CDCs make vital contributions, especially in times of crisis: PM Lee
They rolled out over 70 initiatives, including $20m voucher scheme for families
The five Community Development Councils (CDC) rolled out over 70 initiatives, including a student meal plan and a $20 million voucher scheme for 400,000 families, between February and June to help Singaporeans cope with Covid-19.
The CDC Vouchers Scheme eased the cost of living for middle-income families and the vouchers - meant for spending at heartland businesses - helped give a boost to hawkers and small businesses, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
He said: "CDCs often take a low profile, working quietly but steadily to fulfil their mission. But in times of crisis, their contributions are vital and become more apparent."
PM Lee was speaking yesterday at the swearing-in ceremony of five mayors at the People's Association (PA) headquarters in Jalan Besar. Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who is also PA's deputy chairman, attended the ceremony too.
The CDC Student Meals scheme helps children from needy homes to continue getting their meals so that they can focus on their studies.
Another initiative, SkillsFuture@CDC 2020, was an online event to help residents learn more about job search strategies and the skills needed to succeed in the future economy.
PM Lee, who is also PA chairman, said: "CDCs illustrate how we have structured our social support system in a thoughtful and creative way."
He added that they act as a bridge between residents and the Government, and function not just as hands and legs to implement the programmes, but also as the eyes and ears to identify emerging needs and gaps in social support.
When a resident is in need and does not know where to get help, he can turn to the CDC, which can assist or redirect him to the right agencies, and lift some of the burden of navigating the bureaucracy, he said.
"Most importantly, you can deliver services with a human touch, in a way that government agencies that operate on a national scale try very hard to do but will find it harder to do," PM Lee added.
The Government, he said, fully supports the mission of the CDCs and that is why in this year's Budget, CDCs were provided with an additional $75 million grant.
Yesterday, three mayors were reappointed - Ms Denise Phua, Ms Low Yen Ling and Mr Desmond Choo.
Ms Low remains chairman of the Mayors' Committee, with a focus on coordinating the work of the CDCs.
Newly elected Marine Parade GRC MP Fahmi Aliman will be Mayor of South East District, taking over from Dr Maliki Osman, who is now Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, as well as Second Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs.
At North West District, Mr Alex Yam, an MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, takes over from Dr Teo Ho Pin, who held the job for 19 years, and is Singapore's longest-serving mayor. He stepped down from politics at the July 10 General Election.
The new mayoral appointments were first announced at the end of July by the Prime Minister's Office and took effect on July 27.