More light on social assistance figures needed

Dec 26, 2011
I refer to the report “More calls to ComCare hotline” (Dec 16), on the spike in calls for social services over the past threeyears, from 7 per cent of calls in 2008 to 20 per cent last year.

This seems odd, if viewed with the recent survey findings that six in 10 low-income families choose to manage withoutoutside help.

If the share of calls for social services increases by about three times and the total number of calls is rising, how is it that most prefer not to seek help from family, friends, charities or the Government?

Also, why are there fewer families – about 20,300 as of end-March, or one-tenth of the bottom fifth on the income ladder – getting help under the various Community Care Endowment Fund schemes than a year earlier?

The Community Development Councils are handling more ComCare applications, for instance, up some 3,000 from the previous three months to 16,558 between September and last month, suggesting that the number so far this year is about 50,000 (it was 55,600 last year).

What is the approval rate? It was 71 per cent last year and would be lower now if the latest statistic on the number of families getting help still holds.

Letter from Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.