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Parliamentary questions for 11 July 2016

The Singapore Parliament will sit at 1.30pm today for the 21st session of the 13th Parliament.

86 oral questions and 50 written questions have been scheduled to be asked.

The topic of lift breakdowns seems to be the main concern of the MPs in this parliamentary, having 5 MPs from both People's Action Party and Workers' Party fielding questions surrounding the issue to Minister of National Development.

Other than that, a few other questions that may be interesting to see answers from.

Member of Parliament, Mr Alex Yam Ziming in his questions, ask the Minister for Communications and Information with regard to IDA's requirement that all public servants' computers with Government email capabilities be delinked from the Internet.

He asks what are the reasons that prompt such a major review and what are the other solutions that have been considered before arriving at the current guidelines. Whether inputs from other Ministries and agencies have been sought in terms of its implementation; and what potential impact will the requirement have on productivity and service delivery of our public servants.

Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong also fielded questions on this issue, asking how will the Government help businesses and organisations protect themselves against the threats behind the move to delink Internet access on public servants' computers; whether the move will affect the development of the Smart Nation platform and its pervasive connectivity; and what steps will be taken to restore public confidence in the Smart Nation vision.

NCMP, Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong will be asking Minister for Communications and Information, how much has the Government spent on advertisements and sponsored posts on online media platforms for each year from 2011 to 2015 and what is the breakdown of this spending by each Ministry.

The answer to Mr Tan's question may be interesting to many especially the opposition parties who contested in the last General Election as it would seem to some that a massive PR campaign was launched leading towards and during the period of General Election to promote the initiatives by the government, such as Pioneer Generation Package, SG50, and many other.

Members of the public may be disappointed to know that the issue regarding the defective trains manufactured in China will not be discussed in this month's Parliamentary sitting because the questions have to be filed 7 clear days before the Parliament sits.

Read : Workers’ Party to file questions on defective China manufactured trains in Parliament

Below are the questions filed towards the various Ministers

[accordions] [accordion title="Prime Minister" load="hide"]

Mr Ong Teng Koon: To ask the Prime Minister what additional measures are being taken to enhance anti-money laundering compliance by financial institutions in the wake of the withdrawal of BSI's merchant banking licence.

Mr Ong Teng Koon: To ask the Prime Minister what are the cybersecurity measures being taken to ensure the integrity of our banking system and financial transactions in light of the recent cyber theft incident encountered by Bangladesh Bank.

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Prime Minister whether all job openings in the Public Service can be posted not just on [email protected] but on the National Jobs Bank which is a portal to encourage job postings by all employers other than those mandated under the Fair Consideration Framework.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Prime Minister with regard to the Elections Department's filing of police reports against two individuals for alleged violations of Cooling-Off Day regulations for the Bukit Batok by- election (a) what constitutes "regular propagation, promotion and discussion of political issues" as stated in its press statement; and (b) at which point is such individual propagation no longer within the exception of "transmitting personal political views on a non-commercial basis using the Internet".

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Prime Minister how the new licensing regime for crowdfunding platforms announced by MAS is expected to support crowdfunding as an alternative source of financing for start-ups and SMEs as well as ensure schemes under crowdfunding are fair, transparent and protect investors against frauds.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Prime Minister (a) how many female pensioners are there currently who have retired before 2005; (b) whether the Ministry will consider extending equal medical benefits to this group of pensioners' dependants especially spouses; and (c) how much is the projected incremental pension expenditure should equal benefits be extended to the pensioners' dependants including spouses.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government will review the voting age.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Prime Minister (a) how many financial institutions have been investigated from 2013 to 2016 for bypassing loan restrictions on motor vehicles; and (b) whether there are any plans to tighten the regulations to effectively authenticate the purchase price of motor vehicles stated in the loan agreements.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Transport" load="hide"]

