SINGAPORE, Aug 27 — The Workers’ Party has renewed calls for the government to introduce some of the party’s policy ideas published in its manifesto at last year’s general election, such as a nationwide minimum wage, anti-discrimination laws, as well as payouts for the unemployed.
In a media statement today, the opposition party said it welcomes “recent signals from high-ranking government figures” that the government is open about the need to implement these reforms.
While WP did not name anyone in its statement, Ravi Menon, the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has talked about the need to implement a minimum wage and a possible wealth tax — suggestions that the government had often said come with many trade-offs — in a series of lectures with the Institute of Policy Studies.
Menon had said that his lectures reflect his personal views and do not represent the central bank or the government.
Today, WP said it would like to again highlight its policy ideas ahead of the National Day Rally, which will be delivered by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.
“We believe it is opportune to implement these ideas in light of recent public discussions focusing on these areas of policy,” read the statement.
Some of its policy ideas are:
- Implement a minimum wage that provides a living wage for workers, that can co-exist with the current progressive wage model
- Implement a redundancy insurance scheme that allows those who get retrenched to receive payouts. The WP added that if such a scheme existed before the Covid-19 pandemic, the payouts would have cushioned the shock to the economy and the livelihoods of those laid off, as well as reduced the amount of money that needed to be withdrawn from Singapore’s past reserves
- Avoid increasing the Goods and Services Tax and pursue other methods to manage a shortfall in government revenue, such as increasing the proportion the Government can spend from the returns it got by investments made by Temasek, MAS and GIC
- Introduce anti-discrimination laws that prohibit bias hiring by ethnicity, gender and age
- Review the existing framework for public housing to ensure affordability and introduce a universal sale and lease buyback scheme — TODAY