On 19th August 2018, Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore has highlighted some challenges faced by many Singaporeans at home as well as abroad such as trade war tensions, healthcare, housing and cost of living.
If you didn’t catch the National Day Rally 2018 earlier today, we have picked out the important parts of Lee Hsien Loong’s speech from Bloomberg just for you.
Community health assist scheme (CHAS) has extended to Singaporeans with chronic conditions, despite income. CHAS is a scheme that entitles cardholders to generous subsidies. He also mentioned that more polyclinics will be built across Singapore to improve access.
Afraid that you won’t remain young forever? No worries, CareShield Life’s got you covered! This financial support for long-term care will be extended by revamping the current ElderShield program into the CareShield Life in 2020, to cover all Singaporeans born in 1980 or later, and to increase payouts where the payout is at least S$600 a month. The government will help to cover for medical costs, among other initiatives, for the post-independence generation, most of whom are in their 60s.
Lee also pointed out that 99 years is really a long time. 99-year leases on public housing are needed to be fair to future generations, since there would be a shortage of housing if land was sold on freehold. Upgrading of public housing blocks will be extended to those built up to 1997. A new voluntary scheme will also be introduced in 20 years time to allow residents to vote on redeveloping housing estates before the 99-year lease expires.
Lee brought his attention closer to home and spoke at length about ties with its neighbour, Malaysia. According to Yahoo News, he also mentioned that the 1962 water agreement with Malaysia is ‘sacrosanct’ and both countries must proceed “strictly in accordance” with its terms. Water will always be a precious and strategic resource, and a sensitive foreign policy matter for the nation. The government needs to build more desalination plants to produce clean water in Singapore.
Fixing electricity prices isn’t the best way to subsidize lower-income families as it’s not financially sustainable.
To help curb the price of infant milk formula, the government has set up a task team to, among other things, simplify import processes and tighten regulations for labeling. Average prices of formula milk have dropped.
Since many Singaporeans eat out, the government will be building more of the popular food centers. Singapore’s rich hawker culture will also be nominated by the Republic for inscription into the UNESCO’s cultural heritage list.
There are no winners in a trade war, and small, open economies are vulnerable. Singapore will suffer “collateral damage.” In an uncertain global environment, ASEAN becomes more important for Singapore, especially Malaysia and Indonesia.
And there you go – this sums up this year’s National Day Rally!
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