Thursday, July 03, 2008

No Singaporean should have to beg: MCYS

Straits Times Forum, 2 July 2008
No S'porean should have to beg: MCYS

I REFER to last Thursday's letter by Mr Tan Say Joon, in which he said he had been approached by Singaporeans begging in order to eke out a living. He urged the authorities to do more for individuals who cannot look after themselves and their families, no matter how hard they try.

Singaporeans in financial distress do not have to beg. Help is available to them, including with their medical bills. Needy Singaporeans can approach their community development council, family service centre or grassroots leaders. If they do not know where to go, they can call the ComCare Call Service on 1800-222-000, which will link them up with the right agencies.

Members of the public can call the ComCare Call Service to report cases of begging so the ministry can assess and help those in genuine financial distress apply to appropriate agencies for financial, employment and other assistance. This is the best way to help these needy people.

We wish to thank Mr Tay for his feedback.

Jason Wong
Rehabilitation, Protection and Residential Services
Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports

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I would really like to believe what this person from MCYS says each time I see those old folks digging their arms into rubbish bins to hunt for an empty drink can, or selling tissues in the streets, which so many are doing.

Even if the poor does get help, how much will they really get? Would it really be enough? What are the conditions and the red tape involved?

As it is, getting the $300 "free money" of growth dividends from the CPF is so hard for the old folks already (see letter below), what more having to prove one's needy circumstances to the authorities?
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Straits Times Forum, 3 July 2008
Why make it so hard?

MY GRANDMOTHER, Madam Lim Hong, received a letter dated April 29 from the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board which contained a cheque for growth dividends in the amount of $300.

The validity of the cheque is 90 days for encashment with any OCBC branch office. The last day is stated as July 28, both on the cheque and the payment advice.

My grandmother is now 99 years old, bedridden and staying in a nursing home. I have two affidavits from the management that she has appointed me to handle her private matters. Armed with the cheque, the two affidavits and her IC, I went to one of the OCBC branch offices.

The officer told me that the bank was willing to encash the cheque but could not do so after checking with the CPF Board.

They made the phone call from their back office while I was waiting at the counter.

It seems that I had to visit the CPF office personally to get an authorisation from them in order that the cheque could be encashed.

I had already spent two hours on this matter. If I were to visit the CPF office and then OCBC again, I would have to spend at least another three hours on such a trivial matter.

With much regret, I am returning the original cheque with copies of the two affidavits and a copy of my grandmother's IC.

While I appreciate the kind gesture from the CPF Board on rewarding our senior citizens who have indeed built up this country, I cannot help feeling disappointed at the way the board is handling the administration of this matter.

On behalf of my grandmother, I thank the board for recognising the generation of solid citizens who have played a vital role in making Singapore what it is today.

Juliet Hasselblad (Ms)


Chinky said...

Got this from

This is an excerpt of the parliamentary debate between PAP MP Dr Lily Neo and Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on the issue of public assistance.

Dr Lily Neo:

Sir, I want to check with the Minister again when he said on the strict criteria on the entitlement for PA recipients. May I ask him what is his definition of “subsistence living”? Am I correct to say that, out of $260 per month for PA recipients, $100 goes to rental, power supply and S&C and leaving them with only $5 a day to live on? Am I correct to say that any basic meal in any hawker centre is already $2.50 to $3.00 per meal? Therefore, is it too much to ask for just three meals a day as an entitlement for the PA recipients?

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan:

How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?

Highlighted on theonlinecitizen.

Chinky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chinky said...

Perhaps our dear minister needs to live in a one-room rental flat on $330 a month and then find out why Singaporeans are still begging!

Anonymous said...

And of course we will always remember VB as the "sar mao der ren" ("the cat killer") so do you think a person who can sleep at night with the blood of countless cats can have a kind heart!?

auntie p said...

Sad, sad...

Thinking about karma...