Support have uplifted the majority of S’poreans: Really?


“We must first accurately take stock of where we are” in helping needy Singaporeans?

I refer to the Ministry for Social & Family Development’s reply “System not perfect but has uplifted life of majority” (Straits Times Forum, Jul 4) to Dr Ng Kok Hoe’s letter (Social workers also tackle structural conditions that lead to poverty; June 27).

It states that “Our system is not perfect. But as we strive to improve it, we must first accurately take stock of where we are.”

As to “Our policies and programmes in education, healthcare, housing, skills training, employment and social support have uplifted the majority of Singaporeans, while providing additional support for the low-income” – why do we have the lowest social welfare spending as a percentage of GDP among all developed countries?

With regard to “No child misses out on a quality education because they cannot afford it. Nine in 10 Singaporeans own their homes. Those buying smaller flats receive bigger subsidies” – what’s the point of such a high home ownership rate, when Singaporeans consume more than half of their CPF on HDB flats which typically starts to decline in value when the flat is over 40 years old, until they become worthless at the end of the typical 99-year lease?

With regard to “The Fresh Start scheme gives families in rental flats another shot at home-ownership” – why do the latest statistics say that only 30 families have been able to benefit under this scheme, when there are almost 60,000 HDB one and 2-room rental flats?

In respect of “Healthcare is heavily subsidised, especially for the low-income” – why is it that from a cashflow perspective – the Government may not be spending any money on healthcare, as the inflows exceed the outflows annually?.

As to “When public funds or charity dollars are spent, the Government and voluntary welfare organisations have a duty to ask relevant questions and impose suitable conditions.

The way questions are asked, and the sort of conditions imposed, should respect and uphold the dignity of those being helped” – why is it that “monies received and overall support rendered by friends” are also considered in giving financial assistance to needy disabled Singaporeans? (“ComCare: Friend’s help also counted?“, Jun 17)

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.