In the beginning of this year, during the 2019 Budget speech, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the Merdeka Generation Package which aimed at helping those born in the 1950s with their medical bills.
The Package basically will include an annual S$200 top-up to the Medisave accounts of eligible Singaporeans from 2019 to 2023, and the first top-up will be automatically credited next month.
Besides that, individuals can also get a S$100 top-up to their PAssion silver cards, receive subsidies at Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) general practitioner and dental clinics, as well as a further S$150 yearly discount off CareShield Life for 10 years.
Additionally, eligible citizens will also be given 5% (age 60 to 70) or 10% (age more than 75) off their MediShield Life annual premiums.
In anticipation of rolling out this Package to the Merdeka Generation, the Government released a video last month explaining the benefits that will be received by them.
The video, titled “Merdeka 5 For Life”, used the peppy tune of Lou Bega’s Mambo No. 5, accompanied with lyrics laying out all the advantages that the Merdeka Generation Package has to offer to the eligible individuals. Apart from that, a cast of five senior actors were seen dancing with full-energy to the song in the music clip.
The video, which has been sponsored throughout the month, has reached close to 1 million people in Singapore.
In the official Facebook page of the Singapore’s Government where the video was uploaded, many netizens were critical of the Merdeka Generation Package stating that many seniors are still working hard trying to make ends meet, while indicating the benefits are only one-off and is not sustainable in the long run.
On the other hand, Simon Tay questioned the need to divide seniors into different generations as all seniors should be placed in one category and a single package should be created for them. He added that this “kind of divisive policies” need to stop, and wonders how the younger generation is going to cope with the rising cost of living in Singapore once they get older.
Others indicated that all they want is for the Government to return back their hard-earned CPF money so they will be able to use it on things that matters to them, including healthcare.
A bunch of them also pointed out that the Merdeka Generation Package is just a way for the Government to buy votes for the upcoming General Election. They also said that they’re “sick of seeing such promotion going around to brain-washed the people” and the Government will take everything back once the election is over.
Paschal Lim highlighted that the package is Government’s great way of manipulation in order to paint a positive image of themselves to fish for votes.