DPP Policy Working Group

The DPP’s Policy Working Group met on Sunday afternoon to discuss the key issues that will form the election campaign platform for the DPP in Bishan Toa Payoh at the coming General Elections.

The meeting was chaired by Secretary-General Benjamin Pwee, and attended by CEC members and candidates including Chairman Mohd Hamim, Treasurer Juliana Juwahir, candidates Nadine Yap, Chia Ser Lin and Edwin Fernandez, as well as key leaders, volunteers and supporters from academia, the Malay-Muslim community, and the banking, legal, education and arts profession.

The three-and-a-half hour discussion was very lively and intense, and key issues raised included employment, foreign workers, wages, PMETs, local SMEs and entrepreneurs, social support, and Malay-Muslim issues.

Topics that the group identified, that will be included as key issues in DPP’s election campaign rallies, include the following:

– Employment: The group noted the increasing number of non-citizens being employed, not just in the private sector, but also in the civil service and GLCs, even at senior management levels. The group proposed additional policy measures to ensure a “Singaporeans-first” domestic job market, especially in middle-to-upper management in the civil service and GLC, as well as the private sector.

– Foreign workers: The group recommended that restrictions to foreign workers in Singapore be designed by industrial sectors, to allow sectors like F&B where fewer Singaporeans are trained for or are interested to do, to employ more foreign workers. And for sectors like engineering, healthcare, banking, to have tighter restrictions, to allow Singaporean PMETs to take on these middle-income jobs more easily

– Re-skilling: the policy group also recommended that better, more hands-on, apprentenceship-based re-skilling programs be designed for middle-aged workers, rather than classroom-based, taught WDA/WSQ-type programs that do not fit these middle-aged workers’ learning styles. This was raised by DPM Tharman sometime back, and more could be done to make it mainstream and commonplace.

– SMEs: the policy group proposed a range of practical support for SMEs, including setting up an SME assistance centre, a job-matching program, a revolving loan fund, an incubation program, and a mentor-coaching program, to help owners and managers of SMEs to get back on their feet and become self-sustainable in their businesses

– entrepreneurs: the policy group noted the lack of sustainable support for local entrepreneurs and start-ups in traditional, non-tech businesses and industries, and pointed out that grants, subsidies and handouts are not sustainable policy solutions. It proposed a number of policy measures at ground level, to complement the government’s existing range of solutions, to better help local entrepreneurs start a business and earn a living. This includes those in the design, arts, construction, manufacturing and other sectors.

– CPF/retirement: the policy group recognised the new initiatives that the government has implemented over recent years in this area, but proposed a wider range of options and retirement savings programs that Singaporeans can choose from. They proposed to call on key leaders in the private sector insurance and investment industry, to come up with better investment and insurance schemes under the CPF structure, to fill in the current gaps in the CPF system.

– Malay-muslim issues: the policy group identified and re-affirmed areas where the Malay-Muslim community has grown and developed, like good PSLE results in the Madrashah schools, the number of top-quality Malay-Muslim professionals working overseas, and a younger generation of community leaders stepping forward to lead community self-help organisations. The policy working group also considered ways to help identify and challenge more quality Malay-Muslim PMETs, to step forward as next-generation community leaders, and together find new solutions for the Malay-Muslim community

The DPP CEC will be incorporating these recommendations from its Policy Working Group, into the joint DPP-SPP Manifesto for the joint team to Bishan Toa Payoh, and will also be championing these issues during the upcoming election rallies where appropriate.

16 Aug 2015

Statement of clarification

The DPP wishes to clarify that CNA erroneously reported us saying that DPP and SPP will be going into an Alliance to extend beyond Bishan Toa Payoh to Potong Pasir and Hong Kar North.

There is no SPP-DPP Alliance being proposed for Hong Kar North or Potong Pasir.

We at the DPP have clearly said since last Monday, that the DPP is happy to strongly support Mrs Chiam’s bid for Potong pasir, and the sending of the best candidate for Hong Kar Noth.

We are also excited about partnering with SPP to win Bishan Toa Payoh at the coming GE.

