Should Singaporeans pay for new ICs mandated by the Govt?
A TODAY reader this week questioned why Singaporeans like her who reach the age of 55 and are required by law to renew their identity cards (ICs) have to pay S$10 for them. Her letter generated many responses from other readers.
A TODAY reader this week questioned why Singaporeans like her who reach age 55 and are required by law to renew their identity cards (ICs) have to pay S$10 for them. Her letter generated many responses from other readers. Many agreed with her, saying that Singaporeans should be made to pay only for ICs they have damaged or lost. Others, however, said that the replacement fee of S$10 was reasonable to cover the cost.
I fully agree. Why should the Government charge the S$10 for IC renewal when one turns 55? How many Singaporeans turn 55 each year? The number is small. The cost is not going to break the bank. The Government reports a budget surplus almost every year. The state has ample budget to underwrite the cost. CHUA HWEE WOON
Year after year, the Government has a budget surplus. Such costs should be covered as a privilege of citizenship. DZULKIFLI LOH
Agree that the Government shouldn't charge for change of ICs. Charges should be imposed only for replacement of damaged or lost ICs. SILVESTER CHUA
Agree. It's not the amount. Since it's a mandatory change, rather than a replacement for a lost one, a fee should not be charged. FELIX KIM
Next time, do we have to pay to vote if the voting slips have additional safety features? JIMMY WAN
Agree. I have done my part as a Singaporean, paying income tax till my last year of work at the age of 63. In return, why can't the Government give us a replacement IC at no cost upon reaching the retirement age? MOHAMED YUSOF ISMAIL
I changed my IC when I was 45. Having to change it again at 55 will be an inconvenience that is required by law. Hence, I should not have to pay. WAI YEE
Why charge us for an IC, when we are born and raised here and have served National Service? ANTHONIE SIQURA
Anthonie Siqura, you will pay one way or the other, because new ICs do not grow on trees. KEYNES SMITH
To me, as a Singapore citizen, to pay S$10 to renew my IC is to show my love for my country. HAY HANNAH
Hay Hannah, if your country loves you, it should do it for free. It is an IC, not a welfare benefit. I don’t want to buy my identity, however cheap it may be. EMILINE TAY
(Why pay?) So that we are all somewhat accountable for our own identity and don't take things for granted. CHERYL SIM
Do new citizens have to pay for their ICs? WINSTON THOMAS
ICs need materials to make, right? So S$10 is okay. Why make a big deal out of it? ANDREW ANG
The quality of our IC is poor, it breaks very easily. NOOR AZIZA
The quality of the plastic is worse than an ez-link card and many other cards. It is brittle and cracks easily. ROBERT LEE
The IC is made of what? What do you get for free nowadays? CHANDRIKA NAIR
Whatever I'm asked to pay is already heavily subsidised by our Government. I'm truly grateful. LONG TAN
If my IC photo does not resemble my current appearance, I am likely to have problems when it comes to identity verification. Hence, I find the subsidised re-registration fee of S$10 a non-issue. After all, what is S$10 when you enjoy a sense of security? JEFFREY LAW LE BENG
I replaced mine in 2017, I paid S$10 without any complaint. That is because I treasure my citizenship. STEVEN LEE
The bigger question is not whether S$10 is appropriate for an IC replacement, but what purpose is served through such a replacement? One might say it is being done to update the picture on the card and have it reflect our likeness better, but that answer misses the point on who benefits. Given recent restrictions under the Personal Data Protection Act that limit the use, collection and disclosure of IC numbers, an IC now helps us only in legal, regulatory and government matters. These are areas where one's identification has to be established with a high degree of fidelity. Therefore, the utility of an IC has diminished. Why then is there a move to get new photos for an instrument that has limited use? Is it to update the biometric data of citizens, which can be vital as part of the National Registration Identity Card system? If so, the primary beneficiary of a new IC with an updated photo is the system, and the drivers of the system should bear the costs. It may even help to offer citizens an incentive to come forth and have their pictures updated, so that the system stays relevant and updated. VINEET VOHRA
These comments were first posted to TODAY’s Facebook page or sent to Voices. They have been edited for clarity, accuracy and length.