Singapore National Day Rally 2018 took place on 19 August. The National Day Rally is often considered as the most important political speech of the year.
theAsianparent received a special mention this year!
We were super proud to hear PM Lee speak about Roshni Mahtani, founder and CEO of theAsianparent, as a Singaporean entrepreneur who "founded a media company that operates TheAsianParent."
"It’s a website that is popular with many parents with young children."
Roshni Mahtani (Founder and CEO of theAsianparent) and her husband Darius Cheung (Founder and CEO of 99.co) received a special mention by PM Lee as entrepreneurs who made Singapore proud!
Here's checking out some key highlights of Singapore National Day Rally 2018!
Singapore National Day Rally 2018: Focus on Healthcare
Singaporeans are indeed spending more on healthcare now. Government has so far kept healthcare affordable through Medisave, MediShield and MediFund. Apart from that, PM Lee announced:
Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) to be Enhanced
- CHAS was first introduced for outpatient expenses.
- More elderly patients were seen after CHAS.
- Earlier, CHAS was available only to middle and lower income group.
Now, CHAS will be extended to all Singaporeans with chronic conditions, regardless of income. The benefits will continue to be tiered according to income. More details will be announced soon.
- More polyclinics are being built across Singapore, which will be affordable, accessible and provide high quality health care.
Sembawang, Eunos, Kallang and Bukit Panjang will see new polyclinics by 2020, and Nee Soon Central and Tampines North by 2023
- ElderShield scheme covers those who are struggling with Activities of Daily Living.
- CareShield Life will start soon in 2020, and pay out up to $600 a month.
Merdeka Generation Package:
- The "Merdeka Generation" refers to those born in the 1950s.
PM Lee revealed that the Government would work out a Merdeka Generation Package. And they will announce details next year. Benefits won't be as large as Pioneer Generation Package, but will still show appreciation for the Merdeka Generation and for their contributions.
It will cover similar areas as the Pioneer Generation Package like:
- Outpatient subsidies
- MediSave top ups
- MediShield Life premium subsidies
- Payout for long term care
Singapore National Day Rally 2018: Focus on Housing
- Those residing in one- and two-room flats will receive close to $400 in rebates this year.
- PM Lee said that there was no need to amend the 99-year leases for flats.
The main reason HDB flats have 99 year leases is because we need to be fair for future generations. This is the only way to recycle land to make new flats for future generations.
- If HDB owners have to return old flats at the end of the lease, Government will help them get another one.
- Home Improvement Programme (HIP scheme) will be expanded, benefitting another 230,000 flats. It will now include blocks built up to 1997.
Pasir Ris, Yishun, Tampines and Jurong estates will benefit.
- Government to launch HIP II in about 10 years time
Every HDB flat can be expected to be upgraded twice during their leases, with the HIP II happening when the first HDB flats reach 60-70 years old.
This will allow more households to benefit from redevelopment before their leases expire. Also, it allows the government to inject new life into older towns and HDB estates.
This is a long term plan, and will take a long time to execute, approximately 20 years from now. But the government will start planning on Vers now.
Singapore National Day Rally 2018: Focus on Cost of living
Young families worry about housing and preschool education, and about taking care of the elderly, including healthcare.
PM Lee said that price increases for resources like water and electricity tariffs cannot be completely avoided, as Singapore faces resource constraints.
It may seem that electricity tariffs have increased over the years, but PM Lee revealed some interesting statistics.
Back in the third quarter of 2008, tariffs were 25.07 cents/kwh. Today, they stand at only 23.65 cents/kwh.
Infant Milk Formula
Government has set up an infant milk task force to review formula milk prices. What's more, the government will tighten regulations for labelling infant formula, with special attention to misleading advertising.
The task force has simplified import processes, brought in more brands and parallel imports. Also, public hospitals offer more affordable formula milk brands now.
"Unless a child has a special medical need, all infant formula sold in Singapore will meet the nutritional needs of children," said PM Lee.
PM Lee said that more families are opting to eat out, so the government is building 13 more hawker centres, with greater emphasis on more affordable meals.
Smartphones are now a necessity, and smartphone bills have contributed to the average household's rising expenses. PM Lee advises:
- When outside, make use of [email protected] wherever possible.
- Avoid using 4G to watch movies while outside.
- Monitor data usage.
Well, that sort of sums up the key highlights of Singapore National Day Rally 2018 for families. What do you feel readers, about the changes the Government has announced? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!