Khush Chopra, a local lawyer and advocate for change, featured a video on his Facebook page from Japanese broadcaster NHK world called “Singapore’s Other Side” which highlighted the problems of the country’s elderly needy, as well as what Tony Tay and his organization, Willing Hearts, were doing about it.
In connection to this, Mr Chopra posted at length concerning the problems of Singapore’s aging population, discussed the 300-400,000 elderly Singaporeans living in abject poverty. These citizens are hard-pressed to meet the most basic of needs, which include food, housing, medical care, and transport.
The lawyer shared sobering statistics about the nation’s elderly, such as
—the poverty rate among this demographic rose from 13 percent in 1995 to 41 percent in 2011
—in 2016 around 23 percent of those older than 65 in the formal workforce were earning less than S$1,000 monthly
Mr Chopra pointed out that “ordinary” Singaporeans simply don’t have enough to live on in their later years, and called for action to be taken. He claimed that the “entire system needs an overhaul,” since it may only benefit the wealthy, leaving others behind.
He also believes that “ symptomatic relief in terms of measures like raising cash payouts through existing schemes like for example Workfare Income Supplement ( WIS ) and Silver Support Scheme (SSS), a suitable unemployment insurance and protection system, affordable primary care and medication beyond the Pioneer and Merdeka packages, decent subsidised flats etc…” will not be enough to address people’s needs, while acknowledging that these are important measures that should be taken.
Mr. Chopra believes that what is necessary is a “total systemic overhaul in setting new priorities to achieve a better quality of life for all.”
He describes this overhaul this way, “We need a 360 degree revamp of the system to lower the cost of living, increase wages of the lower and middle income workers to ensure greater purchasing power parity and lower the cost of public housing to allow people to keep more of their money as savings or otherwise to invest into sustainable long term legacy assets ….to start with at least.”
The lawyer evidently believes that it is time for new leadership, and he urges such, through the power of the ballot. His post ends with this:
“We can debate how exactly this can be done but we must set these objectives soonest possible rather than appear to be concerned about these issues but pay lip service the way the PAP Government has done for years now leading to this terrible situation for so many.
What’s the point of a beautiful country if the people are poor?
People of Singapore unite”, he called.
Mr. Chopra’s post can be read in full here.
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