Singapore— Workers’ Party Member of Parliament Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap (Aljunied GRC) called for better support for the country’s elderly and non-English speaking citizens and residents. He was speaking during the Committee of Supply 2021 debate on Monday (Mar 2)
He said he had been approached for help with online applications by constituents, some of whom have foreign spouses.
They needed help because they had no computers or even if they did, they told him they were “not savvy enough” to make online applications.
He cited statistics from 2019 from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) that 11 per cent of individuals are non-internet users and 11 per cent of households in Singapore are without computers, laptops, notebooks or tablets.
There are also cases where the language barrier is an issue, he said.
“The online application is only in English.”
The WP MP also said there are those who have sought assistance from the ICA (Immigration and Checkpoints Authority) but were told to ask for help from their relatives and friends instead, or to approach an immigration agent.
“I understand that an immigration agent charges a fee of $300 to $400, which is indeed a huge sum for a low-income group.”
He hoped that the ICA could come up with better support in these instances.
Mr Faisal Manap suggested that the ICA partner with the People’s Association to establish designated community centres, “maybe one in each region”.
These would provide facilities and support for Singaporeans who need help.
Mr Faisal Manap took the podium again later in the day, calling for an instalment payment for traffic fines. Workers’ Party chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh made the suggestion during the Committee of Supply debate last year.
People who have lower incomes may not be able to settle the fines in a single payment, Mr Faisal Manap said.
The MP mentioned the challenging financial situations of people receiving ComCare assistance. He asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to allow instalment payment for traffic fines, particularly for first-time offenders that belong to such groups.
Mr Faisal Manap asked the Government to consider such cases on compassionate grounds so as not to add to their financial problems.
Some have resorted to borrowing to pay their fines, he said.
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