Philanthropist Khoo Bee See pledges $1m to Assisi Hospice

Madam Khoo Bee See, daughter of the late Khoo Teck Puat, with Assisi Hospice patient Manogaran Sannasi. Madam Khoo has pledged $1 million to the hospice.
Madam Khoo Bee See, daughter of the late Khoo Teck Puat, with Assisi Hospice patient Manogaran Sannasi. Madam Khoo has pledged $1 million to the hospice.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

A $1 million pledge by Madam Khoo Bee See, daughter of the late banker-philanthropist Khoo Teck Puat, will help Assisi Hospice hire more staff for more than 500 patients who receive care at home.

The donation, one of the largest by an individual to the hospice, will be matched dollar for dollar by the Government under the Care & Share Movement, which covers funds raised by the Community Chest and participating voluntary welfare organisations.

The scheme, which runs from next month until the end of next year, aims to get more Singaporeans and organisations to help the needy in the run-up to Singapore's 50th birthday celebrations in 2015.

Madam Khoo's gift is the first under the movement.

During her short tour of the hospice on Thursday, she met several patients.

"I see many sickly people in hospices and it's good that they are taken care of at Assisi... I just wanted to give back because we're all so lucky," said Madam Khoo, 79.

Her father was listed in Forbes magazine as Singapore's richest man in 2004, earning his fortune from banking, hospitality and property.

Assisi Hospice provides in- patient care, day-care and home-care services to those with terminal illnesses. More than half of its 1,080 patients last year received their care in their own homes.

Associate Professor Premarani K., chief executive of the hospice, said there is a growing need for home-care services, which are "labour-intensive and require the human touch".

"More people prefer to die in the comfort and familiarity of their own home," she added.

Last year, Assisi served 581 home-care patients, up from 525 patients in 2010.

Said Prof Premarani: "We hope to hire more staff so that their workload is reduced. Then they can devote more time and attention to each patient."

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg