Mitigations and the Pains of Middle-Income Singaporeans

While acknowledging the government’s efforts through Assurance Packages and rebates, RDU argues that these measures fall short for many, particularly middle- to higher-income families, older workers, and low-wage earners.

The statement includes poignant anecdotes from residents, like one who lamented during a house visit, “The cost of living is very high now, so most of my salary has to be used for daily expenses. It is very difficult for us to save money. We have to depend on the vouchers.”

The Parliamentary Void and Representation Concerns

RDU raises a critical issue of representation, citing the five vacant seats in Parliament and specifically the vacancy in Jurong GRC following Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s resignation to run for the Singapore President. The party questions the fairness of the increased voter-to-MP ratio and the implications for effective governance and public service.

Despite its small size, RDU emphasizes its influence and contributions, noting how its policy suggestions have been adopted and its advocacy has prompted governmental reconsiderations. The party asserts that its impact could be significantly amplified if given the opportunity to serve in Parliament.

The Necessity of Multi-Party Democracy and Gravitas in Leadership

The message underscores the importance of a multi-party system for a vibrant, accountable, and diverse political landscape. It also highlights the critical need for gravitas in leadership, especially in the role of the Prime Minister, and poses reflective questions about the current leadership’s capacity to navigate the impending challenges of 2024.

Concluding on a unifying note, RDU appeals to all Singaporeans to look beyond party lines and co-create a future that reflects the collective will and aspirations of the people, rallying for active participation and solidarity as the nation grapples with significant economic and societal challenges.

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rice buckets? the pappies are eating fish because chikken too expensive!

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