Comcare: Moving statistics?

by Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the Committee of Supply debate for the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

According to the article “CDCs help 6 in 10 people find jobs” (ST, Feb 25), “39,500 or 71 per cent of approved applications (for financial assistance) were successful, up from 42,100, or 67 per cent, in 2009”.

But according to the Comcare Annual Report FY2009, the “number of cases receiving assistance under Comcare as at end financial year (2009)” was 25,166, and 24,232 for 2008.

So, is the number receiving financial assistance in 2009, 25,166 according to Comcare’s Annual Report, or 42,100 according to its latest press release?

The same article also reported that  the number of applications for financial aid was reduced to 55,60o last year. “This was 11 per cent fewer than the 62,300 in 2009”

But according to the report, “Longer-term aid for two needy groups” (ST, Jun 8), the CDC(s) received more than 48,000 social assistance applications last year (2009)!

So, is the number of applications for financial aid 62,300 in 2009 according to the latest press release, or 48,000 according to its June press release?

Given last year’s record 14.5 per cent GDP growth and buoyant job market, why is it that the number of families applying for financial assistance in 2010, at 55,600 (latest press release) is so much higher than the pre-recession 2008’s 36,300 (June press release)?

Finally, why is it that the Comcare Annual Reports for FY2009 and FY2008 do not have any statistics on the number of applications for financial assistance – only the number who received assistance- when every periodic Comcare press release cites the number of applications’ statistics?

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