Democratic Progressive Party,

DPP’s National Day Message 2015

Dear fellow Singaporeans,

Congratulations and best wishes to all Singaporeans on this 50th National Day. It is indeed a time to give thanks for what we have achieved over the past 50 years to-date. And it is a day that we can stand proud as an independent nation and an independent people in today’s globalized world.

We have been celebrating SG50 since the start of this year, and we have heard countless times the achievements we have attained, and how far we have come from our past.

Singapore – the achievement of every one

I would like to thank each and every one of your forefathers, who played a part in building Singapore to what it is today. Singapore is not the achievement of one man, or a band of men. It is the achievement of every Singaporean man and woman who have lived through the tumultuous years of the 1960s, till today. Singapore therefore is a shared achievement of each and every Singaporean. We should all stand proud this 50th National Day.

Today’s challenges

However, our forefathers have passed away, our first-and-second-generation political leaders are fast retiring. And the challenges that we face today as Singapore, are far more complex than before. SG50 is a time for rejoicing, but it is also a time for awakening.

The international economy is challenging. China is slowing down. India is rising. Next-door countries like Indonesia and Philippines are taking off. Domestic issues are spilling over to other countries. The Rohinga refugees and ISIS militants are at our doorsteps. International monetary flows are cross-border tax regimes are getting tighter. And we in Singapore are being fast drawn into the storm.

Immigrants and overcrowding in Singapore, the rising gap between the rich and the poor, fast but poor quality construction around us, hospital bed crunch and public transport disruptions, all these are very real, but they are also symptoms of much larger regional and global forces at play, and we are being hit no differently from every other key globalized city in the world.

So as we celebrate and rejoice in how far we have come over the past 50 years, let us also wake up and take a good hard look at how we are going to weather the storm and continue to survive and succeed in the coming 50 years.

Your contribution to Singapore

At this 50th National Day, I would like to strongly urge all Singaporeans to step forward and contribute strongly to Singapore’s next 50 years in three key ways:

· Give of yourself and what you have to fellow Singaporeans around you in need. Build our community from ground-up, starting with yourself
· Lift up your heads and see our shared challenges, and lets pull together and find solutions, not break apart by throwing stones
· Step into community, social and political leadership, at the grassroots or nationally. Our country urgently need a new generation of community and political leaders, whatever the colour

So stand up for Singapore – not just for the national anthem, or the parade, but for the interest and well-being of your family, your future. And don’t just stand up, step forth. Singapore needs you. To be interested. To be involved. To participate. To Lead.

This is OUR Singapore. This is YOUR Singapore. Lets together create the next 50 years for ourselves and our families. Majulah Singapura!

Ben Pwee

Democratic Progressive Party

DPP Introduces New Candidate

DPP introduced their new candidate to the media and public this morning.

55 year old Mr Edwin Fernandez is an Indian-Eurasian, former industry veteran in Fedex Asia-Pacific Logistics, before he joined ST Marine in business process improvement.

He is now running his own social enterprise, employing and training marginalised youths for the courier industry in Singapore.

He will be part of DPP’s team to contest at the coming General Elections.

DPP will be revealing more new candidates in the coming weeks.


DPP 40th Anniversary Press Release

The Democratic Progressive Party of Singapore celebrates its 40th year this year (2013) as a registered and active political party in Singapore. The history of the party dates back to 16 March 1973, when it was first set up and named the United Front. It contested in both the 1976 and 1980 General Elections before being renamed the Singapore United Front on 5 March 1982, and contested again in the 1984 General Elections under this name. In the 1988 General Elections, members of the party contested under the Workers’ Party banner. In 1990, a team together with Mr Seow Khee Leng officially renamed the party as the Democratic Progressive Party, and subsequently contested in three more General Elections, in 1997 and 2001 as DPP, and in 2006 under the banner of Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA). The party did not contest in the 2011 General Elections.

For 20 years from 1992 to 2012, the party has been kept going by a small team led by Mr Seow Khee Leng, who has contested in four General Elections ever since the very first General Election in 1976 that the party took part in. In end- 2012, Mr Seow invited a group who contested in Bishan-Toa Payoh in 2011 under the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) banner, to joinand take over the leadership of the party. Mr Seow and his DPP leaders officially appointed the small group’s leader Mr Benjamin Pwee as the party’s Acting Secretary-General in January 2013. Pwee was confirmed as the party’s Secretary-General on 31 March 2013.

