Do you know that some of the government pensioners who retired in the early seventies in the
last century are drawing a miserable monthly pension of $400 of less, almost the same amount
as those on public assistance. And incredulously, a former finance minister said some years back
that that should be enough for them as the government considered they had served their
usefulness and was now waiting for them to die. This was said to some representatives of the
Singapore Government Pensioners Association who sought his help in getting some increase in
their meagre pension. The eminent minister was not callous but was only kind in a bizarre way.
He could have belonged to a coterie of so-called benevolent personae who believed in being
cruel first before trying to be benevolent.
While government ministers have awarded themselves whopping pay increases out of taxpayers'
money, thay are so scrupulous in thinking that the same taxpayers' money cannot be humanely
used for the upliftment of the dire straits of these pensioners. They gave the lame excuse that
they are precluded by law to increase the pension. As the Chinese say laws are man-made and
are not insurmountable. When the former prime minister wanted the dismantle the jury
system, the law was not an obstacle.
The irony of it all is that Malaysia, which is considered to be not on a par with Singapore
politically, is more advance in looking after its pensioners. Their pensioners' spouses continue
to enjoy pensions and other benefits upon the death of the pensioners and their pensions are
adjusted regularly according to the cost of living.