First, it suggested raising incomes through a national minimum wage. Now, the Workers’ Party (WP) campaign is rolling on with ideas in another policy area: Improving retirement adequacy.

In the party’s fourth rally, held at Punggol Field Walk, its candidates positioned their proposals against the backdrop of a Singapore that has seen more elderly citizens having to work instead of enjoying retirement, even as age discrimination in the workforce has become a problem.

Addressing the latter issue, Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency (GRC) candidate He Ting Ru said that the WP is calling, for example, for accelerated workplace and job redesign for senior workers. The party proposes that such redesign should be mandatory for large companies to implement.

Annual surveys should also be conducted to track the employment of senior workers in various industries, to identify gaps and areas where they are unemployed, said Ms He.

“This will identify sectors and companies where age discrimination is an issue, where older people find it very difficult to find jobs,” she added.

With the party’s election manifesto as the WP speakers’ platform, another new face from the WP to step up to the podium, Fengshan candidate Dennis Tan, said the Central Provident Fund (CPF) payout eligibility age should be lowered to age 60.

He added that CPF members who do not wish to withdraw at that age should continue to earn interest on their savings and enjoy a higher payout later.

Another of the party’s ideas is for Silver Support Scheme payouts to be adjusted for inflation at the start of every term of Government, or every five years, and with payouts given on a monthly basis instead of quarterly, said Mr Tan.

Other proposals included prioritising citizenship for foreign spouses and children of Singaporeans, as they would probably grow roots in Singapore and integrate — a call made by the WP’s Jalan Besar candidate L Somasundaram.

These elections are not the first time the WP has given policy proposals, but, said some of the WP candidates, the Government has not given the Opposition due credit in past years.

Just as it had been highlighted on the WP website, Marine Parade candidate Terence Tan referred to the party’s 2011 manifesto and how, for example, the party had suggested that concessions on public transport for older Singaporeans should apply all day. The People’s Action Party (PAP) Government announced the change in late 2011, noted Mr Tan.

“The PAP is going to tell you the Workers’ Party is as quiet as mice in Parliament. The facts show that this is not true,” he added.

Neither is credit given when the Opposition keeps up its ground engagement with residents, said East Coast GRC candidate Daniel Goh.

He cited the claim by PAP East Coast candidate Lee Yi Shyan that Opposition members who come by Bedok Town Centre once every five years might get lost amid all the changes there.

“So, the PAP wanted to offer free tour-guide services to us,” said Associate Professor Goh. “What he didn’t know is that the Workers’ Party East Coast GRC and Fengshan team has been doing outreach in that area for a few years. We’ve become very familiar with the town.”

The PAP is a big bully, charged the WP candidates, as they reminded supporters about the upgrading carrot-and-stick tactic the ruling party had used. Assoc Prof Goh called on voters to “bully-proof” Singapore.

“The PAP has shown many times that it can and will bully you if you disagree with them,” he said. “The PAP will only become less arrogant when it’s checked and balanced by a loyal and capable Opposition.”

Article from Today Online