Monday, March 12, 2007

Money Definitely No Enough

MP for Jalan Besar Dr Lily Neo told parliament that plans by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) to raise by $30 to $115 the public assistance (PA) handout to those with no means of income due to age, illness or disability, was not enough. Said Dr Neo, “My senior constituents told me they need to skip one meal a day so as to manage to survive on the PA amount of $260, and the extra $1 proposed by MCYs will not be able to buy a meal in any hawker centre.” Minister Vivian (male, not female) replied that the entitlements have to kept low so as not to erode the incentive to work. Hello, countered the well coiffured Dr Neo, “surely this line of argument shouldn’t be applied to people who can never work because of disability.” At this stage, Vivian the male Minister told her they always can skip an appointment with the hair-dresser if they want 3 full meals a day. “And tell them not to dance on the bar-top, because that will lead to fights because of jealous boyfriends”. When Dr Neo persisted by reminding the Minister with “Shouldn’t providing three meals a day be a priority of his promise to help the poor cope with higher cost of living, thanks to the GST increase?”, a desperate Vivian scouring the house for support noted that since Opposition MPs are silent on the MCYS debate, perhaps they agree with “my policies, my philosophy and my programmes.” To which Workers’ Party chairman Ms Sylvia Lim replied, “Sir, I’d like to to respond to the minister that there are still four years to ago. We are just enjoying ourselves, watching him dig his own grave.”