Housing, healthcare top issues at National Day Rally 2015 Public Forum

SINGAPORE - Housing subsidies and affordable healthcare were among the hot issues raised at a public forum on Thursday night designed to get public feedback on the National Day Rally.

The National Day Rally 2015 Public Forum, organised by government feedback unit Reach and held at *Scape at Orchard Link, attracted 140 members of the public.

The session was chaired by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, and Reach chairman, Dr Amy Khor.

In her opening address, Dr Khor said that response to the rally has been "largely positive", particularly in regard to parenthood measures, changes in housing policies and the increase of re-employment age to 67 years.

Forum participants chimed in with their own feedback.

The rise in the income ceiling for those applying for public housing subsidies from $10,000 to $12,000 raised some further questions, with some participants asking if it might be possible to do away with the ceiling altogether.

Dr Balakrishnan responded: "Our overall system is a progressive system, for people who earn less, we give more. So there's a slope.

"The question is, at which level of income or wealth should the subsidy stop? If we run a system where 100 per cent of the people are subsidised, where does the money come from?"

The cost of healthcare was another concern.

Dr Balakrishnan spoke about how Medisave, Medishield Life and government subsidies are all aimed at ensuring healthcare is kept affordable.

The forum is one of several public outreach programmes Reach is conducting.

Other programmes in the NDR 2015 feedback exercise include an online question-and-answer session on Facebook on Sunday.