My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Wednesday 20th August 2014.
The Ministry of Health’s lapse in paying $64,000 in financial aid to 99 people even after they had died was blamed on data errors by the agent hired to administer the scheme (“Safeguards for aid payouts”; Aug 6).
One way to prevent such errors is for government agencies to work closely with one another and to use technology to enhance their systems.
For example, when a person dies, the Births and Deaths Unit, which comes under the ambit of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), will have to be notified. The ICA then alerts government agencies, including the Central Provident Fund Board, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and other related agencies through an interfacing IT program.
To raise productivity, we need to use technology to enhance systems, prevent wastage and slip-ups, and not cause too much inconvenience to the public.
Take, for instance, the numerous cards that are being given out.
Why do we need one card for the Community Health Assist Scheme and another for the Pioneer Generation Package? And for government pensioners, there is the Civil Service Card.
In the end, people go around carrying so many cards.
One should only have to fill in the required forms, send to the relevant agencies, and have the data stored in just one card – the identity card.
Cost savings can then be channelled for social projects to support needy Singaporeans.
Raymond Anthony Fernando