Extra must be accomplished to enhance the low utilization charges for everlasting powers of legal professional: Denise Phua, Politics Information & Prime Tales
SINGAPORE – The proposed changes to the Permanent Powers System (LPA) rules will not solve the problem of low take-up rates, said Ms. Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC).
Instead, you need a robust and aggressive communication plan that uses a mix of strategies such as TV, radio and print, as well as grassroots workshops and incentive programs, to target different audiences, she added.
Speaking during the second reading debate on a bill to amend the Mental Performance Act, Ms. Phua said, citing numbers on dementia, “There is clearly a risk that Singaporeans will lose their mental capacity, an indolence that many have initiated take to apply for an LPA.
“While the proposed changes are expected to increase the expected number of LPAs to over 30,000, there is still a large pool of Singaporeans in need of more than a nudge.”
She added that the pool of certificate issuers should be expanded beyond doctors, lawyers and psychiatrists to include senior social workers and psychologists.
Other concerns raised during the debate centered on helping seniors who are not digitally savvy and making sure there is no fraud.
Mr. Patrick Tay (Pioneer) said a new electronic transaction system was “timely and commendable,” but helping seniors and people from low-income households get their LPA done is a concern that needs to be addressed.
Mr Tay, who was one of 12 MPs during the debate, also asked if the system would benefit seniors who may not be digitally savvy but are among those in dire need of LPAs.
He said the Office of the Public Guardian could also propose support programs to help low-income residents, such as: B. waiving or subsidizing the costs – between 25 and 80 US dollars – for the certification of the LPA by a certificate issuer.
Mr Tay also asked if the Department of Social and Family Development (MSF) would make further changes or simplify the process for applying for a substitute to save time and money.
In response to Ms. Phua about expanding the pool of certifiers, Ms. Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) said that she agreed to the need to be careful about expanding the types of professions LPAs can issue.
She said, “We have seen hostile legal battles between family members over LPAs, in which lawyers and doctors have been used to justify their assessments of whether the donor was mentally able or incapable at different times.
“It is advisable not to involve other proposed groups such as religious and grassroots leaders without careful consideration.”
Ms. Lim also asked for clarifications on the exceptional circumstances that will allow the public guardian to grant special permission to remotely execute LPAs if the donor cannot physically appear in front of a certificate issuer.
Mr. Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) asked about the steps the Public Guardian would take if a recipient is suspected of fraud or uses undue pressure to influence multiple donors.
About eight MPs are expected to speak when the debate on the bill resumes Tuesday.