Singapore

People with disabilities a focus for 2017 Budget

Partnership between government, beneficiaries and employers crucial

Singaporeans with disabilities can expect a helping hand from this year's Budget. And so can the elderly and young families.

Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law, said this during a visit to the Enabling Village - a community space where people with disabilities can shop, eat, access services and attend training sessions.

When asked if the Budget will help those with disabilities in education, integration or employment, Ms Indranee said: "I can't give away much on that but the message really is that if you're disabled, it doesn't mean that you're not able to contribute and be a fully-functioning part of society.

"So, training may be one part, helping them to integrate is another part but getting people to participate - employers, people who can take them on, give employment - is important as well."

People with disabilities make up just 0.55 per cent of the resident labour force in Singapore. But 3.4 per cent of residents here aged 18-49 have a disability.

Ms Indranee said there may be "a large number who may not be (working) but could potentially be, and that's the reason why you have a place like the Enabling Village to be able to help them make that transition".

The message really is that if you’re disabled, it doesn’t mean that you’re not able to contribute and be a fully-functioning part of society. Ms Indranee Rajah

"The ultimate goal and aim is that anybody who is disabled, but who would be able to participate productively in some form or other, should be able to have the opportunity to do so," she said.

RIGHT MINDSET

For that to happen, society needs to have the "right mindset" and there must be a partnership between the Government, the beneficiaries and employers, she said.

In 2015, $4 million was allocated to providing transport for people with disabilities.

In 2014, $56 million was given to help 50,000 children with special needs and people with disabilities in early intervention and transport subsidies. - THE STRAITS TIMES

disabilityMINISTRY OF FINANCE (MOF)Singapore