Speakers at NUS forum want more done to help the poor, understand their problems
Speakers at a National University of Singapore (NUS) forum on Tuesday called for a better understanding of poverty here and more targeted measures to address the circumstances people face in their daily lives.
Nominated MP Laurence Lien and labour economist Hui Weng Tat cited sobering figures on rising income inequality and stagnating wages of the lowest income group to highlight the urgency of addressing the issue.
They were speaking at a forum on building an inclusive society.
Mr Lien, who is also chief executive of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, noted the lack of an official definition of the poverty line here. The closest measure is the Department of Statistics' figures on Absolute Household Expenditure on Basic Needs, which measures average expenditure on essential needs such as food, clothing and shelter. However, this does not explicitly include transport and medical costs, and also excludes what Mr Lien called expenditure on "social inclusion", where people spend on items or experiences to feel part of a group.