Making sure seniors are cared for by the Govt - whatever the issue

Ms Mastura noticed that conversations with seniors about the Pioneer Generation Package always spilt over into other issues. Such conversations are an avenue for the Government to listen to their problems, says the Pioneer Generation Office assistant
Ms Mastura noticed that conversations with seniors about the Pioneer Generation Package always spilt over into other issues. Such conversations are an avenue for the Government to listen to their problems, says the Pioneer Generation Office assistant director.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

When Ms Mastura Manap, 31, began visiting seniors at home to tell them about the Pioneer Generation Package or schemes that could help them with their healthcare costs, she quickly discovered an unavoidable habit.

"You can't control the conversation. It will always spill over into issues not related to the package, such as 'my pipe is leaking', or 'my family is going through something'," said the Pioneer Generation Office assistant director.

Such conversations are an avenue for the Government to listen to the problems of pioneers, she said. "It's our responsibility to take that feedback and pass it to the people at the top."

The house visits also brought home to her the importance of close coordination among agencies so that people can get the help they need.

"Citizens don't really care which government agency you're from. They just know you're (from) the Government," said Ms Mastura, one of more than 780 officers on the Public Service Leadership Programme, which develops public servants into leaders with specialist knowledge and skills.

One of her prouder achievements is working with colleagues at the Ministry of Health to simplify the form for pioneers with disabilities to apply for government help, following feedback.

She also set up a referral process with other agencies for officers to contact her should there be problems in pioneers' applications for help schemes.

"You can react that much faster if an application is incomplete, say, if the doctor's (certification) stamp is too faint or the uncle forgets to write down his entire identity card number," she said.

Such cooperation is critical for Singapore to deal with issues such as ageing, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Civil Service Teo Chee Hean at the programme's annual dinner last night.

Charissa Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'Making sure seniors are cared for by the Govt - whatever the issue'. Print Edition | Subscribe