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The Singapore Democrats hosted another Block Party for Yuhua SMC residents at Jurong East Street 24 for residents. The party’s Community Services Unit hosts a monthly constituency get-together as part of our on-going ground campaign.
“These gatherings are for residents to meet one another, discuss community issues, and seek help with such matters as threats of legal action when they are unable to pay their bills,” said Mr Irwan Sahrul, Head of Community Services.
The gathering with about 30 residents went ahead, as agreed, at the Food Centre. A group of ladies in their seventies joined the party, telling of their day-to-day struggles. Two of them, one 75 and the other 82 years of age, shared that they are still working. Both are cleaners in a secondary school, earning about $750 per month.
“It was quite shocking that these aunties are still working,” said one member of the Unit. They disclosed they have strained relationships with their children and therefore do not receive much support.
Community Service volunteers advised them that they are able to bring a complaint to the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents. The ladies were very uncomfortable with the idea, saying that, as Asians we would not think of suing our own children.
“Sometimes our children also struggle so we cannot disturb them,” one of them said. The website of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports advises:
The Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents offers a legal option for aged parents who are not able to support themselves to seek maintenance from their children, who are capable of supporting them but are not willing to do so.
The Tribunal allows these parents to file for a Maintenance Order against their children, requiring them to support their parents financially.
The elderly in other countries are able to live their lives in security after retiring. In Singapore, however, many still have to fend for themselves because the Government refuses to provide social security.
Many retirees have little in the CPF savings account because the bulk of it has been used for paying for HDB instalments, locked up in the Minimum Sum Scheme, or tied up in our Medisave accounts.
As a result, the older generation have to turn to their children for support. But as these residents indicated, their children are also struggling to make ends meet and they have their own children to look after.
The PAP system continues to squeeze much out of Singaporeans and give little in return. In the long-run, this works against the economy and society as a whole. It benefits only those at the top.
These are the real life situations that the SDP will continue to highlight and, in addition, take into account as we draw up our alternative policies.