Thursday, 10 April 2014

Pioneer Generation Package Taskforce Set Up

Diverse Pioneer Generation Package Taskforce set up
Channel NewsAsia, 8 Apr 2014

The taskforce set up to implement the Pioneer Generation Package comprises 22 members from the people and social sectors as well as media-related fields.

A joint statement from the Ministries of Finance and Health says the Pioneer Generation Taskforce, co-led by Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Mrs Josephine Teo and Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Dr Amy Khor, held its first meeting on Monday.

The taskforce has been formed to focus on communication and reaching out to Singaporeans on the Pioneer Generation Package (PGP).

Other members include Minister of State for Communications and Information & Education Ms Sim Ann and Minister of State for National Development & Defence and Mayor for South East District Dr Maliki, as well as representatives from ministries and agencies involved in the policy design, communication and implementation of the PGP.

Co-chair Mrs Teo said: "Our starting point is to honour a very special group of Singaporeans. However, in terms of policy communication, the Pioneer Generation Package also presents a special challenge for the government. Traditional channels such as print-advertisements and websites are still needed. But they are unlikely to be enough."

So in carrying out its work, the taskforce will "tap on the expertise of the private sector, and involve groups that are natural touch-points for the pioneers" such as healthcare institutions and voluntary welfare organisations.

The statement added that the frontline staff in these organisations are often the key touch points for pioneers, and "could be among the first that they turn to for answers".

A key objective of the taskforce is to raise awareness of the healthcare benefits under the package in order to provide greater assurance to the pioneers.

It will also support community efforts to reach out and pay tribute to the pioneer generation.

Dr Khor added: "We are keenly aware that healthcare is the number one concern for many of our pioneers today.

"Hence, it is important that we spare no effort in helping our pioneers understand the key initiatives and benefits of the Pioneer Generation Package to allay this concern.

"We want to assure them that healthcare will be affordable to them, and that they can get the care they need when they need it.

"The taskforce will find ways to effectively reach out and convey this message to our pioneers and their family caregivers.

"We look forward to tapping on the expertise and insights of taskforce members, who are either natural touch-points for pioneers - such as those from healthcare institutions, VWOs and grassroots - or those who are experts in the field of public communication."

Commenting on the first meeting of the taskforce, Mrs Teo said: "There was a very good discussion on the multi-faced aspects of the communication challenge we face, not just the channels but even the language medium.

"We have our work cut out for us but I also sense the enthusiasm and optimism among taskforce members. We share the belief that we can find new ways to be effective in the outreach, to let pioneers have the peace of mind and recognition they so deserve."

Reaching out to pioneers using getai

Details of the Pioneer Generation Package are explained in various languages during the free event
By Audrey Tan, The Sunday Times, 13 Apr 2014

It was a getai performance with a pioneering twist.

Emceed by veteran stage performer Lin Ru Ping, who was clad in a pouffy blue mini-dress cinched with a black sequinned belt, the concert under a white marquee along Hougang Street 61 last night was not only entertaining but educational too.

In between the song and dance numbers belted out by about nine other artists in flashy, shiny outfits, Ms Lin explained to the 1,200-strong crowd details of the Government's Pioneer Generation Package (PGP) in English, Mandarin and Chinese dialects including Hokkien and Teochew.

In front of a crowd of mostly senior citizens, she broke the ice at the start of the performance by asking those who have turned or will be turning 65 this year to raise their hands.

A smattering of hands went up, although the crowd warmed up considerably as the performance, which stretched till 10pm last night, went on.

Under the $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package, which was announced during this year's Budget, those aged 65 and above this year and those who became citizens before 1987 are eligible for a series of health-care subsidies.

These include annual Medisave top-ups ranging from $200 to $800 depending on age, subsidies for MediShield Life premiums and also subsidies for outpatient treatment.

About 450,000 first-generation Singaporeans are expected to benefit.

The event, titled "Thanking Our Pioneer Generation Getai Show", was organised by the Punggol South Grassroots Organisations to help elderly residents in the neighbourhood better understand their entitlements under the Package.

The show, which cost about $8,000, was fully funded by donations from three individuals from the Punggol Park Community Centre Management Committee. It was free for all attendees.

"This is the first getai in Singapore which uses this platform to reach out to seniors," Mr Gan Thiam Poh, MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, told The Sunday Times.

"Senior citizens may not read newspapers or watch television, so getai can be a platform to (learn about the package) in a language close to their hearts to help them understand," he said.

The getai is the latest initiative to reach out to older, non-English-speaking Singaporeans and help inform them about the package.

Last month, a four-minute-long video clip featuring a fortune teller explaining the Pioneer Generation Package in Hokkien was posted on video-sharing platform YouTube.

The same clip was screened during yesterday's event, and drew chuckles from the crowd.

Retiree Ling Yuan De, who walked to the getai from his house across the road, said in Mandarin: "I enjoyed the getai and I thought it was a good way to introduce government policies to us."

Added the 66-year-old, who used to work in construction: "I read the newspaper, but the getai helps make things clearer."

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