Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap (Aljunied): Sir, I have a number of elderly and also non-English speaking residents who approached me for assistance to do online application for Singapore Citizenship or Singapore Permanent Residence for their foreign spouse. When asked for a reason why they are not able to do so, among the responses are, they either do not have a computer, scanner and so on, and for those who have, they shared that they are not savvy enough to perform an online application.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority’s statistical data shows in 2019, 11% of individuals are non-Internet users and there are still 11% of resident households that are without computers, including desktop, laptops, notebooks and tablets. Apart from not having computer facilities and online unfamiliarity, some mentioned language barrier as an issue, as the online application is only in English. Some residents shared that they had approached ICA officers to seek assistance, but was advised to turn to relatives, friends, or alternatively, to approach immigration agents. I understand that Malaysian agents charge a fee of between $300 and $400, which is indeed a huge sum, especially for low-income groups.
I do hope the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) could provide better support in this area. One suggestion is for ICA to work with People’s Association in having a number of designated community centres, maybe one in each region, to provide the required facilities and other forms of support to Singaporeans who need such.
Ministry of Home Affairs
1 March 2021