Singapore Government Press Release

Media Relations Division, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts,

MICA Building, 140 Hill Street, 2nd Storey, Singapore 179369

Tel: 6837-9666

 

SPEECH BY MR LEE HSIEN LOONG,PRIME MINISTER, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE ANG MO KIO COMMUNITY CARE NETWORK, 31 MARCH 2006, 8.15 PM AT THE TECK GHEE COMMUNITY CLUB

 

 

Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, Chairman of the ComCare Supervisory Committee,

 

Advisers to the Ang Mo Kio Community Care Network,

 

Distinguished guests,

 

Ladies and gentlemen

 

1.             I am happy to join you this evening to launch the Ang Mo Kio Community Care Network (CCN)

Staying Together as One People

2.             What we are doing in AMK is part of a broader nation-wide effort to ensure that no Singaporean is left behind as we forge ahead

3.             Two main thrusts:

a.             Keep the economy growing to raise living standards across the board

b.             Provide more targeted help for the poor and needy

4.             Over the years, the Government has launched many initiatives

a.             In this year�s Budget, we are sharing the fruits of growth through the Progress Package which is weighted towards poorer Singaporeans���

b.             A major component of the Progress Package is the Workfare Bonus for older and lower-income workers

                   To date, 260,000 workers have qualified for the first portion of the Workfare Bonus.This consists of:

(1)          183,000 employees with CPF contributions

(2)          7,000 self-employed with income tax returns

(3)          70,000 workers with no CPF and no tax returns, but filled in the Workfare Bonus income declaration forms

c.             Besides the Workfare Bonus, there are other items in the Progress Package including CPF top-ups, NS Bonus and Growth Dividends for all Singaporeans

d.             All of you should have received letters indicating the total amount you be getting

e.             Just sign up through ATM, website or the hard copy forms to receive your Progress Package on 1 May

f.               To ensure that the elderly and low-income families do not miss out on the Progress Package, grassroots leaders will be visiting residents in 1- and 2- room HDB flats to assist with the sign ups

5.             We will provide assistance in a way that involves the community and grassroots network

a.             You know the ground well and can assess where the needs are greatest

b.             This is the approach that ComCare has taken

c.             It has worked well � ComCare has supported a wide range of local activities and schemes, and helped thousands of needy families

d.             To support the growing activities, we are topping up the ComCare Fund by another $100m, increasing the capital sum of the Fund from $500m to $600m

Making Comcare More Effective

6.             Going forward, we must build on what ComCare has done to make it even more effective

7.             ComCare Committee chaired by Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon is exploring many ideas

a.             E.g. forging partnerships with corporate organisations, cooperatives, foundations and schools

b.             Getting more helping hands involved in the ComCare effort

8.             One key initiative is to strengthen the linkages between VWOs, community and grassroots organisations

a.             Get organisations on the ground to work together to deliver services more effectively to needy families

b.             Focus our outreach efforts on low-income, elderly residents who stay by themselves

�        There will be more and more of such senior citizens as our population ages

�        We need the local networks to identify and reach out to these residents

�        By linking up and coordinating their efforts, the grassroots organisations and VWOs can ensure that no one in need will be left alone without community care and support

Ang Mo Kio Community Care Network

9.             An example of a local network supported by ComCare is the AMK Community Care Network (CCN)

a.             Initiative spearheaded by the Ang Mo Kio grassroots organisations and family service centre

b.             Bring together grassroots leaders, social workers and volunteers to identify and reach out to poor, elderly residents, and ensure that these residents receive the help they need

10.        The AMK CCN will:

a.             Reach out to approximately 1,500 households in Teck Ghee, Kebun Bahru and Yio Chu Kang Divisions this year

b.             Expand its reach to cover every Ang Mo Kio Division by 2008��

11.        This is resource-intensive work

a.             Grateful for all our volunteers, community carers and grassroots leaders who are making a difference with your contributions and efforts

Conclusion

12.        Let us maintain this strong spirit of solidarity and mutual help

a.             The Government will do everything in its power to take care of the vulnerable members of our society

b.             Singaporeans must also do their part to help their fellow citizens in need

13.        Together, we will build a more compassionate society and a cohesive Singapore family