Public Assistance up ‘miserly’ $18 p.a. last 15 years?


Are we ‘miserly’ in helping destitute Singaporeans?

I refer to the article “Public assistance payouts may increase” (Straits Times, Oct 29).

It states that “From July 2016, a one-person household on the scheme received $500 monthly, up from $450. And a two-person household received $870, up from $790.

In the MSF’s 2017 financial year, which ended in March, there were 4,409 households on the scheme, up 24 per cent from the 3,568 families in 2013. Most of those on public assistance are poorly educated, elderly singles who live alone.”

As far as I can find by googling Рthe amount was increased from $230 (in around 2002 or earlier), $260 in 2003, to $290 (2007 or earlier), to $330 in 2008, to $360 in 2009, from $400 to $450 in 2013, and to $500 in 2016.

So, does this mean that the amount only increased by about $270 ($500 – $230) in the last 15 years or so (estimate)?

If so, does it mean that the average increase per year was only about $18 per year ($500 – $230 divided by 15 years), before adjusting for inflation?

As Prof Tommy Koh said is his dialogue with the DPM (aired on Channel NewsAsia on 28 October) that Singapore is among the five richest countries in the world by per capita income – don’t you think we should be ashamed of our miserly public assistance to destitute Singaporeans?

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.