RDU’s New Year message: Singaporeans’ wish for lower living costs will not be fulfilled

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SINGAPORE: Mr Ravi Philemon, the Secretary-General of the opposition party Red Dot United, issued RDU’s New Year’s Message over the weekend, noting that the one wish Singaporeans had for the year—which is for the Government to help ease the burden of higher living costs “will not be properly fulfilled.”

Like other opposition leaders, Mr Philemon wrote that the higher cost of living is Singaporeans’ most pressing issue. And while this is partly due to global factors, he asserted that “a considerable part of it has also been driven by the government’s decisions.”

To this end, he cited the GST hike and higher prices for housing, transport, COE, water, and other utilities, which has contributed “to the mental anguish of Singaporeans about the cost of living crisis… Already, many hawkers and coffeeshop operators have indicated that their prices will go up from 1 January 2024, and the price increase is not a mere 1%.”

Although the Government is extending assistance through different schemes, it will not be enough for many Singaporeans. Those most affected include older workers, retirees, and low-wage earners, as reflected by what RDU has heard on the ground at Jurong, Tanjong Pagar, and Radin Mas.

“Living from paycheque-to-paycheque is one thing; living from vouchers-to-vouchers, especially those released once every quarter, robs individuals of their dignity, and makes them unnecessarily dependent on the government. The government has the means to reduce the cost of living for Singaporeans without making them accustomed and conditioned to periodic vouchers and handouts,” wrote Mr Philemon, who also noted how the real median income in Singapore has declined and that a decrease in quality of living should be an issue that MPs tackle.

He also brought up the issue of five vacant seats in Parliament, particularly the vacancy left behind by President Tharman. With his absence, each MP in Jurong needs to care for 5,562 more voters, Mr Philemon pointed out, adding that he “can’t help but question the fairness of this situation.”

FB screengrab/RDU

Although it’s still a small party at this point, RDU has achieved positive change for Singaporeans, with Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong adopting parts of its policy suggestions, which only serves to underline how important a multi-party system is in a democratic society.

Mr Philemon noted, “In the past 3 years, we have had a remarkable journey despite the challenges we faced in a tough political terrain. We defied odds to transform from an 11-member party to an organisation trusted by many.”

According to an IPSOS study, the party’s New Year’s Message also touched on the challenges Singapore will face in the coming year, including healthcare issues, particularly mental health, the number one problem as perceived by Singaporeans. “Addressing existing gaps is imperative to ensure comprehensive mental health support,” wrote the RDU head.

Other pressing issues involve the future of employment due to technological changes, especially with advances in artificial intelligence and the global climate crisis.

“The urgency and magnitude of the climate crisis demand more aggressive and comprehensive measures. It’s crucial for Singapore to intensify its own efforts and advocate for stronger global action, as the climate crisis is a shared problem requiring a collective solution,” he added.

Mr Philemon ended RDU’s New Year Message by writing, “Regardless of whichever team you support, remember that united, we can navigate the complexities of our time, foster togetherness, and create a future that we can all be proud of. Remember, the future is not something that just happens to us, it’s something we co-create.

So, whatever team you are rooting for, don’t lose sight of the big picture. It is always about Singapore and Singaporeans.”

Read Red Dot United Secretary-General’s New Year Message 2024 in full here. /TISG

Read also: Ravi Philemon: MHA reconsidering requirements for political persons under FICA after RDU voiced objections

The post RDU’s New Year message: Singaporeans’ wish for lower living costs will not be fulfilled appeared first on The Independent Singapore News – Latest Breaking News

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