Friday, February 14, 2014

Pioneer Generation Package: Raymond's letter to The Straits Times: Consider special package for those who missed out

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter was published on Friday 14th February 2014.

I am sure the 450,000 citizens aged 65 and older who will benefit from the Pioneer Generation Package will heave a sigh of relief (“PM Lee outlines health-care package for 450,000 pioneers”; Monday).

With rising health-care costs, citizens aged 55 to 64 who retired early also need to have peace of mind.  They have also contributed to nation building and worked with the first-generation leaders to help build Singapore’s vibrant economy.

There are several reasons why this particular group needs recognition and support.
First, some of them retired at 55 or 60 for health or family reasons, and not many are on the pensionable scheme and thus not covered by medical benefits for life.

Second, many of them have used most of their Central Provident Fund savings to buy property, which was not tightly controlled then.

Third, health-care costs have surged in recent years.  With modest Medisave funds and personal savings, many of these seniors are struggling to cope – not just with health-care costs but also daily living expenses.

Lastly, those within this age group have difficulty finding work due to age discrimination.

So I urge the Government to consider giving a special package to those aged 55 to 64, to mark Singapore’s 50th birthday next year.  It is a small gesture that will go a long way towards letting them know that the Government cares for their well-being.

Raymond Anthony Fernando


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