Ong Ye Kung takes the reins of Chinese self-help group CDAC from Gan Kim Yong

The new CDAC chairman, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung (right), shakes hands with ex-chairman Health Minister Gan Kim Yong after taking over the reigns during the 4th Partner Awards Presentation Ceremony at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.
The new CDAC chairman, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung (right), shakes hands with ex-chairman Health Minister Gan Kim Yong after taking over the reigns during the 4th Partner Awards Presentation Ceremony at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - The Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) will continue to give subsidies to poor Chinese families, including children, even as it puts greater focus on providing services.

The self-help group of the Chinese community will pay greater attention to helping parents find jobs, supporting the children's education, and providing family counselling and emotional support.

Its new chairman Ong Ye Kung disclosed this on Friday (June 23) when he took over the helm from Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Mr Ong, who is Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills), was speaking to reporters ahead of an award ceremony for partners of the CDAC, which marks its 25th anniversary this year.

While noting that the CDAC's resources are limited, he told reporters subsidies will not decrease.

"But we need to start differentiating between what (programmes) can benefit a broad base of people, and what can benefit those who are more needy. In this way we can use our limited resources to help the most families," he added.

In his speech at the event later, Mr Ong said the CDAC needed to adapt its programmes to keep pace with government policies.

"Over the years, the Government is doing more and more in social assistance and training to uplift families and communities. CDAC will continue to have a key role to play, but we are also adjusting," he said.

He thanked Mr Gan for having led a strategic review of the CDAC's core programmes and services last year, which saw it create a new programme focusing on the elderly, and merge its programme for low- income families and low-wage, low-skilled workers.

With the merger, more "holistic" support can be given as a case officer can help a family through its different challenges, said Mr Ong.

The CDAC will also continue to support the expansion of school- based student care centres, he added. This help is on top of that given to existing broad-based programmes such as tuition and financial assistance. Mr Ong, who is also Second Minister for Defence, was appointed to the CDAC board in 2010 and was made the group's deputy chairman in October last year.

He was appointed to the top post yesterday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the CDAC's patron, and took the reins after its annual general meeting earlier in the day.

Mr Gan, who has been on the group's board since 2004, was appointed chairman in 2012.

He expressed confidence in Mr Ong's ability to take the CDAC forward and build a strong foundation for its development.

He also thanked the CDAC's 200 partners and 1,200 volunteers for their support, adding that it now

helps almost 20,000 households.

"We are heartened by the collective and collaborative efforts of our partners and the community at large in supporting the efforts of our beneficiaries as they pursue their aspirations," Mr Gan said.