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Newsbites – MPs call for more help to citizens, Bill for nuclear security laws introduced, PLSE stays

MPs call for review of CPF system, cooling measures for home buyers

Members of Parliament has called for the government to do more for the citizens in its second term. Among other items, MPs called for find ways to reduce concerns over the rising CPF Minimum Sum. MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC, Zaqy Mohamad said, "Only half of Singaporeans today are able to meet their Minimum Sum. Thus, I can certainly understand the anxiety and fear given the barriers."

"So much of the frustration I encounter with the Minimums Sum or the Retirement Account after a certain age is due to the inflexibility when one falls into difficulty in the use of funds to pay for mortgage or change in property, especially if they have lost their job, or are required to take a lower pay or have drawn down their CPF fully, in their senior years."

MP for West Coast GRC, Foo Mee Har also called for the government to review some of the cooling measures the government has earlier implemented for the purchase of homes, to make it easier for citizens to upgrade their homes. Ms Foo suggested that additional buyer's stamp duty could be collected upon completion of a new property rather than upfront.

MPs also suggested more help for the sandwiched class, or those who are middle-income earners.

 

PSLE to remain in education system

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat highlighted the importance of the Primary School Leaving Examination in Singapore's education system and noted that it will remain. This despite public criticism about the PSLE causing undue pressure for students and parents.

"Going forward, the PSLE will continue to be an important milestone examination in the system — to provide the assessment to help each child plan the next step of his education journey that is best for him, given his current pace of development, and to enable our schools and teachers to provide appropriate educational support for each child," Mr Heng was quoted by media as saying. It is not clear now his renewed emphasis of the importance of the PSLE will ease these concerns about a stressful education environment.

 

Govt introduces new Bill for nuclear security laws

The government tabled a Bill yesterday to amend laws for Singapore's nuclear security. This will allow Singapore to accede to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 amendments. Changes include making it an offence to use nuclear material to cause harm to or threaten another, making nuclear offences extraditable crimes, increasing penalties for trading or possession of radioactive materials or irradiating apparatus without a licence, and re-defining of "nuclear material" to align with the Convention.

 

Drug courier escapes the gallows

Singaporean Yip Mun Hei, 42, was spared from hanging for drug trafficking, and will instead be re-sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane. The Courts noted that Mr Yip has offered substantive help to the Central Narcotics Bureau, and that his role in the offence was restricted to only that of a courier.