Photo of elderly with Lee Hsien Loong taken at Toa Payoh from States Times Review

According to SingHealth, one in four people who were screened between July 2015 and July 2016 did not returned for a doctor’s follow-up and most of them are elderly. As more elderly do not turn up for doctor’s follow-up despite having being diagnosed of severe health diseases, the Singapore Health Ministry had to introduce a S$5 health screening which includes one free doctor’s follow-up for Singaporeans above the age of 40.

The S$5 health screening and doctor’s follow-up is cheaper than the pioneer generation under Community Health Assist Scheme are paying. The health screening will check for five diseases – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cervical and colorectal cancer – from this September.

Poverty remains an acute problem for elderly in Singapore, who often work in low income, long hours and hard labour jobs like cleaners, security guards and cardboard collection. Singaporean elderly are also unable to retire due to the numerous restrictions on payout – including increasing Minimum Sum, Withdrawal Age and depression of interest rates – enforced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In 2014, the number of elderly suicides reached a historical high of 126. This is a 60% jump from only 79 in 2000. Many elderly Singaporeans have also no money for a proper burial and many has turned to volunteer welfare organisations to seek “free” funerals.

Read: More elderly Singaporeans committing suicides to end poverty and hardship

Read: Free funeral service for elderly poor increase in demand in Singapore

Lee Hsien Loong sits as the Chairman of GIC, managing the country’s CPF funds, with his wife Ho Ching, the CEO of Temasek Holdings.