Singaporeans First

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Singaporeans First

国人为先
Guórén Wéi Xiān
Warga Diutamakan
சிங்கப்பூரர்களுக்கு முன்னுரிமை
Secretary-GeneralTan Jee Say
Founded25 May 2014 (25 May 2014)
HeadquartersCashew
IdeologyCentrism
Political positionCentre
ColoursRed & blue
Parliament
0 / 101
Website
singfirst.org

Singaporeans First (SingFirst) is a political party of Singapore. It is one of the younger political parties, having being founded by former Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Tan Jee Say on 25 May 2014,[1], and the party was registered on 19 August.[2]

History and political development[edit]

In 2011, Tan Jee Say, a former civil servant, was well known on his contests in both the general and presidential elections held that year, despite being endorsed by the opposition parties while defeated on both occasions. Tan stood under the SDP banner under the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC (led by then-Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, now as Foreign Minister), where the team attained their party's best result for the election.[3]

After the party was founded, Tan used a stylized adaptation of the simple heart logo, a similar logo when Tan campaigned during his presidential election. Tan also led his 10-member Central Executive Committee, which members also include another SDP candidate Ang Yong Guan.

On 22 March 2015 (one day prior to the death of founding Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew), SingFirst unveiled a new 12-member Central Executive Committee (CEC) with five new faces at its inaugural dinner. Three members part of the former 10-member CEC (education company director and previously the assistant secretary-general Loke Pak Hoe, architect and previously assistant treasurer, Fatimah Akhthar, and communications professional Fahmi Rais), stepped down. Later that year, the party participated in their first general election, where they contest Jurong GRC and Tanjong Pagar GRC; for the latter, the GRC helmed by the late Lee and Minister of the Prime Minister Office Chan Chun Sing (now as a Trade & Industry Minister) was their first contest overall, having being previously uncontested in every election since the GRC was formed in 1991. However, the final results met the party's disastrous performance where the PAP defeated the SingFirst team by large margins, at 79.28%-20.72% and 77.71%-22.29%, respectively; for the former, the PAP team helmed by the Deputy Prime and then-Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was the party's best-performing result for the election. Their party's combined vote share was 21.49%, or 2.25% of the overall popular vote, which was 50,791 valid votes.[4]

Being a new political party, SingFirst lacked defined branding and this made its performance dip.[speculation?] On July 2018, the party was among the seven other opposition parties (Reform Party, Singapore Democratic Party, People's Power Party, Democratic Progressive Party, National Solidarity Party (NSP) and People's Voice Party (PVP), the latter formed by former NSP chief Lim Tean), in a meeting led by former People's Action Party (PAP) member Tan Cheng Bock, on a possibility of forming a coalition for the next election.[5]

Objectives and policies[edit]

SingFirst aims to abolish the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and increase social spending.

In its manifesto for the 2015 election, the party states it will:

  • Restructure the economy by making it much less dependent on cheap low-skilled foreign labour as it depresses wage levels, lowers overall productivity, sustains low-skill industries and adds to over-crowding. It will review the need to give very favourable foreign-worker quotas to certain industries that are highly dependent on foreign workers since this special treatment is unfair to other industries and distorts manpower policies. For example, shipyards employ 100,000 foreign workers out of a total workforce of 120,000.
  • Place high priority on developing local enterprises, for example, small and medium enterprises into major regional or global firms. Grants for development capital will be provided to help them strike out into new areas especially in the high-tech industry. The party has identified two sectors that are sustainable over the long term: education and healthcare. SMEs can develop their expertise in these areas. The party intends to deal with rising rental costs that have affected these businesses.
  • Encourage priority to the employment of Singaporeans across all sectors but particularly at PMET and senior management levels. Foreigners should only be hired where specialist skills are missing in Singaporeans. Government-linked companies should start the trend by enrolling more Singaporeans in the executive and management positions.
  • Review policies that put Singaporeans at a disadvantage compared to foreign personnel working in Singapore. On the national-service obligation of Singaporean men, the party will review the two-year national-service period in light of technological progress and new organisational methods and training, so the military training period can be shortened meaningfully.

Tan Jee Say said in a televised forum on 1 September that his party did not want the government to issue S Passes to foreigners.[6] Amongst the passes that the Ministry of Manpower (Singapore) issues, the S Pass allows mid-level skilled personnel to work in Singapore. Applicants need to earn at least S$2,200 a month and have the relevant qualifications and work experience.[7]

Organization and structure[edit]

Central Executive Council[edit]

As of 22 March 2015, the 12-member CEC consist of:

  • Chairman: Ang Yong Guan
  • Vice-Chairman: Tan Peng Ann (resigned since GE2015)
  • Secretary-General: Tan Jee Say
  • Assistant Secretary-General: Winston Lim
  • Treasurer: David Foo Ming Jin
  • Other Members:
    • Michael Chia
    • David Tan
    • Mohamed Randy Ashmooni
    • Leow Pei Shan (resigned since July 2015)
    • Sukhdev Singh Gill
    • Patrick Heng
    • Wong Chee Wai

Leadership[edit]

The party is led by Tan Jee Say, the party's secretary-general. He is a scholar, former civil servant, former presidential candidate and an Oxford alumni.

Electoral performance[edit]

Election Seats up for election Seats contested by party Seats won by walkover Contested seats won Contested seats lost Total seats won Change Total votes Share of votes Popular vote Resulting Government
2015 89 10 0 0 10
0 / 89
Steady 50,791 21.49% 2.25% No seats

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spykerman, Kimberly (25 May 2014). "Tan Jee Say launches new political party". Channel NewsAsia. Singapore. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Breaking News: SINGAPOREANS FIRST has been successfully registered as a society by the Registry of Societies". Archived from the original on 2014-09-10.
  3. ^ "Singaporeans First unveils CEC".
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-13. Retrieved 2015-09-14.
  5. ^ https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/seven-opposition-parties-discuss-forming-a-new-coalition-invite-former-pap-mp-tan-cheng
  6. ^ Mediacorp Channel 5, Political forum GE2015, 8 pm, 1 September 2015
  7. ^ [1] Ministry of Manpower website

External links[edit]