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National Solidarity Party Manifesto (GE2011)
The fundamental responsibility of any government is to protect and improve the quality of life of its people. 2. Qualify of life is determined by various factors: i) economic factors; ii) security factors; iii) social and family factors; and iv) personal factors (e.g. personal development, self-esteem, etc)
3. In pursuing national policies, a holistic approach needs to be adopted whereby the effects of such policies on the various aspects of Singaporeans’ lives are considered, weighed and a balance achieved. Overemphasis in any one particular aspect results in a lop-sided society and unbalanced lifestyles.
Benefits: • • • •
Priority for Singaporeans in Employment Higher wages with stricter supply of foreign workers Focus on industries with jobs suited to Singaporeans Financial support for Local SMEs
4. Singaporeans are straining under the rising cost of living. Part of the rise is a global phenomenon, part of that contributed by national policies. We can do little about the rise in the prices of commodities and raw materials globally. But we can review national policies that contributed to the rising cost like the cost-recovery of public services, increase in GST, property prices, ERP, etc. 5. However, the rising cost of living would not be such a pain if our wages are rising fast enough to cope. The single largest factor that prevented our wages from rising is the large supply of foreign workers who are willing to accept lower pay.
NSP thus wants the employment of foreigners to be more tightly regulated: i) Foreign labour force should be allowed in at a more moderate pace, and at a rate that our public infrastructure is capable of coping. ii) Work permits should continue to be allowed for industries or jobs that are unpopular with Singaporeans. iii) Reduce mid-skilled foreign workforce (entry-level graduates, diploma holders and technicians). iv) Grant priority to Singaporeans in employment.
Specifically, we want to introduce the following: i) Employment pass (with no quota imposed) be applied to jobs with a salary of at least $4000 per month. Based on 2009 wage data from CPF, about 72% of active CPF members earn below $4000 per month, while 28% earn above. ii) For all jobs below $4000 per month, quotas will be imposed to protect Singaporeans’ employment prospects, with no differentiation of work permit or S pass, and no nationality restrictions. A basic quota of 25% is proposed for all sectors. iii) Foreign worker levy to be imposed that comprises 2 elements: (1) An amount equivalent to the employer CPF contribution for Singaporeans (2) An amount to give Singaporeans a better chance over foreigners iv) In certain industries or jobs that are unpopular with Singaporeans, higher quotas will be allocated. v) Quotas for employment agencies in terms of number of Singaporeans successfully placed versus foreigners.
8. The focus of our economic policies is not so much GDP growth, but wage growth and better quality of life. In our pursuit of economic growth, we need to pay due attention to social costs. Develop industries that better match the abilities and inclinations of our people. Less reliance on industries that compete based on cheap labour, more in those offering higher valueadded jobs. For example, build on the progress made in the medical industry to aggressively expand our medical training so that more Singaporeans are trained as doctors, therapists, etc. 9. Support the growth of local SMEs by: i) Scheme for Rental subsidies for new or innovative companies ii) Making GLCs look outwards by limiting local market contributions, giving space to local SMEs to develop and grow iii) Preferential treatment in some government projects
10. A key feature in our labour relations management is the tri-partite arrangement of trade union, employers and government. But representatives of each party should be independent of
the others so that there is no actual or perceived conflict of interest. NSP advocate that the leaders of trade unions should be independent of the Government. 11. In summary, • Control of employment of foreigners • Pursue economic growth with due regards to social impact • Select industries with due regards to Singaporeans’ aspirations • Focus on wage growth rather than GDP growth • Support growth of local SMEs • Tri-partite arrangement with independent parties
Benefits: • • •
Lower prices for first time buyers of new HDB flats More compassionate rules and regulations to avoid homelessness Upgrading for you no matter which way you vote
12. Discounts to be given to first time buyers of new HDB flats so that they pay slightly above the cost of building the flats plus a discounted land price. More HDB flats needs to be built to support the growing population, and to shorten the waiting time for new flats. High prices of HDB flats and long waiting time directly impact our total fertility rate (TFR) by delaying marriages and having children. Due consideration must be given to the social cost of maintaining high HDB prices and the longer term economic cost of a rapidly aging population. 13. A total review of HDB rules and regulations that make it difficult for Singaporeans to continue to have a roof over their heads when they run into problems financially, or their families break up.
14. PRs must hold their HDB flats for a minimum period of 8 years. If they wish to sell before that, they must sell their HDB flats back to HDB at prices based on the lower of market price or cost price (the price at which they bought the flats) plus interest.
15. Upgrading of HDB flats to be delinked from votes. It is highly unethical to use public funds to gain political advantage. Our party’s interest is subservient to Singaporeans’ interest. Upgrading decisions should be made based on the condition of the building.
