At the recently unveiled budget for the year 2020, the Government announced a slew of measures that not only address the concerns of Singaporeans in light of the current uncertainties, but also include a number of special benefits for those who need a helping hand in the current scenario.
With the economic, social and physical welfare of Singaporeans the topmost priority for the Government, it has announced double the regular U-save for all eligible Housing Development Board (HDB) households in 2020. In fact, larger Singaporean households will receive a total of 2.5 times their regular U-save, and eligible HDB households will receive rebates to cover 1.5 to 3.5 months of Service and Conservancy Charges this year.
The income ceiling has been raised for additional subsidy for pre-school and kindergarten fee assistance scheme, and higher pre-school subsidies will be available across all eligible income tiers. Annual pre-university bursary quantum has been raised from $900 to $1,000, in addition to providing more bursaries for students in polytechnics and autonomous universities. This will be further boosted by transportation and meal subsidies for Singaporean students.
To help Singaporeans remain relevant in a rapidly changing workplace by learning new skills, the Government will provide $500 SkillsFuture credit top-up for every adult Singaporean aged 25 and above, and special top-up for Singaporeans aged 40 to 60, and increase the capacity to twice the current availability for SkillsFuture work-study programmes.
Help will also be provided in the form of cash, whereby up to $300 will be given to Singaporeans aged 21 and above, and $100 for each Singaporean parent with at least one Singaporean child aged 20 and below in 2020.
The Government recognises the need to allay concerns over the impending Good and Services Tax (GST) increase, which will take effect some time between 2022 and 2025. Hence, an assurance package for GST has been unveiled that includes a cash payout of $700 to $1,600 over five years for adult Singaporeans. A majority of Singaporean households will receive offsets to cover at least five years’ worth of additional GST expenses. Furthermore, lower-income households will get more help, with those living in 1- to 3-room HDB flats receiving offsets of about 10 years’ worth of additional GST expenses.
With an ageing population that will require more resources in time to come, the Government has issued healthcare subsidies of up to 80 per cent at public healthcare institutions and aged care services. This will be further aided by Community Health Assist Scheme, Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation packages. Another important component is the Seniors Mobility and Enabling Fund, to provide support for assistive devices and home healthcare items to help senior citizens enjoy a better quality of life and independent living.
First-time flat buyers can also avail of enhanced Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grants, with the monthly household income ceiling having been raised for subsidised flats and executive condominiums to $14,000 and $16,000 respectively.
The Government will also match CPF retirement account top-ups dollar for dollar, up to an annual cap of $600. Through this scheme, eligible Singaporeans can receive up to $3,000 in matched savings over five years. As part of the Silver Support Scheme, the enhanced retirement scheme will include the Silver Housing Bonus and Lease Buyback Scheme.
Other benefits include a $100 Passion Card top-up for all Singaporeans aged 50 and above in 2020, and $100 per year in 2020 and 2021 for Singaporeans aged 21 and above living in 1-room or 2-room HDB flats.
There are a number of measures in place for small businesses and independent workers as well. Some of these include half-month to one-month rental waivers for commercial tenants in government-managed properties and government hawker centres respectively, and support packages for taxi and private hire car drivers, job support and wage credit scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises and Singaporean workers.
We would also like to bring your attention to a Covid-19-related update. It was brought to our attention that two women who attended the private dinner at Safra Jurong on 15 February 2020 also participated in singing lessons at the Jurong Green Community Club (JGCC) a few days before they tested positive for the virus on 5 March 2020. In light of this, as a precautionary measure, we have temporarily suspended all singing classes at the JGCC from 6 March 2020 until the end of the month. JGCC had also engaged a professional cleaning company to disinfect the two classrooms used for the singing classes and all the common areas. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has contacted the participants of the two singing classes. We encourage all the participants to co-operate with MOH when contacted.
We would like to take this opportunity to share with our residents some precautions to stay healthy and to prevent the community transmission of Covid-19.
- Do not attend any gatherings when you are ill.
- Observe good personal hygiene.
- Practise frequent hand washing with soap before handling food or eating, after going to the toilet, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing.
- Monitor your temperature twice daily.
- Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, and dispose of the soiled tissue paper in the rubbish bin immediately.
- Seek medical attention promptly if you are feeling unwell. All medical treatment for respiratory illnesses, such as common cold, are heavily subsidised at the Public Health Preparedness Clinics. You can find the nearest clinic at www.flugowhere.gov.sg.
Despite these trying times, we are heartened to see many residents looking out for each other and reaching out to those who are most vulnerable. As ingrained in our ethos, let’s all stand united and help our neighbours, and make Jurong-Clementi estate a community that we can all be proud to call home.
MP Ang Wei Neng
Jurong-Clementi Town Council
Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC