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PM: We don't need poverty line to help the poor

Singapore's needy have diverse needs that call for multi-layered help

Published on Nov 17, 2013 7:13 AM
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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (right) shakes hands with Mr Lalith Weeratunga, secretary to Sri Lanka's President, as he arrives at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) opening ceremony in Colombo on Nov 15, 2013. Singapore is past the point where a poverty line is useful, PM Lee indicated yesterday, as its groups of needy now take shifting and multi-faceted form. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

Singapore is past the point where a poverty line is useful, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong indicated yesterday, as its groups of needy now take shifting and multi-faceted form.

Hence, the Government's "kueh lapis" approach to social assistance, he said, summoning a metaphor that Minister of Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing used to describe the multi-layered help it provides to those in need.

Speaking to reporters after a Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, Mr Lee weighed in for the first time on recent calls to establish a poverty line in Singapore, after Hong Kong did so in September.

He said that a poverty line like the World Bank's measure of $1.50 a day was irrelevant in Singapore as there are no "dead poor" here, by which he means those who are starving and unsheltered.

 
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