Benefits: • • • •
More hospital beds More subsidies for healthcare Less crowded public transport Transport subsidies for elderly, disabled and full-time students including Polytechnic and University students
16. Increase funding for healthcare to reduce the financial burden on Singaporeans. Increased investment in public hospitals and polyclinics to cut the waiting time for Singaporeans. More hospital beds are needed for a growing and greying population. The number of hospital beds has remained stagnant at 11,000 to 12,000 over the past 10 years, while our population grew by 26%. 17. Increase healthcare budget by $1.8b: i) $0.8b to build 4 more new hospitals over the next 5 years to increase the total number of hospital beds by 20%. ii) $1.0b increase for operating subvention (45% increase) provided to the healthcare institutions that goes towards subsidising patient bills to ensure that Singaporeans have access to good and affordable healthcare.
18. Increased investment in public transport. Capacity of MRT and public buses must be increased immediately. With the rapidly growing population, congestion on the road will only get worse. Public transport must be improved (not just keep up with population growth) significantly to encourage people to switch from private to public transport to ease congestion. 19. Increased funding of $0.5b: To purchase 1000 additional buses to boost the total number of public buses from SBS and SMRT by 25%. These new buses will ply along the MRT lines to alleviate congestion faced by MRT commuters pending the expansion of the capacity of the MRT, as well as congested bus routes. These government-procured buses will be rented to SBS and SMRT. In return, the rent earned would be used to provide subsidised transport to weaker members of the society including the senior citizens and physically disabled, and subsidized transport for all students, including polytechnic and university students.
Benefits: • •
Lower GST to 5% Basic necessities exempted from GST
20. In 2006, the government raised the GST from 5% to 7%, claiming it is to help the poor. In FY09, it raised an additional amount of $1.9b from the additional 2%. But the increased amount disbursed by funds helping the poor only increased by $0.4b in the same year. See Annex on how changes in our taxation policy has affected the top earners and lower-incomed. 21. NSP wants to reduce the GST back to 5% to help all citizens, especially the poor. Basic necessities priced below a certain level should also be exempted from GST. 22. This will cost the Government an estimated $2.2b each year.
Benefits: • • •
Increased commitment against terrorism Reduce mission demands of National Servicemen Reduce national service to 15 months
23. Terrorism, not regional conventional armed conflict, is the primary security threat facing Singapore as a transport and financial hub. i) The SMRT security breach at Changi depot, escape of Mas Selamat and the JI threat are reminders that home security against terrorism should be accorded the highest priority. ii) From FY 2005-2010, MHA budget remains unchanged at 7-8% of the total government budget. MHA also needs to focus on transnational crimes. This is inadequate to deal also with terrorism. iii) We cannot depend on others to defend us. We have to rely on Singaporeans to guard against terrorism. The Armed Forces are well-equipped to take on this role. Focusing our national resources in security against terrorism must be immediate and have to be a sustained long-term commitment of Singaporeans.
To downsize the Army and build up Navy and Air Force to defend Singapore. i) During a conventional war, a 3G SAF should enable its forward-defence military doctrine relying primarily on Navy and Air Force, and limited Army troops consisting mainly of regular troops. ii) With extended urbanization that favours defenders, the Army which comprises largely of National Servicemen should be deployed within Singapore to defend our country against invading forces. Normally a defender is a third the size of the attackers. Downsize the Army and restructure it to be deployed in Singapore to defend against conventional attack during wartime. iii) Restructure the Army to conduct counter terrorism operations during peacetime. iv) The downsizing of our Army is in any case inevitable given our falling birth rate. Reduce national service to 15 months. i) Current mission demands on the National Servicemen would be reduced to focus on defence and installation protection. ii) Brief training plan for soldiers, specialists and officers.
Jan-Mar Soldiers Apr-Jun Basic Military Training Specialist Training Officer Training Jul-Sep Operational Training Operational Training Officer Training Basic Military Training Basic Military Training Basic Military Training Oct-Dec Operational Ready Operational Ready Operational Ready Operational Training Specialist Training Officer Training Jan-Mar Operational Ready Operational Ready Operational Ready Operational Ready Operational Training Officer Training Operational Ready Operational Ready Operational Ready Operational Ready Operational Ready Operational Ready Apr-Jun Operational Ready Jul-Sep
Basic Military Training Basic Military Training
26. Establish Singapore Volunteer Corps (SVC) to encourage National Servicemen to voluntarily participate in more National Service call-ups, apart from the mandatory ones. i) NSmen who voluntarily participate in more National Service call-ups will enjoy the same Make-Up Pay. ii) SVC would conduct training courses for new citizens and involve them in contributing to the defence of Singapore.
