Singapore election 2020
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Workers' Party chair Sylvia Lim is seen campaigning ahead of Singapore's election. Photo: Twitter

Singapore election: Workers’ Party manifesto targets high cost of living

  • The country’s biggest opposition party also highlighted the ruling People’s Action Party’s supermajority, and called for a new pandemic preparedness plan
  • Singapore will go to the polls on July 10, with the PAP, which has ruled since independence in 1965, expected to remain in power
Singapore’s biggest opposition party has released an election manifesto that sought to reduce costs of living and widen the safety net for residents.

The Workers’ Party main proposals include opposing the government’s plan to increase the goods-and-services tax, and reiterating calls for a national minimum wage and unemployment insurance, it said on Sunday. It sought a minimum monthly take-home wage of S$1,300 (US$934) for full-time workers.

“A large number of Singaporean families have difficulty making ends meet, even though their breadwinners are working hard to provide for them,” according to the manifesto.

It also called for “abolishing the retirement age and allowing Singaporeans to work for as long as they are able and willing to” and an insurance programme to “ease financial pressure on workers who have been made redundant”.

Singapore election set for July 10 as PAP seeks mandate amidst pandemic

Singapore unveiled four stimulus packages in about three months worth a total of S$92.9 billion, laden with cash handouts, tax waivers and wage subsidies to help residents and businesses during the pandemic. The government still plans to raise the goods-and-services tax by 2025, but will not increase it next year, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in February.

The opposition’s manifesto contrasts with one released by the ruling party on Saturday.

The People’s Action Party (PAP) focused its election policy document on tiding the city state over the crisis stemming from the global pandemic and elaborated less on its longer-term ideas for the country. Covid-19 has infected more than 40,000 people across the island of 5.7 million people.
The city state will go to the polls on July 10. The People’s Action Party, which has ruled since independence in 1965, is expected to remain in power.
Heng Swee Keat of the People's Action Party (PAP) meets residents during a walkabout ahead of the general election in Singapore. Photo: Reuters

The Workers’ Party wants to call focus to the overwhelming parliamentary supermajority held by the ruling party, and the risk there may not be elected opposition officials in the legislative body following this election, The Straits Times reported, citing Secretary General Pritam Singh.

The Workers’ Party also recommended the formation of an independent medical advisory board in the event of future outbreaks, and a revision of the pandemic preparedness plan.

Singapore’s PAP to campaign on bread-and-butter issues: PM Lee

It called for the improvement of the living conditions for foreign workers, who made up most Covid-19 infections as the virus spread rapidly in the cramped dormitories.

This outbreak, “and any future pandemics, must strengthen – not weaken – our social harmony and resilience as a people,” the Workers’ Party said. “Singaporeans must resolve to work together as a nation to defeat pandemics, not as individuals weathering the storm on their own.”

What’s at stake in Singapore’s 13th general election on July 10?

The Singapore Democratic Party, one of the oldest opposition parties, on Sunday said its manifesto released in September last year remained relevant.


Its main proposals were a suspension of the GST till the end of 2021, payouts of retrenchment insurance, providing low-income retirees with income support, and saying no to any plans to increase Singapore’s population to 10 million people.