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Is There A Social Policy In Singapore?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the relevance of Western conceptualisation of social policy and welfare programmes to understanding the approach taken by the People?s Action Party (PAP) government, in power since 1959, in social redistribution. It argues that the first generation PAP leadership, led by Lee Kuan Yew, had developed a robust political response to the normative dominance of the welfare state discourse. Few Singaporeans would subscribe to the discourse of the public citizen; more would harbour ideas of the independent citizen. The search for an East Asian welfare regime has strong ideological overtones. The period of decolonisation, beginning from the early 1950s until the PAP came into power in 1959, was a time of political uncertainty in Singapore. In 1955, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) came into force. The CPF has been erroneously regarded as a social security scheme.

Keywords: Central Provident Fund (CPF); East Asian welfare regime; Lee Kuan Yew; People?s Action Party (PAP) government; Singapore; social policy; social security; welfare state



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