NDR 2023: A $7 billion Majulah Package for seniors, improved housing schemes and a semangat yang baru

20/08/2023

“Don’t worry — the Government will help you. You will not be left behind.” 

This was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s promise to every single Singaporean in his or her 50s to early 60s — “Young Seniors” — this National Day Rally (NDR). 

The reason: A $7 billion Majulah Package for supporting their retirement. 

It is thoughtful, timely action while refreshing Singapore’s social compact under Forward SG, and as Singaporeans and our government are forging a new Singapore spirit together.   

Many Young Seniors are sandwiched between responsibilities on many fronts — the cost of living, eldercare, child-raising and their own health — and have had less time than younger workers to benefit from improvements to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme. 

So the Majulah Package is about financial help. It includes an annual “Earn and Save” Bonus of up to $1,000 for workers, plus a one-time CPF Retirement Savings Bonus (RSB) of up to $1,500 for people (like homemakers) without the CPF Basic Retirement Sum, There is also a one-time $1,000 MediSave top-up for medical expenses. 

Source: Ministry of Communications and Information 

Pioneer and Mereka Generation seniors will have these bonuses too; the Majulah Package is a substantial commitment to 1.4 million older people in total.  

“We will also be enhancing current schemes, like Silver Support, Workfare Income Supplement, and the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme,” said PM Lee. 

“Taken together, these improvements will help seniors to meet basic retirement needs, especially for lower- and middle-income Singaporeans. So that you can have peace of mind in your golden years.” 

Age Well SG is more holistic help for seniors 

Age Well SG will supplement this financial help as the nation goes forward. 

It is a new national programme for improving the health of Singapore’s seniors, both outside and at home. 

“We will build more shelters and rest points. Also more therapeutic gardens, fitness trails, and exercise machines, to encourage seniors to stay active,” said PM Lee.  

Roads will have longer green man signals to give seniors more time to cross and barrier-free ramps and raised zebra crossings will help wheelchair users too. 

Community Care Apartments are being built too, especially for seniors with mild dementia to age in place in familiar, well-loved surroundings.  

Also being enhanced: The EASE (Enhancement for Active Seniors) programme for more senior-friendly home features like widened toilet entrances, and the number of Active Ageing Centres (AACs) where seniors go for cooking and exercise classes, make friends, have telehealth check-ups and generally have a good time. 

“Today, we are an aged society; soon, we will be a ‘super-aged’ society. And this has massive social and economic implications,” said PM Lee about Age Well SG, which combines work from the Ministries of Health, Transport and National Development. 

Source: Ministry of Communications and Information 

Afterall, there is much to do to help Singapore’s seniors age well, and so the government is preparing early. 

Flats are now Standard, Plus and Prime 

Public housing must remain accessible and affordable to Singaporeans. Singapore’s forward journey will additionally see home-buyers get help to get that dream flat. 

“We will gradually provide more housing grants, especially grants that are means-tested, like the Enhanced Housing Grant. This way, lower- and middle- income households will get the most support to own their homes,” promised PM Lee about there always being a flat for every Singaporean’s budget. 

New flats are now also classified as Standard, Plus and Prime, based on their location, as well as subsidies and restriction. This replaces the existing Mature/ Non-Mature estate framework considering how the government has built up enough different estates.  

Going forward, HDB will build more BTOs in areas that are nearer to transport nodes or with better amenities. These Plus flats will also be made affordable to Singaporeans with additional subsidies, such as additional market discounts. They however come with additional conditions to ensure that they are for owner occupation and continue to remain affordable even at the point of resale. An added assurance is that the vast majority of flat supply is set aside for first-timer families.  

Source: Ministry of Communications and Information 

There is good news for singles too. They will be allowed to buy 2-room Flexi flats in Standard, Plus and Prime projects across Singapore. This is a big step up from now, where they can only buy 2-room Flexis in Non-Mature estates. 

“HDB will tell you the details soon, but I am sure singles will welcome this move to have more choices to find your own home and write your own part in Singapore’s housing story!” said PM Lee. 

Integrity, incorruptibility and a Semangat Yang Baru 

All these enhancements to the social compact — the $7 billion Majulah Package, Age Well SG and enhancing housing options and affordability for diverse sections of Singaporeans — speak to how our government takes action to forge a stronger Singapore. 

“Our forefathers built more than just a nation of bricks and mortar, skyscrapers and a thriving economy,” said PM Lee.  

“They created a nation founded on ideals: Justice and equality. Religious freedom and racial harmony. A commitment to excellence. A fair system of meritocracy. And an uncompromising insistence on honest, clean government.” 

Integrity and incorruptibility are the foundation on which the PAP runs a clean and effective Government, and delivers results for Singaporeans, in fact. 

They were crucial ideals for our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who took great care to mention them on his 90th birthday.  

“Frail and ill, Mr Lee said just a few words. He spoke only about one thing: He reminded us Singapore must always remain clean and incorruptible, and Ministers and MPs must set the example,” shared PM Lee, who reiterated his commitment to keep faith with Mr Lee’s words and keep the system clean . 

These ideals have forged a high trust society over 58 years of independence, where diverse Singaporeans and the government have together weathered the ups and downs of whatever crisis the world throws at us. 

Source: Lee Hsien Loong / Facebook 

“I have every confidence in Lawrence Wong and his team,” said PM Lee on his succession plans.  

“We share the same unshakeable conviction: That while our time as stewards is transient, we are building a Singapore for the ages. And our best service to this nation is to hand over a better, stronger Singapore to those who follow us.” 

“It has been an exceptional story; but I believe the best parts are still to be written,” added PM Lee about Singapore’s success. 

So let us come together with a renewed spirit and vigour, a semangat yang baru, to build a better, brighter Singapore for generations to come. Majulah Singapura!”