Saturday, 14 November 2015


When I volunteered to help and serve in the Marsiling community about 30 years ago, one of my objectives and intentions was to help and care for the underprivileged and less fortunate. Welfare was something close to my heart. Coming from a poor family and being deprived a lot of privileges in early life, I wanted to do something to help those needy and low income families.

When I was asked to chair the Welfare Committee in the Sembawang - Hong Kah CDC (Community Development Council), I gladly accepted the challenge because this was something I was passionate and committed to do. Subsequently, when I chaired the Marsiling CCC (Citizens' Consultative Committee), I handled and reviewed all the welfare cases including ComCare and those referrals from the MPS (Meet-the-People Session).

Now that I have stepped down from the grassroots, I am happy to share my past experiences to the younger grassroots leaders and activists and hope they can learn to do a good job and show concern to our elderly and needy.

When we became independent, the government promised to take care and share the nation's wealth with all Singaporeans and to create a fair and equal opportunity for all, irrespective of age, gender and race. As we progressed and prospered, we became more affluent. There were surpluses from the budget in our thriving economy and the government was able to introduce and implement a lot of policies and schemes for the benefits of Singaporeans. Some of the measures taken were the safety nets, such as, CPF, 3M (Medi Save, Medi Shield and Medi Fund), subsidised education from pre-school to tertiary, public housing, hospitalisation and transportation.
The government will channel the fund from the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and distribute the fund/grant to the various CCC through PA (People's Association). Some may question why take the trouble to channel and distribute the fund/grant through MOF to MSF to PA and to the CCC? Why not give directly into the hands of the people?
There must be responsibility and accountability on the fund/grant disbursed because all these are public money coming in from individual tax payers, revenues from GST, stamp duties, sales of land, COE, corporate tax and surpluses from GIC (Government Investment Companies). There must be checks and balances in the process from the ministries and at grassroots levels. Although senior grassroots leaders are entrusted and empowered to handle and distribute the fund, they are responsible and accountable to the grassroots advisors (Members of Parliament of respective constituency) and to PA and, ultimately, to MSF/SSO (Social Service Office). There are 2 tiers of checks and balances at PA and CCC levels with internal and external auditors. They would check periodically and randomly on the statement of accounts, and payment vouchers, who authorised and approved on the payment, who are the recipients and their particulars, such as, name in full, security/ identity (NRIC) and the type of payment made or issued.

Senior grassroots leaders entrusted and empowered to manage the fund on ComCare and the CCC's Welfare Fund must use their judgement and discretion when disbursing the financial assistance in helping the needy and lower income families. They must be impartial, fair and equal to all irrespective of their social status and background. To help them to decide on the hardship cases, they can have their criteria and guideline to analyse and evaluate on the merits of cases. They can deploy grassroots members and activists to interview and verify on the individual and family's  background during their home visits. They can also tap on their community partners; VWOs (Voluntary Welfare Organisations), NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) and agencies, such as, Town Council and religious organisations to interview and investigate further to ascertain on the cases.

Grassroots leaders and activists handling the welfare cases must have the trust and confidence of the CCC and Grassroots Advisor. They must know how to reach out and engage the residents. They must win over the hearts and minds of the needy and lower income families through their sincerity and empathy. Personal data and information shared must be kept strictly confidential.

To avoid and prevent abuse of the welfare fund, grassroots leaders and activists making home visits must observe the residents are prudent and thrifty in their living. Needy families and lower income residents must practise austerity in their lifestyles. They cannot afford to be extravagant and lavish on spending habits. To break the poverty vicious cycle is to encourage them to work and to be self reliant and must spend and live within their means.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Presentation of Montage from Zone "4" RC

Mr Hawazi Daipi and I were presented with a montage last Saturday, 31 October 2015 at Marsiling Zone "4" RC. It was a collection of past photos on grassroots projects and
events since Mr Hawazi Daipi was nominated the Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC in 1997. It sure brought back many fond memories. Thank you to friends of Zone "4" RC.

Appreciation & Thank You Lunch for Mr Hawazi Daipi

Attended the "Appreciation & Thank You Lunch" for Mr Hawazi Daipi last Saturday, 31 October 2015 at The SIA Sports Club in Changi Road organised by Marsiling Citizens' Consultative Committee. An appreciation plaque was presented to Mr Hawazi Daipi by Speaker of Parliament, Madam Halimah Yacob, MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.