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Kopi Politics


The PAP’s Dr Lily Neo says the PAP is doing a good job planning ahead to do what’s right for Singaporeans, and that it’s not the PAP’s style to go for the popular vote. This is a recent interview which the MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC gave to the Straits Times, where she talks more about the implications of the Pioneer Generation Package.

How are the elderly residents in your ward? (A quarter of those in Chinatown and Kim Seng are 65 and older – over double the national average.)

Senior Activity Centres look after a few hundred elderly residents every day (with) well-balanced food and activities to keep them mentally and socially active. We make sure they’re happy and, hopefully, free from depression.

We introduce new programmes almost every year – making sure those in rental homes have proper gas stoves, yearly flu vaccinations; we provide walking sticks, wheelchairs and hearing aids, bring them to hospital.

I’m starting a new programme. Those in rental flats with no family members have difficulty taking care of themselves. We’re going to pair them up with more able elderly to help them age more gracefully at home. Otherwise, they deteriorate very fast. If they have a fall and we don’t bring them for early treatment, it’ll be dangerous. If they don’t have proper nutrition, once they get sick, they can’t cook, or go out and buy food. That’s a vicious circle.

In 2007, you lobbied for more public assistance allowance. Is the pioneer generation package enough to help them? Is the Government making a big shift?

We’re targeting more for the elderly poor. Public assistance subsidy has been going up from $200 to $400-plus (for a single person household) since the time I fought for it. The Ministry of Social and Family Development is more active now. […] The Government is not only concentrating on the future and children, but also on our past and the elderly.

I think (the shift) is firstly, because of the income gap and an ageing society. It’s no more a small group that can be taken care of by voluntary welfare organisations. Somebody has to come in, in a big way, to look after them. Secondly, we have leaders with heart. Thirdly, we can afford it.

Isn’t the shift also political?

You have to do well in governing and take care of the population, then winning elections will be the result. I don’t think it’s PAP Government style to go for popular votes. It’s always to do the right thing, make the right policies, take care of the people who voted for you.

It’s not PAP style to spend all the money just to win elections. This PAP Government is always responsible.

By giving this (package), we’re taking care of the next generation as well. We’re thinking of the long term, by spending more when we can afford it. This is the priority for the rest of the 20, 30 or 40 years because if you don’t start now, you won’t be able to sustain it in the future. Now we’ve 1,000 people above 100 years old, and 10,000 over 90 years old. This is going to balloon.

So, this Government is very far-sighted.

This article is courtesy of the People’s Action Party. The full article can be found here.

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