Why charge Singaporeans for new ICs?
Last week, I received a letter from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to say that I am required to re-register for an identity card because I will be reaching that milestone age of 55.
Last week, I received a letter from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to say that I am required to re-register for an identity card (IC) because I will be reaching that milestone age of 55.
It says I must do so within a year after my birthday. I can see the logic of this as no one would be able to recognise me from my IC photograph. Then it tells me I have to pay S$10.
I don’t know when this policy of paying a fee for the pink card was put in place. I checked the ICA website and it says that the S$10 fee is also levied for those aged 15 and those aged 30.
For those who turn 55, the policy was introduced and effective from January 2017. As a Singaporean who has never had to pay for her IC in her life, I was flabbergasted.
For me, it's not a question of affordability. It is about what this payment smacks of — a transaction to re-affirm your citizenship.
What is worse is that failing to re-register is an offence under the National Registration Act. Offenders can be fined up to S$5,000 or jailed up to five years or punished with both, if convicted.
I wonder how many people in the 2017 and 2018 cohort have not paid up.
S$10 might be small change to some, but I am quite sure that some people would find it hard to put S$10 together. Or they will forget. Or wonder why they should bother since they already have an IC.
I didn’t ask to have my IC changed and while any added security features are welcomed, I didn’t ask for them either. ICA said that the cost is subsidised for citizens, but my question is why a fee should even be levied for a replacement card.
The State should underwrite the cost and not demand co-payment for something as fundamental to our citizenship as our precious pink IC.
This is not a driving licence (not everyone drives) nor a passport (not everyone travels).
We are not a big, populous country and underwriting the cost would be a sign that every citizen, rich or poor, is treasured.
I want my new IC to be a celebration of my citizenship, something I will be happy to have and to hold. Not something I paid S$10 for.
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