Newsbites – Red Dot gets a stopper, cleaning firms get the books, telcos get fined

Authorities say “no” to pro-family event at Padang

The Ministry of Social and Family Development rejected an application by TOUCH Family Services, an affiliate of TOUCH Community Services founded by Faith Community Baptist Church senior pastor Lawrence Khong, to hold a pro-family event at the Padang, on grounds that the location was not suitable. MSF lso recommended alternatives for TOUCH Family Services to hold the event, which was named Red Dot Family Moment 2014.

The event was meant to “celebrate the International Year of the Family 2014 and to highlight the important role of family in nation building as part of the SG50 celebrations”, and was to be held on 28 June. There is no specific date for celebrating the International Year of the Family. Incidentally, another event of a similar name, Pink Dot 2014, is also scheduled on 28 June at Hong Lim Park.


Innovators win $20k in hackathon to help people with disabilities

Five teams that participated in a hackathon that aims to spur ideas to help people with disabilities will each receive $20,000 in seed funding to develop their projects. The hackathon was part of the Enabling Community coLAB project headed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development and SG Enable. Winning projects include a marketing and ticketing Web platform to showcase talented performing artistes with disabilities, and a mobile app that allows users to access and contribute information about accessibility at a particular location.


More incentives for cleaning companies to train workers

Cleaning companies will be offered monetary subsidies and accessibility to training courses for their workers, in a bid to raise productivity in the sector. The initiative, announced by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, was meant to help companies deal with licensing requirements to train workers, which will kick in from 1 September. Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan indicated that up to 4,500 workers could be trained each month from now until August.

Meanwhile, 18 cleaning companies have received their licences to operate, which demands that they pay their workers a basic wage of $1,000 and supervisors $1,600. It was reported that about another 110 cleaning companies have submitted their licence applications, but there is no news of similar submissions by other companies. The total number of cleaning companies in Singapore is estimated to be about 900.


Telco operators fined for fire that knocked out services in Oct 2013

SingTel, CityNet and OpenNet have been fined by the Infocomm Development Authority for the fire at the Bukit Panjang Exchange in October 2013, which led to service disruptions for close to 270,000 subscribers. SingTel was fined $6m, CityNet S$300,000 and OpenNet S$200,000. IDA charged that the operators had not “fulfilled their respective obligations, such as to provide sufficiently-resilient telecommunications systems and services, and to restore services to affected end users as quickly as possible”. SingTel has accepted the fine and IDA’s findings, and indicated that it has taken steps to ensure similar incidents will not occur.


Getai encourages talking about death

Lien Foundation and the Ang Chin Moh Foundation aims to encourage the elderly to talk more openly about death issues, through a “Die Die Must Say” campaign that will kick off with a series of getai performances, a live stage show usually held during the Hungry Ghost Festival in Singapore.