Photo of Gan Kim Yong from The Straits Times

In a rare peek over Singapore’s widely-censored poverty statistics, Singapore’s Health Minister Gan Kim Yong unwittingly exposed that 1.3 million Singaporeans are eligible for the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).

To be eligible for CHAS medical subsidies, one will has to earn less than S$1,800 household monthly income per person. This is only about S$1,440 in take-home pay after CPF deductions. As there is no poverty line in Singapore, S$1,440 is considered “poor” as it is less than half the 2016’s median monthly salary of S$4,056, and less than a quarter of the GDP per capita of S$6,097 in a month.

As such, it is safe to conclude that the 1.3 million Singaporeans (38% of the population) are poor.

The finding however is no surprise as a recent Ministry of Social and Family Affairs (MSF) report revealed that the number of Singaporeans receiving public assistance ComCare reached its highest ever in 2015. No statistic was provided for 2016 and 2017 by the ministry.

Read: Ministry: Poverty in Singapore reached worst ever, jumped 43.45% in 3 years

Forming the core group of Singaporean poor are the elderly, who do not have enough CPF money to retire. Part of the key reasons why CPF money is increasingly inaccessible is because of rising Minimum Sum and Withdrawal Age enacted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. CPF account holders are also slapped by the most expensive politician with a 17-year-long depression of CPF interest rate at 2.5% – less than half of it’s sister fund in Malaysia, the EPF.

The Singapore government has resigned to the fate of its worsening economy, with Lee Hsien Loong confirming that unemployment will continue to “creep up” in his recent May Day rally speech. Poverty is likely to worsen and affect more than 1.3 million – notably marked by of course with more “eligible” for CHAS.

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