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More cash aid for low-income group in Singapore

More cash aid for low-income group in Singapore
Singapore government would provide more support to help Singaporeans cope with the rising cost of living this year.
SINGAPORE: Any responsible government takes pains to look after the welfare of its people, particularly those who need help most.

And Singapore is no different. Yesterday, its government announced special cash assistance to lower income group.

Different countries have different approaches. While some give out cash vouchers, others provide food stamps or even cash.

While the ultimate aim is to help the poor, detractors may say that it is one of the ways to keep voters happy.

In its 2016 Budget delivered in Parliament on Thursday, the Singapore government announced that its spending would increase 7.3 per cent or S$5 billion (S$1=RM2.95) from last year.
Regarded as a holistic and inclusive budget by many, the low-income group was not neglected.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said the Singapore government would provide more support to help Singaporeans cope with the rising cost of living this year.

One of the approaches is a one-off Goods and Services Tax Voucher (GSTV)Cash Special Payment to be transferred to Singaporean households in the face of tough economic conditions.

Eligible GSTVCash Recipients will receive a one-off GSTVCash Special Payment of up to S$200 on top of the regular GSTVCash payments. This means that eligible recipients will receive up to S$500 each in total this year.

Heng said: "If our recipients spend some of these in our neighbourhood shops, it will support our local businesses as well!"

The one-off GSTVCash Special Payment will cost the Singapore government S$280 million and benefit up to 1.4 million Singaporeans.

Singapore's resident population totalled 3.9 million as at end-June 2015.

The vouchers will be paid in November and this is on top of the regular GSTVCash payout in August 2016.
What about Malaysia?

It has the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M), an initiative mooted by Bank Negara Malaysia to help the low-income group cope with rising cost of living.

The BR1M approach is in line with the World Bank's initiative that aid should be given in the form of direct and targeted subsidies.

Almost 7.1 million deserving applicants will receive BRIM 2016, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said recently.

He said the aid involved household assistance of RM1,050 to almost 162,000 recipients, household assistance of RM1,000 to 3.4 million recipients, household assistance of RM800 to 380,000 recipients, and individual assistance of RM400 to 3.2 million recipients.

The BR1M payouts have been disbursed in stages since Jan 28, 2016.

Last year, more than RM5 billion was handed out to deserving applicants, rising annually from the initial RM2.6 billion when it was first introduced in 2012.