Over the past 40-year history since 1973, members of the party have contested in seven (7) General Elections, winning between 31% to 45% of the votes in 5 out of the 7 General Elections, more than half of the number of elections it contested in since 1973.

1976 Seow Khee Leng       United Front                      Mountbattan        34.10%
1980 Seow Khee Leng       United Front                      Geylang Serai      28.01%
1984 Seow Khee Leng       Singapore United Front      Kg Chai Chee     42.84%
1984 Md Monsor Rahman  Singapore United Front      Geylang Serai      34.43%
1988 Seow Khee Leng       Part of WP team                Bedok GRC        45.08%
1997 Tan Soo Phuan          DPP                                 Chua Chu Kang   12.5%
1997 Tan Lead Shake         DPP                                 Kg Glam              12.5%
2001 Tan Lead Shake         DPP                                 Ayer Rajah           12.5%
2006 Tan Lead Shake         Part of SDA                      Tampines GRC     31.49%
(note: Tan Lead Shake was subsequently expelled from the DPP)

The DPP, under the new leadership of Chairman Mohd Hamim bin Aliyas and Secretary-General Benjamin Pwee, has worked hard over the whole of the past year to re-build the party’s credibility, and bring credible professionals into party leadership. Its new Central Executive Committee that took over leadership in March this year consists of the following:

• Chairman  Mohamad Hamim Aliyas  Businessman
• Secretary-General  Benjamin Pwee  Mgt Consultant
• Asst Secretary-General  Wilfred Leung  UX Principle Designer
• Organising Secretary  Ting Tze Jiang  Travel Executive
• General Treasurer  Winston Lim   Architect
• Assistant   Treasurer  Juliana Juwahir   Architect
• Executive Member  Fatima Akhtar   Architect

Since January this year, the DPP has been doing regular monthly walkabouts in Bishan-Toa Payoh, Potong Pasir and Tanjung Pagar constituencies, and has issued several policy statements and commentaries on national issues. It intends to increase the frequency of its walkabouts in order to get to know the local residents better, and also reach out in friendly collaboration with other alternative political parties in Singapore for a coordinated united alternative front to the People’s Action Party (PAP). It hopes to carve and define a credible political middle-ground, and gear up to contest in the next General Election with more new candidates and in collaboration with other friendly alternative parties.

DPP Press Statement on Hijab/Tudung issue (Malay Version)

DPP menyokong pemakaian  “HIJAB / TUDUNG” oleh wanita Islam di Singapura di tempat kerja mereka sama ada dalam Perkhidmatan Awam Kerajaan atau Swasta, sama ada kakitangan berpakaian seragam atau tidak seragam.

Melalui perbincangan awam mengenai isu ini, kami berharap kerajaan, pekerja dan orang ramai akan dapat memahami dan menerima mengapa wanita Islam perlu memakai yang “Hijab / Tudung” apabila mereka keluar dari rumah mereka ke kalayak  ramai.

Artikal 15 Perlembagaan Republik Singapura menjamin kebebasan beragama di Singapura. Khususnya, Artikal 15 (1) menyatakan: “Setiap orang mempunyai hak untuk menganut dan mengamalkan agama masing-masing dan untuk menyebarkannya.”

Atas dasar ini, DPP meminta Kerajaan Singapura dan semua majikan menghormati dan membenarkan wanita Islam untuk memakai “Hijab / Tudung”, selaras dengan amalan Islam mereka.

Kenyataan oleh Pengerusi DPP

Mohamad Hamim Bin Aliyas

DPP Press Statement‏ on Recent Graft Cases

The recent graft case unearths dangerous societal trends pursuing wealth and materialism over values and morals.

Together with recent other high-profile cases involving civil servants from the Police, SCDF, and now CPIB (all law-enforcement agencies under MHA), it highlights a serious gap between the rhetoric of high-salary-for-integrity versus reality of corruption and graft in the present Government.

