On the campaign trail

WP: Pioneer Generation Package needs a booster

Workers' Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang giving his speech at the Workers' Party rally at Yishun stadium on Sept 4, 2015.
Workers' Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang giving his speech at the Workers' Party rally at Yishun stadium on Sept 4, 2015. ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Low Thia Khiang says younger seniors not covered by package are next group to need aid

The Pioneer Generation Package rolled out by the Government has not entirely solved the needs of the group of seniors it intends to help, said Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang yesterday.

When it comes to meeting the medical needs of the elderly, the package still needs to be strengthened, he told reporters while on a walkabout in MacPherson single-member constituency.

Mr Low said younger seniors who did not get included in the Pioneer Generation are the next group that needs help. "They also face issues... and we would want to make a study of that after the election," he said.

The Pioneer Generation Package is for those who are citizens on or before Dec 31, 1986, and were aged 65 and above last year. It aims to help them with healthcare costs by offering perks such as an additional 50 per cent discount on subsidised services at polyclinics and specialist outpatient clinics.

WP new face Bernard Chen is in a three-cornered fight in MacPherson against the People's Action Party's Tin Pei Ling and Mr Cheo Chai Chen of the National Solidarity Party.

Mr Low also elaborated on his comments about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at a WP rally last Friday. He had said that if the PAP gets a clear mandate at this year's general election, a GST increase could follow. He recalled that the GST was raised to its current 7 per cent in July 2007, despite the PAP saying during the 2006 General Election that it was not considering a GST hike.

He said: "We have to make sure that there is enough representation in Parliament, so that after the election, (the PAP) has to think twice if they want to do anything, including a GST hike.

"From their past record, the PAP is always capable of doing something and revising policy that will affect the lives of people after a general election...

"That's why I'm cautioning Singaporeans to be careful when voting on Sept 11, to make sure that the Parliament that is newly constituted will have a number of opposition members to balance the PAP."

He also responded to comments by Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam that the WP-run Hougang Town Council had a deficit of $91,000 before it merged with the Aljunied Town Council in 2011.

Saying the facts would "speak for themselves", Mr Low added: "It's unproductive to go round in circles when talking about the town council issue. We have presented the facts and it's up to them to answer the questions squarely, rather than say I throw up smokescreens.

"Who is throwing up smokescreens? Who is smoking Singaporeans in this election? Let the people judge."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 06, 2015, with the headline 'WP: Pioneer Generation Package needs a booster'. Print Edition | Subscribe