SINGAPORE - A new law was passed by Parliament on Monday (May 6) to establish the $6.1 billion Merdeka Generation Fund, which will help pay for the healthcare costs of nearly 500,000 Singaporeans.
It involves amendments to the Pioneer Generation Fund Act to establish the Merdeka Generation Fund as separate from the existing Pioneer Generation Fund.
Outlining its scope, Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong said that the changes set out the purposes for which money in this new fund can be used. It also provides for separate financial statements and auditor's reports for both funds to be presented to Parliament.
Other changes include setting out the eligibility criteria for the Merdeka Generation Package, and detailing the appeals process for those who wish to be included in the package.
The much-talked-about package will be given to citizens born between Jan 1, 1950, and Dec 31, 1959. But if a person was born before Dec 31, 1949, and did not receive the Pioneer Generation Package, the appeals panel may decide that he is eligible for the Merdeka Generation Package.
"The changes in this Act will enable the Government to implement the Merdeka Generation Package," Mr Wong said. "This is how we can honour our Merdeka Generation for their contributions and give them and their families greater peace of mind with their healthcare costs."
The Merdeka Generation Package was announced earlier this year by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, in his annual Budget speech as Finance Minister. He estimated that the package will cost more than $8 billion, in current dollars, over the lifetimes of the Merdeka Generation. The $6.1 billion set aside in this year's Budget will, with interest accumulated over time, cover the package's full projected costs, he had said.
Those who are eligible should have received letters from the Health Ministry last week, and will get their welcome folders and Merdeka Generation cards in the mail from late June.