Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for MCCY, launched the national sports movement ActiveSG on 26 April 2014. He also announced that every Singaporean and permanent resident can get $100 credit to use for admission to swimming complexes, gyms; payment of programmes and activities; and booking of facilities. All these are managed by Singapore Sports Council (now renamed as Sports Singapore). This initiative is to get Singaporeans and PRs active in sports for healthy living.
With about 3.8 million Singaporeans and PRs, $380 million of ActiveSg credits can potentially be given out. Thus far, 258,000 people have signed up for free membership of ActiveSg. (The Straits Times, 16 May 2014). This number of members translates to $25.8 million (or 6.78% of total credits set aside).
$380 million is a large sum of money if fully disbursed. It is about 29% of the total budgeted operating expenditure of MCCY for FY2014/15. This amount would not come from total budgeted operating expenditure of MCCY (if I got this right). Then question is where the money is coming from?
I support sports and fitness programmes for all people. I wish that more people can come on board to keep healthy, money incentive or not. Not all Singaporeans would take advantage of this ActiveSG credit. Those who have been using facilities managed by Sports Singapore will benefit. There is also a sizeable number of citizens who go on fitness programmes in the community clubs/centres, such as yoga and taiji. I wish these fitness programmes run by People’s Association can be included in the use of $100. This is in line with engaging as many Singaporeans in healthy lifestyle.
There is also a group of people who are not into sports or fitness programmes. It would be naïve to think that $100 would be great incentive for them to suddenly engage in sports. What else can we do to get them change their lives to make physical exercises a way of life and not just a ones-off activity?