Saturday 28 June 2014

PGP Listening Point: Booths to be set up to explain Pioneer Package

The pop-up booths will be located in places frequented by elderly folk
By Charissa Yong, The Straits Times, 27 Jun 2014

MORE booths where seniors can ask about the Pioneer Generation Package are to be set up across the island, to ensure they understand the benefits they will get.

Manned by public servants and volunteers, the booths will be sited at spots frequented by the elderly but will be there for only a few days.

The first booth, which opened yesterday, is opposite the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple in busy Waterloo Street near Bugis.

It will be there for two days and will be open from 11am to 6pm today. After that, it will be moved elsewhere.

Plans have yet to be finalised on the locations of these pop-up booths, said Dr Amy Khor, co-chair of the task force responsible for communicating the details of the package to the pioneers, who are Singapore citizens aged 65 and older this year.

Speaking to reporters at the Waterloo booth yesterday, she said: "We are planning to organise more such listening points for the package... (to) engage the elderly on a very personal basis, one-on-one, to explain the package to them."

The booths will be in places the Malay-speaking or Tamil-speaking communities frequent or in areas like Chinatown, added Dr Khor, who is Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, and heads the government feedback unit REACH.

Seniors interviewed at the Waterloo booth said they stopped by because it was near where they worshipped, shopped, lived or worked. "I help out at a nearby store and my friend there asked me to come here to know more about the package," said Mr Leong Ah Choong, 85, who left with a pamphlet.

Others like retired technical adviser Tan Yew Thye, 68, stopped to give feedback on the package. "The queue in outpatient clinics is very long. It's good if the Government can subsidise more private clinics to treat pioneers," he said.

The questions uppermost on the minds of seniors are whether they need to apply for the package, what benefits they will receive and when these will be given out, said Dr Khor.

"There's a need to explain further what's in the package," she added. "Some are not clear about the details and ask if it is for life, and why not in cash?"

But cashier Chung Suit Leng, 75, thinks knowing "a bit" is good enough. "Old people like us have no education but it's okay. When I go to the doctor, they'll tell me how to use the package, or I'll just ask my daughter."



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