SINGAPORE - To the many Singaporeans who have asked if the $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package (PGP) will be expanded in future to benefit more seniors, Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing's reply is: "Frankly, we hope that we can."
But the introduction of a "PGP 2" will depend on how the next generation answers two questions, he said on Monday at a dialogue during the annual Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Singapore Perspectives conference.
Mr Chan described these as: "Will we have the means? Will society have the same values (as now) to want to honour those who contributed?"
More importantly, the package - which eases the medical costs of the first generation of Singaporeans - cannot be a political promise, added Mr Chan.
Singapore must avoid a situation where government subsidies and policies "turn into an auction in the elections", he said in response to a question posed to him and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the dialogue.
"We have seen this happen all over the world. To get elected, somebody will stand up and say, 'I promise more'," said Mr Chan.
The only way to guard against this is to have an enlightened electorate that asks tough questions of political parties which make such election promises, he added.
At this, DPM Teo quipped that, at age 60, he is among those who have just missed the cut-off for the Pioneer Generation Package. Looking to Mr Chan, who is 45, he joked: "You know what to do if you want my vote."