Benefits: • • • •
Lower ministerial salaries Political leaders motivated by public service More diverse group of politicians More opportunities for non-“elite” Singaporeans to contribute
27. Political leaders should be motivated by a sense of public service, and should not require extremely high remunerations (by international standards) to lure them in and keep them incorrupt. 28. Ministerial salaries should be pegged to national wage levels to align the interest of office holders in the public sector with Singaporeans in general. The Prime Minister’s salary can be set at 40 times that of the median wage level in Singapore (making it approximately $1.5m per year), while the salaries of other appointment holders are set below that. There should not be any position drawing a higher salary like for example MM, SM or President. Remuneration should commensurate with job responsibilities. 29. Looking beyond the ability to earn high income or excellent academic qualifications, we will use additional yardsticks to measure “talent” as follows: i) The ability to empathise – likely to be found in the social work sector ii) The desire to contribute to the progress of others over one’s own interest – likely to be found in the education sector iii) The ability to communicate, persuade and build rapport – likely to be found in the media sector iv) The ability to connect and mobilise – likely to have risen through the ranks in unions or other associations v) The courage to speak the truth even if it is unwelcomed – might be anywhere but may not be high in a hierarchy. vi) The courage to break old moulds and innovate – R & D, entrepreneurs, arts 30. Downsize bloated political appointments. For example, there are current 10 ministers in the Prime Ministers’ Office. Remove positions like MM, SM and Ministers without Portfolio.
Overall Fiscal Position
31. Tax Revenue i) Increase by $4.5b: Since FY2009, 50% of the expected long-term real returns on our reserves has been included in Government Revenue to fund public sector services, under the item Net Investment Returns (NIR). We want to increase that from 50% to 80%. This will yield an additional $4.5b each year. General Balance by government on 31st Mar 2010 FY 2010 Capital receipt for the Sale of Land that would add on to our reserves $15.1 billion FY 2010 Net Investment Returns (NIR) from reserves used Estimated Extra Revenue Collection if NIR is increased from 50% to 80%
FY 2010 Total Cash held Expenditure of by Government government on 31st Mar 2010
ii) Decrease by $2.2b due to cut in GST from 7% to 5%. iii) Net increase = $2.3b 32. Government Expenditure i) Increase in Healthcare by $1.8b (1) $0.8b to build 4 more new hospitals over the next 5 years to increase the total number of hospital beds by 20% (2) $1.0b increase for operating subvention (45% increase) provided to the healthcare institutions that goes towards subsidising patient bills to ensure that Singaporeans have access to good and affordable healthcare ii) Increase in Transport by $0.5b: To purchase 1000 additional buses to boost the total number of public buses from SBS and SMRT by 25%. These new buses will ply along the MRT lines to alleviate congestion faced by MRT commuters, as well as congested bus routes. These government-procured buses will be rented to SBS and SMRT. In return, the rent earned would be used to provide subsidised transport to weaker members of the society including the senior citizens and physically disabled, and subsidized transport for all students, including polytechnic and university students. iii) Reduction in Defence budget [unable to estimate due to lack of information] iv) Reduction in Ministerial salaries [unable to estimate due to wide-ranging effects on public sector appointments linked to ministerial salaries] v) Overall increase: less than $2.3b
33. Reserves: The additional inflows into our reserves will be slightly lower due to the discounts in land price given to first time buyers of new HDB flats.
Effects of Taxation Policy on Top Earner and Lower Income
1. Lower income earners previously do not need to pay for GST, before it is introduced in 1994. They do not benefit from personal income tax cut, as they do not make more than $20,000 a year. Based on the low income household as illustrated in table below, the tax they contribute increases by more than 13% in 2008, when GST is 7% as compared to 2003 when GST is 4%.
2003 GST Low Income Household Ave Monthly Income Yearly Income Personal Income Tax 1400 18200 0 4%
1400 18200 0
Case 1: Annual Household Expenditure GST Payable Total Tax GST Credit (Avail 2007-10) Additional Tax Payable % increase in Tax 10,000 400 400 10,000 700 700 250 50 13%
Case 2: Annual Household Expenditure GST Payable Total Tax GST Credit (Avail 2007-10) Additional Tax Payable % increase in Tax 13500 540 540 13500 945 945 250 155 29%
2. In contrast, the higher income earners enjoy lower income personal tax. An illustration of a higher income earner earning the equivalent of a Minister’s salary is given below, his household would enjoy a tax saving of more than $10,000.
2003 GST Top Earner, e.g. a minister Yearly Income Personal Income Tax 1,500,000 306,600 4%
Case 1: Annual Household Expenditure GST Payable Total Tax GST Credit (Avail 2007-10) Additional Tax Payable % decrease in Tax 300,000 12,000 318,600 300,000 21,000 299,700 100 -19,000 -6%
Case 2: Annual Household Expenditure GST Payable Total Tax GST Credit (Avail 2007-10) Additional Tax Payable % decrease in Tax 500,000 20,000 326,600 500,000 35,000 313,700 100 -13,000 -4%
3. With rising cost of living, it is inevitable that lower income household would have to spend more, and consequently see higher percentage increase in tax contribution in terms of GST. It is also noteworthy that the GST credit offset package expires last year.
4. The assumptions made for calculating the above taxes are as follows: a. Below are the personal income taxes to be paid in 2003 and 2008.
b. In 2003, GST is 4%. In 2008, GST is 7%. c. GST credit for the top earner is $100 and low income earner is $250. d. Both sole breadwinners do not qualify for extra GST credit for contributing to National Service.
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