Jose Raymond of the Singapore People’s Party took to Facebook today to highlight the issue of support from or lack thereof provided by the government for family members of deceased servicemen and women.
He recounted his visit to a widow of one of the fours pilots who lost their lives at the Quezon Province crash during a training flight in 1979. The four pilots who perished were Captain F Prabhakaran, Captain Lee Choong Foo, Lieutenant Lum Chow Ning and Lieutenant Chua Poi Peck. Mr Raymond noted that the remains were never discovered and the families were left to bury only a part of the wreckage and a handful of earth from the crash site.
The widow he spoke to told Mr Raymond that the family received S$35,000 in compensation while her two young daughters who were 18 months and 6 years old at the time received S$100 a month as school expenses until they reach the age of 18.
Unfortunately, the widow informed Mr Raymond that the compensation was used to pay off the mortgage for their HDB home since the Home Protection Scheme administered by the CPF Board which covers HDB owners in the event of death was only started in 1981. She also mentioned that her daughters also had to work part-time to pay for their University education. Apart from the compensation and school allowance, the widow has also been receiving a monthly payout of only S$978.33 per month.
Mr Raymond then proceeded to raise a few questions on support the government provides, specifically how often the monthly payouts are reviewed, whether or not the government takes into account the cost of living when calculating the payout, whether there is an engagement strategy in place to keep up with the after-care support, and how many other families are receiving the same low payout just because they’ve lost loved ones before 1980.
Mr Raymond concluded his post with a call for widowers and widows of servicemen and women who die in uniform to be honoured and treated with respect. “This is the least the country could do for them for the huge sacrifices they have made after losing a loved one for the country.”