Follow that rainbow aside, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore believes that making us pay for new NRICs does the trick.
Or in the words of an ICA spokesman:
“We believe that a system where the applicant pays a small sum is better: It brings a stronger sense of pride and ownership of the card.”
The ICA was responding to a letter by veteran journalist Bertha Henson, published by Today.
Ms Henson said that she will be reaching 55 soon – the age when it is mandatory to apply for a new NRIC – and baulks at the idea of paying for a NRIC.
“As a Singaporean who has never had to pay for her IC in her life, I was flabbergasted. For me, it’s not a question of affordability. It is about what this payment smacks of — a transaction to re-affirm your citizenship.”
Ms Henson added:
“I didn’t ask to have my IC changed and while any added security features are welcomed, I didn’t ask for them either. ICA said that the cost is subsidised for citizens, but my question is why a fee should even be levied for a replacement card. The State should underwrite the cost and not demand co-payment for something as fundamental to our citizenship as our precious pink IC.”
The ICA said it subsidises most of the cost of replacing a NRIC:
“The cost of replacing an NRIC is about S$60. Citizens pay S$10 and the balance of S$50 is subsidised. PRs pay a higher fee of S$50.”
And, it added that making Singaporeans pay a fee makes us feel more “pride and ownership” of our NRIC.
Currently, Singaporeans and PRs are required to register for their NRICs at age 15, and re-register at age 30 to update their photographs and identity information.
Since 1 January 2017, Singaporeans and PRS were made to re-register their NRIC at the age of 55.