For a caring society: Ministries reveal plans for Singapore

SINGAPORE - Nine ministries have unveiled their latest plans for Singapore in public statements, also known as Addenda to the President's Address, yesterday.

These initiatives come under the banner of a "caring society" and lists measures aimed at providing help for workers, the elderly and the needy.

The measures are in response to President Tony Tan Keng Yam's opening address at the second session of the 12th Parliament on Friday.

In a break from tradition, the statements were not released by individual ministries.

Like those released on Monday, all the policies and plans were grouped under different themes.

More policies and plans will be announced this week.

Parliament will sit next week for MPs to review and debate the Government's proposed programmes.

For workers, the Ministry of Manpower will

Provide more "support for training, job upgrading and career progression for low-income and vulnerable Singaporeans" through the Workfare Training Support Scheme;

Enhance efforts towards raising pay and create more opportunities for career advancement through the Progressive Wage Model, which involves wage ladders to boost workers' pay through training;

Enforce and protect low-wage workers' basic employment rights, CPF contributions and well-being;

Consider extending the re-employment age beyond 65 to help older workers stay productive and employable;

Review and make improvements to the CPF system.

In social initiatives, the Ministry of Social and Family Development and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth will strengthen service and legal frameworks for better care and protection of elderly and those with special needs;

Increase support and funding for professionals and organisations in the social services sector;

Promote good neighbourliness;

Expand opportunities for young people to contribute to the community, especially through the newly-established Youth Corps Singapore.

In transportation, the Transport Ministry will continue to improve accessibility for the elderly and less mobile with more barrier-free routes to MRT stations and bus interchanges. This includes building more lifts at overhead bridges and expanding the Green Man Plus scheme, which gives senior citizens and disabled pedestrians more time to cross the road.

In housing, the Ministry of National Development will extend more help to poor Singaporeans so they can own a HDB flat, giving them the "security of a home and an asset."

This article was published on May 21 in The New Paper.

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