Contributor Smart Tmtoo lamented that those became Singapore citizens after 1986 were given the Pioneer Generation Card when they appealed but Singaporeans born in 1950 were rejected even if they missed the cut of year of 1949 by a day. He also raised some questions on the rates for pioneers at CHAS dental clinics.
The Ministry of Finance has provided the reply below.
The Pioneer Generation Package was created to recognise and honour Singapore’s Pioneer Generation. It was difficult to set the eligibility criteria for the Pioneer Generation Package as we were aware that there would be a group of Singaporeans who would fall outside of the criteria set, no matter how it is set.
The Government has already taken a more inclusive approach, by setting the eligibility threshold to those who were aged 16 and above in 1965, instead of setting a stricter criterion of 18 or 21 years. We decided upon the age threshold after gathering feedback from Singaporeans through focus groups, dialogues, letters and emails, recognising that it was common for many Singaporeans to start working in their late teens in the 1960s.
The citizenship criterion was set at 31 Dec 1986 for practical reasons, because our manual records before 1987 are incomplete. At the same time, we recognise that it took some time to register the citizenship of all members of the pioneer generation in the early years of our independence. We know that about 95% of the group eligible for the Pioneer Generation Package were already here in Singapore by 1970.
Under the Pioneer Generation Fund Act passed by Parliament in 2014, the Appeals Panel only has powers to assess appeals from those who miss the citizenship criterion. The Panel gives due consideration to the merits of each case and taking into account all relevant factors. These factors include whether the appellant had been in Singapore in the early years of independence, had contributed to society and demonstrated clear efforts to sink roots in Singapore, and had obtained Singapore citizenship shortly after the 1986 cut-off date.
On your feedback on the cost of dental care, the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) enables Singapore citizens from lower-to middle-income households to receive subsidies for medical and dental care at participating GPs and dental clinics. All Singapore Citizens (regardless of age) who meet the household monthly income per person of $1,800 and below can qualify for CHAS. In addition, polyclinics and the National Dental Centre also provide subsidies for dental services/treatment.
We also wish to clarify that Pioneers at CHAS dental clinics do not pay a fixed rate, but receive a subsidy of between $21 to $266.50, depending on the treatment received.
We appreciate your time taken in providing your feedback. Thank you.
Quality Service Manager
Ministry of Finance