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SINGAPORE — Apart from the unpredictability of COVID-19, the cost of living is likely to be a "major pressure point" for many Singaporean households in 2022, said Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh in his New Year's Day message.
In a press release on Friday (31 December), Singh cited higher prices of many basic needs in the past year, including electricity prices, transport fares, A&E hospital charges and medical insurance premiums, among others. In addition, the prices of Build-To-Order flats remain high for younger Singaporeans, with resale flats out of reach for many.
Those in the low to middle-income group and those with both young children and aged parents to care for will be "most acutely" hit, he added.
"The Workers’ Party (WP) will track what the Government does to support Singaporeans who need the most help; and how it upgrades its legacy schemes for the circumstances of today and tomorrow, not yesterday."
The Leader of the Opposition (LO) noted that in his previous New Year's Day message, he had pledged that the WP would continue to build a moderate and fair party, to provide a trusted alternative to voters and act as a balancing force in Singapore's political system.
In this regard, WP Members of Parliament have since moved motions relating to HDB reform and wider access to HDB rental flats, a role for wealth taxes in the fiscal mix, how to better support hawkers, eliminate gender discrimination and protect the environment.
"We have also championed policy ideas that are now being actively considered or implemented by the government, such as anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, effective minimum wage laws and allowing the tudung to be worn in more public service settings," added the LO.
The 43-year-old also revealed that, in collaboration with the WP Community Fund, a new pilot subsidy scheme aimed at seniors who live alone and require handyman services will be launched in selected WP constituencies in 2022. The scheme will be progressively extended to all WP constituencies.
"The WP will remain steadfast and serve Singapore and Singaporeans by playing our part towards the creation of a fairer and more democratic society based on justice and equality," said Singh.
The Aljunied MP and his party's senior leaders have come under fire for their handling of the Raeesah Khan saga. Raeesah, who had resigned as Sengkang MP over her lies in Parliament, has insisted that Singh instructed her to maintain the deception about her supposed interactions with an alleged sexual assault victim. The WP has called her claims a "complete, utter fabrication".
The Committee of Privileges (COP), tasked with investigating Raeesah's lies in Parliament, has so far conducted more than 30 hours of hearings and released six interim reports. Singh, WP chair Sylvia Lim and party vice-chair Faisal Manap have appeared before the COP, with Singh himself questioned for more than nine hours.
The next sitting of Parliament will take place on 10 January.
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