GE2020: PSP launches manifesto calling for reduction of ministerial salaries, no GST on basic necessities

PSP's vice chairman Hazel Poa highlighted that 'purpose of economic growth must be to improve the lives of people'.

Sumita Thiagarajan | June 29, 2020, 05:24 PM

Progress Singapore Party (PSP) unveiled their manifesto for the 2020 General Election on Monday (June 29, 2020).

In a virtual press conference, the party's vice chairman, Hazel Poa, introduced their 13-page manifesto proposing policies in three key areas, social, political and economic development.

"Economy must serve the people, rather than the other way around": Poa

Poa introduced the manifesto by highlighting that one of the guiding principles of PSP is that "the economy must serve the people, rather than the other way around".

To further elaborate on the same point, she added that:

"So the whole purpose of economic growth must be to improve the lives of people. And it shouldn't be a case where it is simply people being used as inputs to grow the economy."

Economic development proposals

Touching on economic policies, Poa said that PSP aims to increase the wages of Singaporeans, job priorities for citizens, reducing the foreign workforce and to grow local businesses.

Higher wages & job priorities for S'poreans

Citing data from 2009 and 2019 that highlighted the labour force growth and real wage growth, Poa pointed out that while an increasing labour force can lead to increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it leads to lower real wage growth.

To improve wages and job priorities, the party proposed that it will lower the quota for S Passes and Work Permits.

Reducing Singapore's over-reliance on foreign workers

Poa said that there's a dependence on foreign workers, which has resulted in issues such as congestion on public transport, problems with social integration and a lower quality of life due to higher prices for goods and services.

The party also proposed reviewing free trade agreements and briefly mentioned the term, Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), which is free trade agreement between India and Singapore.

Poa said:

"Firstly, to cut down our foreign workforce through restrictions on foreign talent and reducing the numbers of foreign workers. We should call cases where employers indicate that there is a lack of necessary skills in locals, we should insist on skills transfers to locals over a reasonable period of time. And we will also review free trade agreements, especially those that touch on labour exchange like for example, CECA, and all this with the aim of making sure that there are more and better jobs for Singaporeans."

The party would also like for industries to make use of automation and artificial intelligence to pursue higher productivity and wage growth.

Social development policies

As for social policies, Poa shared that reducing inequality is one of the priorities of PSP.

Citing data on household income from 2009 to 2019, she said that in "the bottom 10 per cent (of the population), the increase in their monthly income is S$240 over 10 years, and in the highest 10 per cent is S$4,792".

Poa also said that they would like to address the "lease decay issue", and that all old HDB flats should have en-bloc redevelopment

PSP also proposed for new flat prices to be pegged to income levels and to bring down housing costs for young Singaporeans.

Poa also highlighted that PSP aims to allow higher CPF withdrawals at the age of 55.

The party also rejected any tax and fee increases for the next five years and said that that there should be "no GST on basic necessities".

Improve governance through political development

Poa emphasized that "a system of checks and balances are necessary to prevent abuse of power, accountability and transparency to improve governance".

To do this, the party proposed the reduction of ministerial salaries and more scrutiny on government spending.

Reduce ministerial salaries to median salary levels

To improve governance, the party suggested the lowering of ministerial salaries and peg it to median salary levels.

Poa explained how this would work:

"So that if median salary increases, ministerial salaries. So that if median salary decreases, ministerial salaries decrease, so that we all move together."

Reviewing POFMA

The manifesto also touched on reviewing the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) and highlighted that the party would allow for speaking up without fear or favour and encourage the diversity of views.

Party member, Kumaran Pillai, raised that the party is "proposing freedom of speech and expression".

He added that young people these days are very expressive, especially on social media and that POFMA needs to be reviews to help in the "development of the nation and political development".

Top images via Progress Singapore Party/FB