Help is not the solution for the needy?

Photo: Narin BI/CC BY 2.0Photo: Narin BI/CC BY 2.0

Are you not disgusted by comments that giving financial assistance to the needy may not be the solution to get them out of poverty?

I refer to the article “In the search for solutions to the class divide, a call for more financial help” (Channel NewsAsia, Oct 3).

It states that “Children from poor families should get early support from the government, and their access to resources should not be tied to their parents’ marital or work status. That is what the director of a family service centre has suggested as a way of bridging the class divide.”

We may arguably be – not stating and asking the obvious question?

Why do we continue to have procreation incentive policies that discriminate against lower-income families?

For example, a high-income mother can get as much as $80,000 procreation tax benefits, whereas a lower-income mother may get zero tax benefits.

Procreation benefits should be the same, regardless of income, like other countries.

As to “This arose during an exchange in the Channel NewsAsia documentary Regardless of Class, with host and chairman Janil Puthucheary remaining unconvinced that long-term government handouts are the solution. The question of what it would take to uplift poor families is one he “often grapples with” as a politician, he admitted. (Watch the documentary here.)

Methodist Welfare Services Covenant Family Service Centre (Hougang) director Cindy Ng-Tay, a social worker for decades, based her suggestion on her centre’s experience with families struggling to break out of intergenerational poverty” – similarly, we may not be stating or asking the obvious – most of the families that do not break out of poverty, may be due simply to the issue that the amount of financial assistance is insufficient and arguably, miserly.

Why not disclose the actual quantum of financial assistance and the formula used to pay needy families?

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.