SINGAPORE: In a recent Facebook post, Associate Professor Jamus Lim, a Workers’ Party member of parliament for Sengkang GRC, sheds light on the challenges experienced by elderly residents in the Anchorvale area. These insights were gathered during his house visit conducted over the past few weeks within his constituency.
Assoc Prof Lim highlighted that one of the concerns brought up by residents focuses on the challenges faced by the elderly in Singapore’s ageing society. These challenges extend beyond just adapting to new infrastructural changes; they also involve ensuring that the infrastructure caters to the needs of the seniors.
Additionally, he underscored the importance of the government being mindful of the financial constraints faced by the elderly population, especially given that they are growing old in one of the most expensive cities globally.
“I had previously made the case—in several speeches pertaining to the GST hike—that any additional tax revenue raised as a result of higher inflation (because higher prices would automatically mean a larger tax take in nominal terms) should naturally be rebated back to the people,” said MP Lim.
The Sengkang GRC member of parliament mentioned that he is gratified now that this has been realized, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent announcement of the Majulah generation package during the 2023 National Day Rally, which will be seeded with fiscal surpluses.
“This package is the least we can offer to this sandwich generation, but it is surely insufficient; at best, it helps to make up for the effects of inflation, which still leaves them with the same (often limited) purchasing power,” explained the former chief economist at an investment management and wealth advisory firm.
The $7 billion Majulah Package, aimed at supporting Singaporeans born in 1973 or earlier, was announced earlier this month. This initiative is set to benefit an estimated 1.4 million senior citizens. Under this package, lower and middle-income workers will receive an annual CPF bonus of up to $1,000.
However, this benefit will only apply to those employed full-time or part-time. Additionally, individuals whose CPF balances have not yet reached the basic retirement sum will receive a one-time top-up of up to $1,500, irrespective of their employment status.
In an effort to alleviate the burden of healthcare costs, the Majulah Package will also provide a one-time Medisave bonus of up to $1,000 for eligible Singaporeans. Overall, the Majulah Package aims to provide much-needed financial support and assistance to the elderly population in Singapore.
MP Lim also had a conversation with a concerned resident who raised an issue that may appear inconsequential but holds significant importance for seniors, given Singapore’s escalating cost of living.
“One resident shared about how the plastic bag charge—while small and may help shift attitudes toward conservation—was nevertheless yet another little thing adding to rising expenses, especially since many stores (not just the larger merchants) have gone ahead and added such a fee,” shared the parliamentarian.
“Anecdotally, there have even been charges of as much as fifty cents, and not just for plastic bags but many other containers. These all eat away at the already-meager savings of retirees, especially when CPF interest rates have fallen far behind the pace of inflation. The Workers’ Party will continue to highlight the difficulties of rising costs of living we all face.”