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Budget 2019: Hefty Merdeka Generation Package Enough to Sway Sentiments?

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Just as it was announced in greater detail by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat during his Budget speech this evening, the hefty Merdeka Generation Package is already causing some positive rumblings among eligible Singaporeans.

In a nutshell, a total of S$6.1 billion will be set aside for a new Merdeka Generation Fund, which will go towards helping them pay for medical treatment.

The highlights of the package:

-MediSave top-up of S$200 every year for 5 years until 2023

-Subsidies for MediShield Life premiums, which will start from 5 percent and increase to 10 percent after seniors hit the age of 75

-Special Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) subsidies will be available for package recipients, geared towards common illnesses, chronic conditions and dental procedures.

-An additional 25 percent off subsidised bills at polyclinics and public specialist outpatient clinics.

-A total of S$4000 in incentives for joining CareShield Life

-A one-time S$100 top-up to their PAssion Silver cards, which can be used to pay for public transport and activities at community clubs and other public facilities

Those eligible to receive the MGP benefits include:

– Those born in the 1950s
– Those born in 1949 or earlier but who missed out on the Pioneer Generation Package

All beneficiaries must have obtained their citizenship by 1996.

Seniors appear happy to welcome the goodies bestowed by the government, with the clinic subsidies and MediSave top-ups resonating most with them.

The other well-received sweetener from the MGP is the S$100 PAssion Silver card top-up as it helps pay for public transport fares.

Despite the warm reception from some factions of seniors, the MGP has also been met with criticism.

Some like Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam, an economist graduate from Cambridge University, has labelled the MGP as “false spending” by the government.

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