We urgently need to examine our current value-system in the public sector. Our public policies across-the-board need to be holistic, and not designed just for the pursuit of wealth, materialism and success. Otherwise it will send the wrong message to the public at large, and to our next generation.

The long-espoused link between resistance-to-temptation and how much a public servant is being paid, has come under serious question. No amount of money will ever be enough if aspiration is always one level higher. One-too-many public servants have fallen in the recent years under the current government.

We urge Singaporeans to defend our social norms, and not be carried away by simplistic, quick-fix economic and social policies of expediency and efficiency, in response to an era of rapid changes.

We need better-thought-through and better-argued policies that deepen and maintain our society’s core values in a materialistc and pragmatic world around us.

We call on the present government to work more collaboratively with all sectors of society, to together find answers and solutions to this worrying trend of graft in our public sector.

Statement by the Democratic Progressive Party of Singapore

DPP Statement on Population White Paper

The DPP thanks the Government for the work done for the Whitepaper.

The Whiter Paper outlines Population Growth projected to 2030. The DPP feels that the study merits further detail study regarding the following:

i) The population growth is assumed to be necessary for economic growth
ii) White paper did not state in detail the assumptions (labour productivity, etc)
iii) White paper does not explain the economic growth attainable while keeping population at current numbers
iv) Our projection shows that we are a minority in our country by 2026,

i) There are successful economies like Scandinavia where they are able to gear up their economies at 5.5 million average. There are financial centres like Luxembourg at 800,000 pop while maintaining lead position as a financial centre as well as having pole position for highest per capita income . So far with rapid population growth last few years , we mange to garner 2 to 3 % growth only. Is quantity the only way or we should seriously consider quality ?

ii) Currently our labour productivity ranks low equivalent to Third World economies whereas other 1st World economies like Japan, Switzerland , Scandinavia , Germany runs at higher labour productivity. Has the government examined the possibilty of gearing up productivity and keep population low ? Gearing up productivity will help in raising incomes while keeping inflation and cost of living low. The Govt assumes that non resident population is required to fill jobs that Singaporeans do not want to fill. Scandinavians still take up jobs as garbage men and kitchen help as the jobs pay well, highly skilled and highly respected by society.

iii) What is the outcome of social framework when we become a minority in our own country ? Currently, the framework has not been fully developed to ensure a stable Singapore Core supported by Non Resident Workers. There are obvious workplaces with a strong core of single nationality / single race workforce with Singaporeans as absolute minority. When recession comes, these non resident workforce will not prove to be the buffer that the Government envisions. These workplaces also serve our top Foreign Direct Investors whereas the service that they get is devoid of the Singapore efficiencies , transparency etc. How does this affect the Singapore Brand as a whole ? There is also not a strong framework that jobs are open to Singaporeans first before a foreigner is imported.

iv) Accomodating high population also means the demolition of buildings, erasing and replacing urban landscape. This will lead to urban amnesia and dysfunction memory and places. Is our identity being erased for short-term growth?

v) Are we having to grow the population to support the high investment that has been made in infrastructure currently and also projects in the pipeline? Have we been forced to keep up with what has been built or are we building according to a comfortable plan to grow? Obvious scenario with controls on building heights due to flight paths, our living spaces will shrink and density shoots up.

v) The issue regarding low fertility rate requires a multi prong approach. We see a link between low fertility rate, low labour productivity and ineffective framework addressing workplace practices. Singaporeans work long hours at low productivity rate accomplishing tasks using much longer hours than other 1st world countries. This is an effect of business shunning away from productive practices as it involve capital investments opting for labour intensive processes supported by policies that leaves a running tap of low priced labour. Long hours rob Singaporeans of personal life to find a partner or having the capacity for more children. There are successful examples where low fertility rate has been reversed coupled with real measures supporting live work balance. Denmark reversed its low fertility rate in the 80s to an almost replacing TFR now at 1.93. Danish parents start work at 8am and leave for home by 4pm and yet they produce more at work than we do. Our new citizens show that subjected to our conditions do not reproduce as well. Has the government exhausted all resources before opting for mass immigration? Are we kicking the bucket down the road?