While most Singaporeans enjoy more opportunities to build better lives for themselves and their families, many feel more anxieties and uncertainties about the future. To address their worries and give all Singaporeans greater peace of mind, the government will strengthen our social safety nets. Our philosophy is upstream prevention, providing more for those with less and sharing the risks of life’s uncertainties so that no one has to deal with his problems alone. Underlying this is the spirit of a caring society, where we care for one another and share the fruits of progress with all.
We recognise that older Singaporeans are concerned over their retirement income and eldercare options. The government will do more to help the vulnerable and elderly. The Pioneer Generation Package will honour this special group through extra support for their healthcare needs. We will also improve the healthcare system for all Singaporeans. By 2020, we will build 6 new polyclinics and add over 11,000 beds in our acute hospitals, community hospitals and nursing homes. We will keep healthcare affordable, through government subsidies, Medisave and the new Medishield Life, which will be implemented by the end of next year.
The Retirement and Re-employment Act (RRA) has enabled Singaporeans to continue working longer. Together with unions and the corporate sector, we will study the experience with the RRA, with a view to further extending the re-employment age beyond 65.
We will review and enhance financing schemes to help with the cost of severe old-age disability and long-term care. We will enhance the current system of CPF savings and the CPF Life annuity scheme, to enable Singaporeans to be better provided for in retirement, and to give them peace of mind.
The government will work with our tripartite partners to do more for the lower-income and disadvantaged groups. We will roll out the Progressive Wage Model in relevant sectors, and put in place career progression pathways for our workers to upgrade themselves and gain better wages. This will complement existing schemes like the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) and the Special Employment Credit (SEC), and make older, low-wage workers more employable. We will also build a more integrated network of social service agencies to help individuals and families walk through the difficult times together.
The community and family play a critical role in realising a caring society. We will continue to reinforce the central role of the family in our society and help young people start their families. We will have more programmes to promote family life and strengthen marriages, and more eldercare and childcare services to support caregivers. We will support community initiatives so that all who wish to contribute to the community can do so in sustained and impactful ways. Together, we will build a nation with a giving spirit and foster a more caring society.
The details of specific initiatives by MCI, MCCY, MOF, MOH, MinLaw, MOM, MND, MSF and MOT are highlighted in the Annex.
MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION
- Establish a Digital Inclusion Fund to ensure that as many Singaporeans as possible can access e-government services and enjoy infocomm and media. The Fund will be used to support two main programmes:
- Home-Access – to raise adoption of internet access for low-income households.
- Social Innovation – to support development of innovation projects to help voluntary welfare organisations manage the well-being of their beneficiaries.
- Introduce subtitling requirement for free-to-air content to provide greater access for Singaporeans, particularly the deaf and the elderly who are hard of hearing. Progressively, MCI is working towards subtitling all TV broadcasts.
MINISTRY OF CULTURE, COMMUNITY AND YOUTH
- Continue to promote a nationwide spirit of giving through:
- Working with partners in the community including the Community Development Councils, the Charity Council and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre;
- Encouraging businesses to step forward as partners in meeting the needs of the community; and
- Providing platforms for lifelong community service, including for our silver volunteers.
- Expand opportunities for our youths to contribute to the community in sustained and impactful ways, especially through the newly established Youth Corps Singapore. MCCY and the National Youth Council will work together to coordinate and lead this youth engagement effort throughout Singapore.
- Promote good neighbourliness through a multi-agency initiative, and to ensure better frontline responses in managing disputes between neighbours.
- Promote harmonious community relationships with various partners such as the Singapore Kindness Movement and the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
- Honour our pioneers and give them peace of mind on their healthcare needs through the Pioneer Generation Package.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
- Continue to add more healthcare facilities in primary care, acute care and intermediate and long-term care (ILTC) settings. We will add over 11,000 acute hospital, community hospital and nursing home beds from 2014 to 2020. Another six new polyclinics are planned to be built by end-2020.
- Develop a variety of health and aged care facilities and services within the community. We will expand community-based services, such as the network of Senior Care Centres, and introduce measures to raise care standards and provide more support to caregivers. At the same time, MOH will help to create an environment that sees ageing as an opportunity and encourages our seniors to remain physically, economically and socially active.
- Create an integrated and patient-centric healthcare system, the Regional Health Systems, to keep Singaporeans healthy and deliver better patient care.
- Step up efforts to recruit and retain healthcare workers, and create more opportunities for their professional development and career progression.
- Reform our healthcare financing framework to keep healthcare affordable for all Singaporeans. Implementation of MediShield Life in end-2015 will provide lifelong, universal coverage for all Singaporeans. Premiums will be kept affordable.
MINISTRY OF LAW
- Provide direct assistance to defendants of limited means in criminal cases through increased funding to the Law Society’s Pro Bono Services Office to run its Criminal Legal Aid Scheme.
MINISTRY OF MANPOWER
- Enhance support for training, job upgrading and career progression for low-income and vulnerable Singaporeans such as through the Workfare Training Support Scheme and the provision of career progression pathways through the roll-out of the Progressive Wage Model in relevant sectors.
- Step up enforcement and promotion efforts to protect low-wage workers’ basic employment rights, CPF contributions and well-being.
- Consider further extension of the re-employment age beyond 65; continue with efforts to help older workers stay productive and employable.
- Continue to review and make improvements to the CPF system in consultation with tripartite partners, so that Singaporeans can retire with peace of mind.
MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
- Extend more help to low-income and vulnerable Singaporeans so they can level-up and own a HDB flat. This way, they can also have the security of a home and an asset.
MINISTRY OF SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT
- Strengthen our service and legal frameworks to better protect and care for our growing elderly population and Singaporeans with specials needs, as well as intervene early in cases of abuse and neglect.
- Complete the network of 20 Social Service Offices by end-2015 to bring social assistance closer to residents. Develop and roll out Social Service Net, an integrated information sharing and case management system to provide more timely and seamless assistance, and facilitate long-term planning.
- Increase support and funding for professionals and organizations in the social services sector. This includes stepping up efforts to groom the next generation of social service leaders, as well as to improve the voluntary welfare organisations’ human resource and volunteer management. At the same time, MSF will promote the wider use of technology to improve productivity and service delivery in this sector.
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT
- Continue to improve accessibility for the elderly and less mobile, with more barrier-free routes to our MRT stations and bus interchanges. This includes building more lifts at overhead bridges and expanding the Green Man Plus scheme which allows the elderly and the disabled to use their concession cards to get more green man time to cross the road. With these measures, the elderly and less mobile will enjoy a smoother commute via public transport.