National Day Rally impact on Family - Lower Preschool and Tertiary fees, Higher Retirement age and a Disneyland?




Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had unveiled several initiatives for the National Day Rally.



Among the plans, there are some benefits as well as debatable plans that would impact the families of Singapore. We analyze the impact of the changes made during the National Day Rally



Preschool subsidies

  • The income ceiling for means-tested subsidies to raise from $7500  a month to $ 12000. This will impact 30,000 households in 2020

  • Quantum of subsidies will increase across the board. The aim is to bring full-day school expenses to around $300 per month per child. This would place within similar cost for primary school after-school student care.

  • Government-supported preschool to raise from 50% to 80%


Verdict

This is a welcoming initiative, especially for new families. Currently, the cost of preschool could go as high as $1000 or more per child in 'branded' preschool. With more choices and higher subsidies, this could potentially mitigate the high perceived cost of raising a child in Singapore.  With the higher income ceiling, more middle-class families can benefit.

To make this initiative better, curb the fees at Preschool as well. It is noted that whenever there is a subsidies increase, preschools tend to increase their fees by similar margins, thus offsetting the benefits. The aim should be to regularise preschool fees as what they do with primary school fees to see a stronger impact.

Tertiary fees and Government Bursaries




  • Annual fees for full-time general degree students at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and Singapore University of Social Science (SUSS) to be lowered from $8000 to $7500

  • University students will be able to get bursaries of up to 75% of degrees fees, up from 50%

  • Bursary coverage for polytechnic diploma students to be from 80% to 95%. This will cover diploma and degree students at the Institue of Technical Education, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Lasalle College of the Arts.

  • The change will apply to existing and new students from the next academic years

Verdict
A positive change to provide higher education means for a lower-income family. It should have included National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) since they are considered the mainstream universities. 



Retirement and Re-employment age




  • Retirement age to raise from 62 to 63 in 2022 and eventually to 65 in 2030

  • Reemployment age will raise from 67to 68 in 2022 and eventually to 70 by 2030

  • Increase CPF contribution rates for workers above 55 years old over the next 10 years. 

  • Current CPF withdrawal policies of withdrawal ages to remain the same. Singaporeans will be able to take money at 55 years old and start CPF payout from Age 65


Verdict
This is a highly anticipated announcement. Before one raises the ruckus about working till death, it is noted that raising retirement and re-employment age protects the older generation from early forced retirement. In addition, the increase in CPF contribution is good for the employee if the increase would be borne by the employee. The most important thing is that the current CPF withdrawal policies are to remain the same regardless.

Other than raising the retirement age, the main issue of re-employment should be looked into. PMETs who lost their jobs in their 40s and 50s have found re-employment to be challenging with many taking up gig economy roles as a result. Raising retirement age and re-employment age would not help if you do not have a permanent job.




Pulau Brani - The next Disneyland?


  • A Downtown South resort is slanted to be developed in Pulau Brani similar to Downtown East. Pulau Brani will be developed with Sentosa. There is a hint that it will host similar attractions to Universal Studios and we are keeping our fingers crossed on a potential Disneyland site.

  • Others to be redeveloped includes the Greater Southern Waterfront encompassing 2000 ha of land, which is 6 times the size of Marina Bay and double the size of Punggol!

Verdict
Way back in the early 2000s, there were rumours that Disneyland would be coming to Singapore but it did not materialise. With this new development, it may be possible that Disneyland would be back into play in Singapore. That would certainly make a part of Singapore the Happiest Place on Earth!









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