Hot on the heels of the release of the Occasional Paper by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) last Thursday (1 Nov) which entails the Government’s approach in providing for the “basic needs” of people with disabilities and those who are chronically ill, a photo detailing the monthly allowance received by a “blind resident” from the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped.
The photo, shared by Jose Raymond – former press secretary to Vivian Balakrishnan at the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and current Singapore People’s Party member – reveals that the visually impaired resident receives “$80 a month even though he is at the shelter every day,” and that he would receive “slightly more if there are projects to work on.”
Highlighting the measly amount of allowance given to the resident, Mr Raymond wrote: “The year-to-date earned on the document till September shows how much he has earned from the start of year till end of September.”
“The resident, who has no other family to rely on, also receives no other financial support from the state. How is this so?” he lamented.
Mr Raymond then criticised the MSF for supposedly not doing more for such residents: “Shouldn’t the MSF have a list of all people who are incapable and provide them the support to lead dignified lives and have basic needs be met which is what the report prescribes?”
In the Occasional Paper, it was written that “The Government is committed to building a fair, inclusive and caring society, which provides an enabling environment for all Singaporeans to do well and progress.”
The MSF states that it aims to “improve the lives of Singaporeans is a continuous endeavour – particularly for low-income and vulnerable families,” and that “addressing income disparity and social stratification remains one of the top priorities for the Government” through providing “access to affordable basic services,” and creating “an enabling environment for individuals as they work hard to look after themselves and their families, with support from the community.”
“Where individuals are unable to provide for themselves, such as individuals with disabilities or other health conditions that prevent them from working, the Government has put in place social safety nets, to provide help where family and community support is inadequate,” according to the Paper.
“The Singapore system is not perfect, but it has performed better than most. The key is not just government policy, but a coordinated approach across our many helping hands, strong family and community support, and also a strong sense of self-reliance and personal responsibility – without which no government effort can succeed.”
Users who commented on the post questioned the extent to which MSF actually helps such individuals with disabilities.
Alan Chng wrote: “It is also time to question how does CDA fund help those in need when regular contribution are done faithfully.”
Others such as Ming Chuen wrote about why the visually disabled have to be on the streets: “That’s the reason so many of them are selling tissues or busking in the in streets to make a living.”