Those changes announced in NDR 2023? Our MPs have long championed them.

At the National Day Rally (NDR) 2023, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave Singaporeans tangible support for trying times. He showed how this improbable nation will remain home, truly, for diverse groups of Singaporeans.  

In particular, the Majulah Package and Age Well SG for seniors, as well as changes to our national housing scheme continue to build a more inclusive Singapore with a stronger social compact.  

For our PAP MPs, who have long lobbied for similar causes and are in touch with real on-the-ground concerns, these announcements were much welcome. 

Majulah Package: Yeo Wan Ling and Edward Chia 

MP Yeo Wan Ling (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) is particularly heartened by how the $7 billion Majulah Package looks out for seniors who do not have the CPF Basic Retirement Sum; women who have stayed at home and cared for their families will particularly benefit with up to $1500 each. 

Especially for the latter group, these top-ups are the government recognising the nobility of those who have made this career sacrifice in order to take on the difficult responsibility of caregiving, and supporting them for the long haul against financial vulnerability.  

“For the past 2 budgets and at this year’s Motion of Thanks to our President’s Address, I called on the government to ensure adequate safety nets for our family caregivers. There are currently 260,000 women of economic age not in the workforce today, and many have given up their livelihoods (and CPF nesteggs) to take care of their young, old and infirm at home,” MP Yeo posted (Aug 21).  

“By topping up their CPFs, we not only support their retirement adequacy goals, but we also encourage more women to return to work,” she added.  

Source: Yeo Wan Ling, Edward Chia/ Facebook 

Similarly, MP Edward Chia (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) supports how the Majulah Package takes financial care of seniors sandwiched with responsibilities and pressures.  

“In November 2021, during the debate on the Retirement Bill, I stressed the importance of recognizing the intrinsic value of the work done by our seniors and ensuring they are fairly compensated. These CPF bonus from the Majulah Package will put our seniors in a better position for a meaningful retirement, he shared (Aug 21). 

Age Well SG: Henry Kwek and Vikram Nair 

Age Well SG, a cross-Ministry effort to help Singapore’s now and future seniors age with purpose and dignity, was unveiled during NDR 2023 — it looks at how best to care for the elderly beyond their mental and physical health

“I am delighted to hear our PM commit to (1) build more Community Care Apartments, (2) retrofit our estates to be senior friendly, and to (3) strengthen the retirement adequacy of our seniors,” posted (Aug 20) MP Henry Kwek (Kebun Baru SMC). 

“These are topics that I have advocated for consistently within the Parliament, given my involvement with the PAP’s senior group [PAPSG] over the years,” he added, referring to our interest group which has championed seniors since 2013. 

PAPSG was one of our government’s first steps to tackle the challenges and opportunities of Singapore’s ageing society.

Source: Henry Kwek, Vikram Nair / Facebook 

“Projects are being carried out to make housing estates more dementia friendly, with several pilots that provide assisted living for those with dementia. This allows seniors the option of continuing to live independently if they wish, with support available,” observed (Aug 21) MP Vikram Nair, who previously piloted a Silver Zone making his Admiralty ward safer for senior pedestrians. 

Housing: Cheryl Chan, Xie Yao Quan and Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim

As for the changes to the housing system (Standard, Plus and Prime flats and no more Mature/ Non-Mature towns), these will also rightly let Singapore’s housing story be more inclusive going forward

“The changing needs of families, seniors and singles for homes meant that we have to evolve our housing system. Now, more focus has to be on improving our housing system to enable more Singaporeans, especially first-timer families and singles, to have a home of their own sooner, increase their choices for a home and to continue ensuring affordable public housing,” posted (Aug 21) MP Cheryl Chan (East Coast GRC). 

MP Chan previously lobbied the government to help Singaporeans who urgently need housing as well as first-time homeowners. 

Meanwhile, MP Xie Yao Quan (Jurong GRC), who spoke in Parliament earlier this year (Feb 6) on more housing equity, sees these changes as a (concrete) improvement. 

“Not quite everything I have been pushing for in Parliament, but the changes to our public housing system as announced by PM Lee at National Day Rally 2023 are important and will help keep public housing affordable, inclusive and fair for all Singaporeans. Will keep speaking up, for even further and deeper change,” he posted (Aug 21). 

Source: Cheryl Chan, Xie Yao Quan and Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim / Facebook 

And the NDR improving the ability of singles to get their own houses resonated personally with MP Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (Chua Chu Kang GRC).  

“I recall meeting a single elderly resident during MPS who faced several unsuccessful BTO applications because of the limited supply for singles. I hope with these refinements and more policy details from HDB, there will be more choices for young couples and singles alike,” he shared (Aug 21) 

Ultimately, MP Zulkarnain, with his focus on walking his ward and bringing his residents together, is optimistic about how the NDR 2023 changes will mean a stronger Singapore.  

“These policy changes and announcements will hopefully invigorate our estates and unite our people together. I believe that we can continue to thrive as one united people, with a renewed indomitable spirit, ‘dengan semangat yang baru’,” he concluded.