SINGAPORE - The Workers’ Party (WP) on Monday said it welcomed many of the measures announced in the National Day Rally, while adding that numerous moves were in line with previous calls from the WP.
The five-paragraph message from party chairman Sylvia Lim said the WP had long advocated for the shift to strengthen social safety nets and boost social mobility announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.
In much the same way, the party said the revamp of MediShield to become a universal, compulsory insurance scheme and the inclusion of madrasah students in the Edusave scheme were issues previously raised by the WP.
“We had also called for more holistic development of students to cultivate their love for learning rather than grooming them for high-stakes examinations. The changes announced in education represent incremental shifts in this direction,” said the party statement.
The statement ended with the WP saying it now hopes to see the realisation of the promises and they “await the concrete implementation of the directions announced at the National Day Rally 2013”.
Workers’ Party’s response to National Day Rally Speech 2013:
Promising but implementation is key
The Workers’ Party notes the Prime Minister’s acknowledgment at National Day Rally 2013 of the need to strengthen safety nets and boost social mobility, in the context of a globalised world and rising inequality in Singapore. The Workers’ Party has long advocated that the Government needs to move in this direction, to give Singaporeans security and peace of mind in an increasingly competitive environment where not everyone can thrive on their own. We are thus pleased to hear of the “shift” towards a nation where “we are all in this together”.
The steps to revamp healthcare financing are a recognition of the limitations of the 3M framework currently. The overhaul of the MediShield insurance scheme to cover everyone, without excluding for age or pre-existing conditions, is in line with the Workers’ Party call for a universal hospitalization insurance to cover acute hospital bills. The pending review of Medisave to facilitate its greater use for outpatient treatment is a subject close to the hearts of many Singaporeans; to this end, the Workers’ Party repeats its previous calls for Singaporeans above 75 to be allowed to withdraw their Medisave savings for medical care without restriction. The Government also needs to look into the affordability of step-down care and drugs, two major cost items in healthcare.
As regards the affordability of BTO flats, the Government has changed its gauge by taking reference to a loan period of 25 years instead of 30 years. Though this falls short of the Workers’ Party’s preference of a loan period of 20 years, the revision will be welcome to those in BTO queues.
We welcome the use of Edusave for students in madrasahs, which is something that has been advocated by the Workers’ Party in Parliament. We had also called for more holistic development of students to cultivate their love for learning rather than grooming them for high-stakes examinations. The changes announced in education represent incremental shifts in this direction.
The Workers’ Party hopes to see the realisation of the Government’s promises so as to create a society where mutual care and concern is a hallmark. We await the concrete implementation of the directions announced at the National Day Rally 2013.
Chairman, Workers' Party MP for Aljunied GRC
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