A package for pioneers, with thanks
By Adrian Lim
SINGAPORE - Nearly half a century after their hard work laid the foundation for modern Singapore, the nation is giving something back to its pioneers.
It is a "special package for a special generation" and it will benefit some 450,000 people.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday gave a glimpse into the much-discussed Pioneer Generation Package at a tribute party at the Istana attended by 1,000 seniors, including opposition veteran Chiam See Tong.
Besides reducing the medical expenses for these pioneers, the health care-focused package will also lessen the burden on their children, Mr Lee said.
The package targets the first generation of Singaporeans as it is this generation whose hard work had set the foundation for the country's development, said Mr Lee.
Hence, only those who are 65 years or older this year, and who received their citizenship before 1987, qualify for the package. They would have been aged 16 or older at independence. "In 1965, many people left school, (and) started work early, often in their teens," Mr Lee said.
"It will include our first batch of national servicemen, who were called up in 1967," he added.
The package will provide more support to pay for MediShield Life premiums, extra subsidies for outpatient treatment, and annual Medisave top-ups. More details will be revealed during the Budget next Friday.
The benefits will be for life, with more help given to those who are older.