Ex-Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) Tan Chuan Jin may have to be charged for propagating fake news when he said in 2015 that letting single parents have equal rights will lead to more children born out of wedlock.
A few pro-natal benefits like the full 16 weeks maternity leave enjoyed by married mothers only started to be given to unwed single mothers in January 2017, and a S$3,000 First Step grant in the child’s saving account in 2016.
In the latest statistics provided by the Ministry, only 836 children were born to unwed Singaporean mothers last year in 2017. This is a drop after 843 babies in 2016, proving that ex-Minister Tan Chuan Jin was wrong in his assessment that giving single mothers benefits will lead to them having more babies out of wedlock.
The Singapore government however continues to discriminate against single parents by refusing to provide a S$8,000 Baby Bonus.
According to social worker Mary John from Family Life Society, unwed mothers are usually victims of irresponsible boyfriends who do not even want to put their name on the child’s birth certificate.
“Is it an indication or signal that we condone single-parenthood? That is something that you bear in mind. I do believe that society is sympathetic to single mums but we also need to be careful not to appear to encourage it as something that you could do. We do see in other countries, individuals choosing as a matter of lifestyle: ‘It’s ok, I’m not married, but I don’t mind having a child.’ I don’t think we are there yet as a society. I’m sure there will be individuals and some who may disagree, but I don’t see that as a norm and I don’t personally feel that some of these changes would open the floodgates if you will, for that particular lifestyle to develop.”
Tan Chuan Jin has since been demoted from his ministerial position and now the Speaker of Parliament. While he may have missed out on the Prime Minister race, he is now queuing to be the next President like former Speaker Halimah Yacob.