Parliamentary reply by DPM Wong Kan Seng on on PRs' reactions to the measures taken to widen the gap between Singapore citizens and PRs.
Assoc Prof Paulin Tay Straughan: To ask the Prime Minister if he has received feedback from Permanent Residents (PRs) on their reactions to the measures taken to widen the gap between Singapore citizens and PRs.
Mr Wong Kan Seng (for the Prime Minister): The Government has received feedback from a small number of PRs relating to the difference in benefits between Singapore citizens and PRs, in the areas of education, healthcare, housing and the marriage and parenthood package. Most of these PRs wanted to know why they were not given the same benefits as Singaporeans, given that they also contributed to Singapore.
The Government recognises that PRs contribute to Singapore in many ways. Children of PRs are eligible for some subsidies for education, and enjoy quality education at very competitive fees. Healthcare costs are also affordable for PRs, as they still enjoy some subsidies and can make use of their Medisave to defray some healthcare expenses. PRs may also purchase HDB flats in the resale market.
In order to reflect the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship and to acknowledge citizens’ commitment to Singapore, Singaporeans will always enjoy greater subsidies and benefits than PRs. Some benefits, such as the Government-Paid Maternity Leave and the Baby Bonus, are thus given only to citizens.
Our approach is to strike a balance between giving citizens priority, and ensuring that Singapore remains attractive to PRs and foreigners so that we can sustain our competitive advantage and ensure Singapore’s growth and vibrancy for the long term.