The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) recently published a video wherein SDP leader Chee Soon Juan called out the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) for its neglect of an extremely vulnerable sector of the Singapore population–the elderly poor.
The SDP on Wednesday (May 14) uploaded a YouTube video addressing the nation’s neglect of its elderly–most of whom are retirees, living off of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings and whatever additional funds their working children are able to give them. Mr Chee cited a straitstimes.com article published in May 2019, which revealed just how much money a single elderly person needs per month in order to meet the basic standard of living in Singapore.
“Researchers have conducted a survey and found that a retiree needs about $1,300 to $1,400 a month to meet basic living conditions,” said Mr Chee, before discussing the inadequacy of the Government’s monthly S$200 to S$300 CPF provision for elderly Singaporeans. “How is this enough? Why are things so bad for elderly Singaporeans and retirees?” he asked.
Given this, Mr Chee painted a picture of what life in Singapore is really like for the elderly. “The elderly have no choice but to go and work,” he said. “Even when you are weak and frail, you have no choice but to clean tables, sweep the floor, wash toilets…some have to work until they die…This is why the SDP wants the government to start taking care of our elderly.”
Mr Chee then connected the problem to the PAP’s policies, saying, “(T)he little that you have in the your CPF, the PAP withholds it and gives you back a little at a time until you are 90 or even 95…The PAP says that it gives the Merdeka and Pioneer Generation packages. But you must know that most of these funds comes in the form of Medisave top-ups,” he explained.
Mr Chee also discussed how much the Covid-19 pandemic has and will affect the economy moving forward. “When this virus is over, the economy is not going to be easy,” he warned. “How are the elderly going to get by and survive?” He also urged the elderly to consider the implications of the economic environment on their working children, which will make it harder for them to earn enough to provide for their parents on top of their own families. Given this, Mr Chee put forth his party’s proposal of the Retirement Income Scheme for the Elderly (RISE). “The SDP proposes that over and above the Merdeka and Pioneer Generation packages, the government needs to provide $500 a month for retirees for living expenses.”
Netizens flocked to Facebook, where they voiced out their opinions on matters concerning the elderly in Singapore.