Parliament: Pioneer fund Bill to be amended following NMP's suggestion

Parliament: Pioneer fund Bill to be amended following NMP's suggestion

The Pioneer Generation Fund Bill, passed by Parliament on Monday, will be amended to take in a suggestion by Nominated MP Chia Yong Yong.

Senior Minister of State for Finance Josephine Teo said, in a clarification to Parliament yesterday, that the amended clause would be formulated and tabled at an opportune time.

The Bill was to set up a fund for the Pioneer Generation Package announced earlier this year.

During Monday's debate on it, Ms Chia, a corporate lawyer, wanted Clause 3 to be changed.

At issue is "them who are now elderly and are or may be in need of financial relief, assistance or other support", which she said suggested pioneers could be subjected to means-testing.

She asked that it be replaced with "pioneers".

Replying, Mrs Teo stressed that the Government had no intention of introducing means-testing for pioneers. The Bill was passed without any change.

Yesterday, Mrs Teo explained that with the short notice given on Monday for the proposed amendment, there was no time to consider possible implications.

But the Finance Ministry had since gone through the legislation again, and agreed it should be changed.

Thanking Ms Chia for her thoughtful suggestion, she said the change would "better convey the intent of the Pioneer Generation Package and avoid any doubt that the fund could become restricted to providing relief to only the financially needy".

The fund will cover the cost of the nearly $9 billion Pioneer Generation Package, and ensure it can be paid for beyond the current term of government.

This article was first published on Nov 05, 2014.
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