Photo of Tan Chuan Jin from CNA

Speaking at a minister visit in Toa Payoh yesterday (Mar 26), Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin said that there is no need for more social workers or more resources to pay them more. Instead, the Minister said that the social service sector merely needs “better coordination” to sort out the understaff problem in various voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs):

“Improved organisation and coordination are needed to provide better help for communities, and it is not about pouring in more resources or headcount.”

The PAP Minister then said his People Association (PA) and PAP town councils will take the “lead”:

“To this end, Members of Parliament and grassroots leaders should take the lead in pulling together various stakeholders, from merchants to voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs). I want to encourage the (grassroots) advisers to play a lead role because some agencies aren’t always funded by the Government, so they operate very much independently.”

Minister Tan Chuan Jin said there are already enough resources but just that nobody knows who to go to and that the different organisations are not sharing information with each other:

“Sometimes… you know each other’s organisations exist but — you’ll be surprised — we’re a bit reluctant to share information because it’s a bit confidential or we’re not sure, on the other side, what they’re doing. But when groups collaborate and forge relationships, a deeper sense of trust is established, and the ensuing exchange of information is very valuable. Collaboration and coordination between agencies that engage in similar activities is key.”

Singapore has the second highest income inequality when compared with the OECD nations. The Singapore government refuse to set a poverty line because doing so will reveal statistics damaging the first-world reputation the ruling party is trying to maintain.