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RDU’s Jurong walkabout features new faces, advocating better workers protection

New faces appeared at Red Dot United’s Labour Day walkabout in Jurong GRC, where the party is gearing up for the upcoming General Election.



SINGAPORE: On Labour Day (1 May), Red Dot United (RDU), Singapore’s alternative political party, visited the Clementi ward of Jurong GRC to extend gratitude and recognition for the invaluable contributions of workers, with a special emphasis on the food delivery riders community.

RDU acknowledged the pivotal role that food delivery riders played as lifelines during the COVID-19 confinement period, providing essential services to tens of thousands of people. However, their contributions often go unnoticed or underappreciated.

During the Labour Day walkabout, RDU distributed new mobile phones to delivery workers, recognizing these devices as indispensable tools that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of food delivery operations.

In addition to Party Chief Mr Ravi Philemon, several other key members of RDU were featured in a video uploaded on the Party’s official Facebook page on Wednesday, sparking speculation about RDU’s potential candidates for Jurong GRC in the upcoming GE.

These members include RDU chairman Dr  David Foo Ming Jin, RDU treasurer Ms Liyana Dhamirah, party’s Central Executive Council (CEC) member Dr Syed Alwi Ahmad, Pang Heng Chuan, and party member Elijah Tay.

In the video, they discussed the challenges faced by ordinary Singaporean workers, such as job opportunities and the difficulties encountered by older workers in finding employment.

For instance, Dr Foo highlighted a concerning statistic released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), indicating that 94.5% of Singapore’s employment growth in 2023 came from non-resident workers.

The 59-year-old entrepreneur and former contestant in the 2015 General Election under the Singaporeans First (SingFirst) flag in Jurong GRC, raised questions about whether Singapore is creating jobs that Singaporeans are not qualified for, or if local workers are pursuing roles where they lack competence.

He also questioned whether the education system adequately prepares students and workers for the jobs of the future.

Dr Foo, a research chemist who has taught at research institutes in the United States and Singapore, and has experience working in government agencies and multinational corporations, co-founded the Think Centre, an independent political research initiative, in 2001.

In the 2015 GE, the Jurong GRC witnessed a contest between the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) led by then-Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and the SingFirst party. The PAP emerged victorious in this electoral battle, securing approximately 79.27% of the votes cast.

Dr Syed Alwi Ahmad advocates for legislative enforcement of Tripartite Guidelines

Meanwhile, Dr Syed Alwi Ahmad advocated for the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) to be legislated to safeguard workers’ rights better.

While he welcomed the recent announcement of the Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA), he pointed out that these guidelines are not enforceable.

Dr Ahmad noted that despite Singapore having the TAFEP guidelines on unfair discrimination, workers such as those over 40 or pregnant women might still encounter significant challenges in finding jobs.

He urged for these guidelines to be encoded into legislation, for example, ensuring the right to disconnect and establishing contractual working hours per week. These considerations are crucial to prevent a race to the bottom.

“Our government has a reputation of underdelivering on promises when it comes to worker Protection, ” said Dr Ahmad, highlighting challenges faced by small and medium-sized companies in implementing flexible work arrangements.

He questioned whether SMEs will receive support, both in terms of guidance and potentially monetary assistance, to navigate these changes effectively.

As per the biodata shared on RDU’s website, Dr. Ahmad is an independent researcher specializing in Quantum Field Theory and General Relativity.

He holds a PhD in Physics from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the USA. His thesis on black holes and quantum fields has been published in various conference proceedings.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr Ahmad is also recognized as a prominent political observer and public policy commentator.

Pang Heng Chuan advocates for strengthened protections for Singaporean workers amidst disruption

Pang Heng Chuan, another CEC member, calls for enhanced protection for Singaporean workers amidst the age of disruption.

He emphasized that Singapore celebrated Labour Day with the unfortunate news of Yahoo Singapore retrenching workers.

In a rapidly changing world, we are now confronted with a new wave of technology that is significantly impacting our lives and livelihoods. Therefore, improved protection is essential for workers affected by such disruptions.

He also pointed out that RDU’s Shadow Budget includes proposals for unemployment benefits and universal basic income.

Separately, RDU treasurer Ms Dharmirah highlighted that food delivery riders, despite being resilient, are also vulnerable in the gig economy.

She noted that those who sustain injuries such as broken legs or arms while working, which can lead to months of being unable to work and loss of income, affecting their ability to support their families.

While she acknowledged the government’s extension of workplace injury compensation to these workers this year, but  Ms Dharmirah expressed that it may not be sufficient.

She noted that the current scheme mainly covers death and permanent disabilities, leaving gaps in coverage for injured workers.

She proposed the creation of an insurance scheme specifically targeted at vulnerable workers who use bicycles or motorbikes for their work. This scheme would provide monthly income benefits to workers unable to work due to illness, including mental conditions.

She introduced the RDU’s concept of the RIDERs Insurance Scheme, which stands for Rapid Income Delivery Ensuring Reliable Support.

This scheme aims to cover regular living expenses for injured workers and would ideally be funded primarily by employers and the government, with workers contributing a small percentage of the insurance cost.

Elijah Tay calls for active political participation to drive structural policy changes

Elijah Tay, a young member of RDU, discussed the challenges faced by many young people, particularly job insecurity and the perceived unequal power dynamic between employers and employees.

Tay highlighted the fear among young workers of being unfairly dominated by employers with minimal notice or compensation.

Tay emphasized the need for checks and balances to correct this imbalance and advocated for active political participation as a means to push for substantial policy changes.

“One way to do this is to active political participation and by pushing for substantial policy changes that can change things at the structural level do current imbalance.”

RDU eyeing Jurong GRC amid 2024 early election speculation

During GE 2020, RDU led by Mr Ravi Philemon, alongside educator and counsellor Michelle Lee, theatre director Alec Tok Kim Yam, entrepreneur and author Liyana Dhamirah (33), and legal engineer Nicholas Tang, contested in Jurong GRC.

PAP led by then-senior Minister Mr Tharman retained Jurong GRC with a commanding 74.62% of the vote.

In 2021, RDU announced Michelle Lee’s departure, with David Foo assuming the Chairman post.

As speculation about the timing of the next GE grows, sources suggest it might be strategically held in September, potentially aligning with cash handouts from Budget 2024 and before major elections in the United States and the United Kingdom in November.

The anticipation grows as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) officially announced on 15 April Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s decision to step down, with Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong slated to succeed him on 15 May 2024.


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Why can’t they come out with a better name for the party? just my opinion. Sigh

RDU , please don’t waste your deposits.

I will work for other opposition parties but not you. Thank you

The 3 faces you see above….can get ELECTED AH?

Good luck RDU.

All the best.