Roadshows educate seniors on Merdeka Generation benefits

Madam Jamalbi Abdul Hameed (right) attending to a resident at the roadshow in Wisma Geylang Serai yesterday. She has been a Silver Generation ambassador since 2014 and it involves reaching out to seniors at their homes to explain government schemes s
Madam Jamalbi Abdul Hameed (right) attending to a resident at the roadshow in Wisma Geylang Serai yesterday. She has been a Silver Generation ambassador since 2014 and it involves reaching out to seniors at their homes to explain government schemes such as the Merdeka Generation Package.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Madam Jamalbi Abdul Hameed has had doors slammed in her face while trying to reach out to senior citizens at 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," she said.

"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 started volunteering with self-help group Yayasan Mendaki in 2000, was speaking to the media yesterday at a Merdeka Generation roadshow in Wisma Geylang Serai, organised by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

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

Yesterday's edition - the 17th - aimed to reach out to the Malay community to promote the benefits, as well as to 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 Maliki Osman.

 
 

Veteran singers Ramli Sarip and Rahimah Rahim, who are from the Merdeka Generation, performed at the event.

Said Madam Halimah, who is also from 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."

Madam Halimah added that she was glad that 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 on the MediShield Life annual premium.

Next month, 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, 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 attended yesterday's roadshow with his daughter.

The 62-year-old, who used to work in marketing, said: "I tend to forget some (Merdeka Generation) benefits, like how every Wednesday we get discounts at FairPrice. Roadshows like this are good reminders for us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2019, with the headline 'Roadshows educate seniors on Merdeka Generation benefits'. Print Edition | Subscribe