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Healthcare cooperative for elderly and sandwiched class: Murali

The People's Action Party's (PAP) candidate for the Bukit Batok by-election Murali Pillai shared his plans to launch a healthcare cooperative for the residents of the single-member constituency.

Speaking to the press after a walkabout on 1 May, Mr Murali zoomed in on the healthcare needs of the elderly and "sandwiched class" residents.

"This idea of the healthcare co operative evolved after numerous discussions with our Bukit Batok residents and we found out that our Bukit Batok residents are concerned about healthcare costs, particularly in relation to the elderly and also those who need long term treatment," he said.

Mr Murali planned to team up with non-profit organisation The Good Life Cooperative, which is run by PAP member Dr Carol Tan. He highlighted his previous work with the cooperative last year in the Paya Lebar division of Aljunied GRC, which he also noted is a comparatively older and more mature estate than Bukit Batok. Mr Murali believed that he would be able to bring such programmes over to the thirty-year-old Bukit Batok estate as well.

"Moreover, there's the issue of helping our elderly understand illnesses better so that they are able to prevent or delay the onset of illnesses through lifestyle changes," he said, adding that prevention is better than cure.

Mr Murali also brought up the need to help the "sandwiched class" with their healthcare costs. He noted that such families often do not qualify and hence do not receive the same amount of subsidies as the low-income households. Yet, many of these "sandwiched" households still face difficulties financially, especially with the cost of healthcare.

He proposed reducing the costs of certain consumables, such as vaccines and catheters.

Citing the success of Good Life Cooperative's mobile clinics across Paya Lebar that "managed to reach out to many, many seniors, particularly in the vernacular that they understand," Mr Murali hoped for the programme to enable the Bukit Batok elderly to live a comfortable life in their golden years as well.