DPM Heng guided by words of ex-leaders to mind interests of elderly

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat with the People's Action Party Seniors Group executive committee, which includes Ms Cheng Li Hui, Ms Joan Pereira, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Mr Henry Kwek, Dr Lily Neo and Ms Rahayu Mahzam. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat with the People's Action Party Seniors Group executive committee, which includes Ms Cheng Li Hui, Ms Joan Pereira, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Mr Henry Kwek, Dr Lily Neo and Ms Rahayu Mahzam. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

The mission set in 2011 by the late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and then Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong - for younger leaders to always have in mind the interests of the older generation - has continued to guide Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in his work, he said yesterday.

He was speaking at an event at Hotel Miramar Singapore by the People's Action Party Seniors Group (PAP.SG), which champions elderly causes, to mark the International Day of Older Persons.

The comments by Mr Heng, who is the PAP's first assistant secretary-general and is second-in-command in the party, come at a time when more than 500,000 Singaporeans, or about 15 per cent of the population, are aged above 65.

Noting that the Government wants to be able to support seniors in their diverse aspirations, he said leaders will continue to listen to a range of views and adjust policies to meet older people's needs.

In particular, Mr Heng and his colleagues pay close attention to the work of PAP.SG, which was formed in 2013.

Many suggestions in a position paper that the group submitted in January, after more than six months of consultation, have become government policy, Mr Heng said.

For instance, the idea to raise Central Provident Fund contribution rates for older workers beyond the age of 55 was announced at this year's National Day Rally.

ON THE GROUND

This approach of working with and staying close to the ground must continue to be passed down through generations of PAP activists.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER HENG SWEE KEAT, on a new handbook which People's Action Party (PAP) activists can use as a resource to explain relevant social schemes to seniors.

 
 
 
 

The call for more purpose-built senior housing such as Kampung Admiralty led to the announcement last month of the planned Yew Tee Integrated Development.

Mr Heng encouraged the seniors group to continue staying close to the ground.

He also expressed hope that the group can help to explain recent policy announcements to seniors and listen to their feedback.

This feedback, he said, will go far in helping him and other fourth-generation leaders of Singapore develop and explain policies better.

A handbook launched at the event, which was attended by around 420 guests including retired MPs, will be a resource for PAP activists to explain relevant social schemes to seniors.

Previously, the activists had to visit different government websites for information on initiatives or regulations related to seniors.

"This approach of working with and staying close to the ground must continue to be passed down through generations of PAP activists," said Mr Heng.

"The Government will do its part to make sure that our seniors can have peace of mind in their golden years... and receive the care they need. The seniors group can play a part by continuing to engage seniors deeply and champion their causes."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2019, with the headline 'DPM Heng guided by words of ex-leaders to mind interests of elderly'. Print Edition | Subscribe