Starting yesterday (Jan 3), under the orders of Ministry of Health, KK Hospital will reject all cash payments in order to force Singapore into a cashless society. Out of over 40 clinics and specialist centre, 10 were selected to ban cash transaction. The 10 units are two maternity clinics, one children specialist clinic, day surgery unit, birthing unit, ultrasound scan unit, eye specialist unit, recovery centre, food nutrition centre and a 24-hour clinic.
KK Hospital told Chinese state media reporters that they will eliminate all cash transactions by late 2019. If a patient has no card payment alternative, they will be escorted to a designated cashier at two corners of the hospital to make payment.
The “cashless society” drive is a pet project of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said he admired China’s cashless transactions and demanded Singaporeans do the same. Some newly-renovated and constructed government food centres also either ban cash transactions or make diners who choose to pay cash to pay a further 10% above food prices.
Elderly Singaporeans and the poor who do not have a bank account are the biggest casualties of the Prime Minister’s “cashless society” vision.