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GE 2011, Local News Media

{Video} Healing With Care: SDP’s shadow health plan

Tonight’s Singapore Democratic Party rally will be held at Woodlands Stadium at 7pm (Nearest MRT station: Woodlands).

You can help by telling your family, friends and neighbours about the SDP. This is important not only in the run-up to polling day on May 7th but especially on ‘cooling-off day’ on May  6th when campaigning isn’t allowed. Of course the local media, being the campaigning arm of the PAP, will make sure ‘cooling-off day’ doesn’t apply to the ruling party because it’ll ‘just be news’. 🙄

SDP photo of last night's rally in Bukit Panjang. The turnout was huge even with the heavy downpour. There's a big photo in today's Straits Times. No, not of the SDP rally or of any other opposition party rallies but the PAP's lunch time rally at Boat Quay. As I menioned yesterday in another SDP rally photo, if you do see photos like this one in the papers it's probably 'cos the editors were snorting cocaine or something. But when it comes to photos of the PAP and its candidates, the editors do it with a clear head because the local media is the campaigning arm of the ruling party. And this will surely continue on 6th May which is 'Cooling-off Day' when no campaigning is allowed.

Dr James Gomez of SDP’s Sembawang GRC team spoke about the party’s shadow health plan called Healing With Care during last night’s rally in Bukit Panjang. On April 30th, Dr Gomez also unveiled the SDP’s Peoples’ Plan for Sembawang GRC.

This is another feature of the PAP’s campaigning arm, the local media. Here’s a Straits Times report on SDP’s shadow health plan. Notice the photo accompanying the report. When there are (sudden) 5yr PAP plans during campaigning, without fail photos of PAP candidate(s) announcing the plans will accompany the reports. But this report has a photo of SDP’s candidate for Yuhua SMC and not Dr Gomez’s. Even the photo of Teo Soh Lung is a slipshod one because it’s taken from the side, you can’t see her face clearly and the report doesn’t even have a single quote from her!

Another feature of the campaigning arm of the PAP is dirty tricks under the guise of journalism by The New Paper (TNP). Read SDP’s statement here, Rachel’s posts here and here and Kirsten’s post here. Peaceful protests are part of our democratic rights as citizens. Having said that, Dr Chee Soon Juan did not attempt to lead any march as reported by TNP’s gutter journalists. TNP implied a protest march took place. It’s bloody sickening and we shouldn’t let these TNP clowns get away with it!

SDP unveils plan to triple current levels of health-care funding
By Tessa Wong & Esther Teo, Straits Times, 4 May 2011

Master of ceremonies Bentley Tan holding an umbrella for Ms Teo Soh Lung, SDP candidate for Yuhua SMC, as she spoke at the rally last night. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

TRIPLE the current funding of the Health Ministry, and consider building healthcare facilities in Housing Board estate void decks to ease the strain on the healthcare system.

These were some of the key recommendations of the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) ‘shadow health plan’, unveiled yesterday at its Bukit Panjang rally.

Entitled ‘Healing With Care’, the plan was launched by Dr James Gomez, a member of the SDP’s Sembawang GRC team that is going up against an incumbent team from the People’s Action Party (PAP) helmed by Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

The plan criticises the PAP government’s health-care system, saying it is ‘profit motivated’ and ineffective in meeting rising health-care costs. The result is that the bulk of the cost is financed out of Singaporeans’ pockets, said the party.

The SDP also takes issue with the cost of staying in the nation’s cheapest ‘C-class’ hospital wards, which it says has almost doubled in the past few years as a result of non-subsidised items that are not covered by CPF-approved medical insurance.

The SDP also said that Medisave is inadequate in the long term, pointing out that half of CPF members’ Medisave withdrawals in 2009 were for the medical expenses of someone else who was a dependent.

Medishield, the insurance scheme, covers too few illnesses and has too many restrictions, the party added. And the amount dispersed under Medifund for needy patients has only gone up by the extent of increased medical costs, not because the Government is more generous.

Proposing its own health-care plan, the SDP says it wants to triple the Government’s health-care expenditure from the current $4.08 billion in 2011 to at least $10 billion, and create facilities in void decks to treat acute and chronic illnesses.

It also suggests hiring more health-care personnel and encouraging more general practitioners and senior consultants in private practice to perform sessional work in public hospitals.

Finally, it is proposing looking into some form of universal health-care coverage or insurance to be jointly managed by the Government and appointed national insurers.

Asked if the increase in medical staff may mean even more foreigners here, Dr Gomez told The Straits Times that the party would develop its plan in line with other policies such as that on immigration.

‘That will be something that has to be investigated in a complementary way. Right now this is a policy position, everything will eventually have to be discussed in an integrated manner,’ he said, adding that they could look into providing more education for locals to get into nursing and medicine.

The rally also saw some SDP candidates assuaging fears about voting for the opposition.

Mr Tan Jee Say, who is contesting Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, said votes are secret and the serial numbers on voting slips are not for the Government to track voters.

‘You think people will stop teaching your children? Will the firemen stop fighting fires? Will your lights be switched off?’ he asked, as rallygoers cried ‘No!’ in response.

Mr Tan’s teammates, Ms Michelle Lee and Dr Vincent Wijeysingha, also assured Bukit Panjang residents that their four-man team would work together with the SDP’s Bukit Panjang candidate Mr Alec Tok in serving residents.

‘Whether you have been sent a card that says you are in Bukit Panjang SMC or Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, we the SDP present to you a united team, a team that will address the needs and issues of all the residents here,’ said Ms Lee.

Mr Tok’s address in Mandarin touched on both national issues such as political talent in the opposition, as well as local concerns like the lack of an MRT station and polyclinic in the constituency.

He said residents presently have to go to the neighbouring Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic.

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