PARLIAMENT

Govt aid available to all regardless of housing type: Indranee

In Parliament yesterday, Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah cited broad-based schemes that are for all Singaporeans, regardless of the type of housing they reside in. These include education assistance and being able to go to polyclinics for
In Parliament yesterday, Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah cited broad-based schemes that are for all Singaporeans, regardless of the type of housing they reside in. These include education assistance and being able to go to polyclinics for healthcare, as well as the Merdeka Generation Package.ST FILE PHOTO

Citizens who live in private property can apply for government aid should they need help, said Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah yesterday in Parliament.

She also cited broad-based schemes that are for all Singaporeans, regardless of the type of housing they reside in.

These include education assistance and being able to go to polyclinics for healthcare, as well as the Merdeka Generation Package to help citizens born in the 1950s with their healthcare costs.

So, she added, it would be "too much of a generalisation to say that there is nothing for them at all in the Budget".

Ms Indranee was responding to Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten), who asked whether the Government could do more to help asset-rich but cash-poor Singaporeans.

Mr Lim cited residents' feedback and said a number of those who live in private homes noted that it was inequitable that they do not qualify for GST Vouchers, among other initiatives.

As a result, they feel disadvantaged because of their residence type, he added.

Ms Indranee said the Government has more targeted initiatives, like the GST Vouchers, that subsidise the expenses of the lower-income group, besides broad-based schemes.

"The ones who don't benefit from the broad-based schemes, we would encourage them to apply (when they have) a genuine need because the system does allow for appeals and consideration of particular circumstances," she said.

"They may have specific difficulties. We will address those on a case-by-case basis."

Mr Lim also asked for the number of Singaporeans who live in private property and who do not have any declared income.

Ms Indranee, who is also Second Minister for Education and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, said about 164,000 of these adult Singaporeans do not declare their income for the purpose of personal income tax.

The figure includes citizens who have retired with private savings or are receiving financial support from family members, she added.

They tend not to have a yearly income or have non-taxable income from their investments, she said, adding that some are also not required to file tax returns after deductions and reliefs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2019, with the headline 'Govt aid available to all regardless of housing type: Indranee'. Print Edition | Subscribe