~by: Leong Sze Hian~
I refer to the Enabling Masterplan 2012-2016: Maximising Potential, Embracing Differences (for persons with disabilities).
Yet another 5-year plan?
It states that ”In 2006, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) embarked on the inaugural Enabling Masterplan 2007-2011 to chart the development of programmes and services in the disability sector for a period of five years. The current Enabling Masterplan 2007-2011 has guided the sector to make much progress over the last five years”.
Statistics on the disabled
Let’s see what has been achieved in the last five years, now that the second 2012-2016 Enabling Masterplan has been published.
“Approximately 3 percent of the resident population have some form of disability” – about 97,200 Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs).
90% earn less than $200?
“only 10 percent of the trainees in the sheltered workshop programme are earning more than $200 per month” – this means that about 90% are earning less than $200 a month?
“Based on the income profile of persons with disabilities in sheltered workshops in FY2009 and FY2010, the majority of persons with disabilities earn an average monthly allowance of $0 to $100”
In how many developed countries do persons with disabiity draw such meagre income? How many persons with disability (PWD) are employed by Government agencies in Singapore?
I understand that in countries like Malaysia, the Government gives a monthly allowance of RM1,050 (S$437) to disabled workers. As of 2008, there were 220,000 PID and hardcore poor people registered with the Malaysian Community Welfare Department (MCWD).
Only 1 in 5 graduate with job?
“As a result of vocational education and partnership with employers, 21% of students from special schools are graduating with a job in 2010 as compared to 3% in 2008” – this means that only 1 in 5 are graduating with a job.
Low placement rate?
The table on Post-SPED placements indicates that for the three years from 2008 to 2010, only a total of 732 were placed in employment.
For example, in 2010, only 60 or 24.8% were placed in Open Employment.
Can’t use Medisave?
“In order to help alleviate the financial burden of families, the Committee recommends that the Medisave framework be broadened to encompass some essential early intervention support services” – why can’t the PWD or their caregivrers’ Medisave be used with more flexibility?
The committee is also recommending that Medishield cover be given to PWD. I understand that in the past, tens of thousands may have been denied cover because of their disability.
As there any developed countries in the world, which deny coverage to PWD in their national health insurance schemes?
Concessionary transport fares?
The committee is also recommending that concessionary public transport fares be given to PWD. I understand that the community of PWD has been asking practically every year for concessionary fares, but to no avail.
If the 2012 Budget can spend $1.1 billion to have more buses to help the transport operators which are private companies, why can’t we spend a single cent to give concessionary fares to PWD?
How many developed countries in the world do not have concessionary transport fares for PWD, like Singapore? Even Malaysia has concessionary fares for the disabled.
Government vs private spending?
How much money will the Governement spend to help PWD in a year, relative to the spending by the Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) and philantrophic sectors?
PWD should be able to participate fully in social life, development and equality. And equality for PWD can only be attained when there is parity with opportunities for those of the entire population.
Parity in this sense should not be static and lag behind as the coutry develops, but one that is fostered and dynamic as our nations progresses.
PWD should not have to wait for 5-year plans to enjoy these parity and hence equality.