Chee: PAP copied SDP's policy
VIVIAN Balakrishnan should look at his own party's track record when he talks about policies of tax and spend, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan said yesterday.
On Tuesday, Dr Balakrishnan, the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, called SDP's policy prescriptions those that would put "Singapore on the road to Greece". Dr Chee is leading an SDP team to contest in the GRC.
Dr Balakrishnan also said that SDP had "copied" these policies from other parts of the world, where they had "already failed".
In a Facebook post yesterday evening, he said that "Dr Chee's ideas will lead Singapore on the path of much higher taxes, higher national debts for our children and put our national security at risk".
Speaking to reporters at a press conference at the SDP Ang Mo Kio headquarters yesterday morning, Dr Chee said: "The criticism from Dr Balakrishnan is reminiscent of the one he made in the 2011 General Election about our proposal to raise taxes for top earners, those in the top 1 per cent.
"In 2015, however, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that the Government would raise taxes for the top 5 per cent of earners. It seems that Mr Tharman did exactly what Dr Balakrishnan attacked the SDP for."
He cited the Government's progressive wage model - launched in 2012 - as another instance of the ruling party copying SDP, but in piecemeal.
"(They) call it by another name, but it's still the minimum wage for selected industries," said Dr Chee, adding that SDP's proposed minimum wage will be a universal one, whereas the Government's existing model targets cleaners and security guards.
Medical professor Paul Tambyah, Dr Chee's teammate, said at the press conference that "we're glad that (Dr Balakrishnan) has chosen to engage us on policy issues rather than gutter politics".
Dr Balakrishnan's teammate Sim Ann reminded the media on Tuesday that Dr Chee had "kicked" Chiam See Tong, his former mentor, out of SDP.
Dr Chee did not bring up the incident in his statement, but when asked by the media for his response, he said: "Mr Chiam's situation with me, we've resolved it. We invited him to our 35th anniversary dinner recently.
"Ms Sim Ann continues to want to dredge all these things up... to continue to distract voters from thinking about where (the PAP's) weaknesses are, and that is on policy.
"But Singaporeans just want the Government to address some of the points that affect their everyday lives, and they want some discussion, they want some debate on that, so that they can vote intelligently."