Saw a few of our elderly cleaners pushing trolleys round Maxwell market when I was having my lunch recently over there.

It was a heart-breaking sight as most are aged above 70 years old and some are physically frail while walking with a limp.

Our elderly Silver support scheme pension in effect since last year has done little to alleviate their financial pressure – it only effectively puts less than $200/month to their pocket handed out in quarterly payment trache. A reasonable sum of $500/month will be more viable for them to survive on.

Introduced in the 2015 budget, one and two bedroom rental flat dwellers will get $750/quarter and the scheme will benefit about 140,000 vulnerable elderly poor above age 65 years old. Three roomers will receive $600/quarter and 4-roomers $450. The yearly payout will cost the government $300 million. It will benefit about 30% of our poor elderly folks and auto-approve ie no application is necessary for the scheme.

Among the criterion is that their CPF balance at age 55 years old must not be more than $70,000 and the per capita income must be $1100/month and below.

In Australia, a single needy pensioner will receive A$873/fortnight while a couple will receive A$1250/fortnight at age 65 years old and six months. A asset means testing will be in place to determine their suitability for pension payout not unlike that of our own means testing system.

However, many of our elderly poor still venture out to work despite the introduction of the Silver Support scheme and its a difficult sight to stomach – probably the only first in any developed world to see so many of our elderly still ekking out a living as many other first-world countries will have a reasonable pension to provide for their ageing needs.

The situation will only get worse as ours is a fast ageing society and our CPF system is not a viable retirement system for the majority. Not many children are able to adequately fund for their parents’ retirement needs as they too struggle on their own livelihood.

Meanwhile, the huge reserves are sitting there idly and its a wonder why some is not being utilised to fund abit of the retirement needs of our working elderly poor. The interest payment generated on our huge reserve each year will be more than enough to care for all the poor elderly pioneer generation to the tune of $500 a month.

This is something we hope the PM will address in this year NDR speech but instead we are told to eat more brown rice.

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