Merdeka Generation roadshows help educate seniors on package benefits

President Halimah Yacob interacting with staff at the Health Promotion Board booth during her tour of the Merdeka Generation roadshow at Wisma Geylang Serai on Oct 20, 2019.
President Halimah Yacob interacting with staff at the Health Promotion Board booth during her tour of the Merdeka Generation roadshow at Wisma Geylang Serai on Oct 20, 2019.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
President Halimah, flanked by Senior Minister of State Maliki Osman (left) and Minister Masagos Zulkifli, making a body scrub using essential oils, oil and fine salt on Oct 20, 2019.
President Halimah, flanked by Senior Minister of State Maliki Osman (left) and Minister Masagos Zulkifli, making a body scrub using essential oils, oil and fine salt on Oct 20, 2019.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Visitors attending an education clinic by the Silver Generation Office to reach out to members of the Merdeka Generation, at Wisma Geylang Serai on Oct 20, 2019.
Visitors attending an education clinic by the Silver Generation Office to reach out to members of the Merdeka Generation, at Wisma Geylang Serai on Oct 20, 2019.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Madam Jamalbi Abdul Hameed has got doors slammed in her face while trying to reach out to senior citizens in their homes to explain government schemes - but that is part and parcel of her volunteer work as a Silver Generation (SG) ambassador.

Madam Jamalbi, 62, who has been an SG ambassador since 2014, said she takes the highs with the lows.

"I remember helping an elderly couple apply for the Silver Support scheme and they were so grateful they wanted to buy me kopi when I met them at the market.

"It feels so good that my efforts can go such a long way."

The Silver Support scheme provides payouts to eligible senior citizens.

Madam Jamalbi, a housewife who in 2000 started volunteering with self-help group Yayasan Mendaki, was speaking to the media on Sunday (Oct 20) at a Merdeka Generation roadshow at Wisma Geylang Serai, organised by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

The roadshows are part of ongoing nationwide efforts to educate and engage seniors on the benefits of the Merdeka Generation Package.

Sunday's edition, the 17th of its kind, aimed to reach out to the Malay community to promote these benefits, as well as encourage the spirit of community self-help and volunteerism.

It was attended by President Halimah Yacob, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, and Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs, Dr Maliki Osman.

Said Madam Halimah, who is part of the Merdeka Generation: "I remember the times when things were not so smooth sailing. Many of us made sacrifices so our families could enjoy more comfortable lives.

"This often meant that we had fewer opportunities and were less able to save up for our healthcare needs," she said, adding that she was glad the Government has come up with the Merdeka Generation Package.

She noted that three benefits have taken effect: a $100 PAssion Silver Card top-up, which can be used for public transport; a $200 Medisave top-up; and a 5 per cent subsidy off the MediShield Life annual premium.

Come November, Merdeka Generation seniors can also look forward to additional subsidies for outpatient care by general practitioners and dental clinics participating in the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas), polyclinics and public specialist outpatient clinics.

The MCI said it has reached out to about 130,000 Merdeka Generation seniors and their family members through the roadshows and community events, which have been held almost every weekend since June.

Retiree Anwardeen Sulaiman, 62, attended Sunday's roadshow with his daughter.

Said Mr Anwardeen, who used to work in marketing: "I tend to forget some (Merdeka Generation) benefits, like how every Wednesday we get discounts at NTUC FairPrice.

"Roadshows like these are good reminders for us."