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the Ministry requires Uber and GrabCar vehicles to have the same insurance and car inspection schedules as taxis in Singapore; (b) why is the duration of courses for taxi and private hire drivers different; (c) whether there is an age restriction on Uber and GrabCar drivers; and (d) whether permanent residents and work permit holders who possess Singapore driving licences are eligible to be Uber and GrabCar drivers.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Transport if he can provide an update on whether the Ministry is adjusting the Vehicle Entry Permit fee and toll charges for vehicles entering Singapore in response to the Malaysian authorities' intention to charge RM20 for each foreign vehicle entering Johor from Singapore.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport what are the safety measures in place during MRT breakdowns to ensure that (i) commuters will not be trapped in darkness during a power failure occurring either in the tunnels or elsewhere on the track during night-time; and (ii) commuters will not be endangered when required to walk along LRT/MRT tracks during breakdowns.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry (i) monitors whether sufficient buses are deployed at each affected MRT station during breakdowns and whether these buses are deployed efficiently enough to minimise disruption to commuters; and (ii) takes these two factors into consideration in evaluating the performance of the operators.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether LTA will consider limiting the categories that private hire cars and taxi companies can bid for COEs as against individual car owners; (b) whether LTA will consider segregating COE bidding between individual owners and companies including car dealers on behalf of individual buyers; and (c) whether LTA has studied the impact of separating COE pricing from new car purchases.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry will take out private hire car firms like Uber and Grab Taxi from the COE bidding process and treat them similar to taxi operators so that the COE system is not distorted by their bids for COEs.

Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) in view of a recently published letter by Uber Singapore on the over-regulated approach taken by the Ministry on private car hire companies, whether there has been adequate dialogue with these companies during the Ministry's engagement with stakeholders on the recently announced 'light touch' regulations for ride- sharing app companies and private car hire drivers; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider exempting taxi operators from the Quality of Service, Taxi Availability and other compliance licensing requirements.

Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry will consider requiring private hire car leasing companies to provide their drivers each with a certified original copy of the vehicle's Certificate of Insurance to ensure that drivers are fully aware of their own accident excess liabilities and other vehicle-related risks.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Transport whether he can provide an update on the policies to promote a car-lite society including but not limited to assessing the impact of (i) the latest relaxation of car loans and (ii) raising public car park charges on car ownership.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many traffic accidents involving foreign-registered vehicles have been reported in the last three years; and (b) what measures are in place to ensure that motorists of foreign-registered vehicles are held accountable for personal injury and/or vehicle damage in the event of a traffic accident in Singapore.

Mr Yee Chia Hsing: To ask the Minister for Transport if he can provide an update on the investigation into the cause of the engine fire on SQ368 on 27 June 2016 including whether pre-flight checks have been conducted properly and what is being done to ensure that a similar incident does not happen again.

Dr Chia Shi-Lu: To ask the Minister for Transport with regard to T or X- junctions where vehicles are allowed to turn right when the traffic light is green while pedestrians are crossing (a) how many injuries and fatalities have occurred at these junctions in the last five years; and (b) where there are green arrows at such junctions, on average, how long do they remain on green and approximately how many cars are allowed to turn.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how do the frequency and severity of oil spills on our roads compare with other major cities; and (b) what are the estimated economic losses due to the damage and travel delays caused.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) to date, what is the number of overhead bridges that have lifts; and (b) what are the alternative solutions to make overhead bridges, especially those found in mature estates, elderly and handicap friendly if lifts and ramps cannot be installed for some reason.

Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Transport with the delayed commencement of MRT trains affecting 13 train stations on Sundays with effect from June (a) how many commuters especially workers will be affected; (b) whether more bus services will ply along the train route with minimum inconvenience to workers commencing work at 7 am or earlier; and (c) whether the Ministry will work with the affected sectors such as the hospitals to assist healthcare workers commuting via public transport and who commence work at 7 am.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the free travel to CBD MRT stations will be extended in its coming review; (b) how many commuters have benefitted from this scheme since it was launched; (c) what is the percentage of improvement it has contributed to peak-hour travel; and (d) whether the scheme can be extended to more stations in non-CBD areas serving the industrial and business parks.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether there are plans to incorporate a wider use of automated vehicle systems into our transport system; (b) how energy-efficient and cost-effective are these systems; and (c) what plans are there to help drivers who may be inevitably displaced.

Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many Malaysian cars have entered and left Singapore each year from 2010 to 2015; and (b) how many traffic offences involving Malaysian cars have there been during this time.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) when will noise barriers be set up between Chua Chu Kang and Bukit Gombak MRT stations; (b) what are the locations of these barriers; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider the inclusion of new BTO developments such as Keat Hong Pride and Keat Hong Crest in the implementation of these noise barriers due to their close proximity to the MRT tracks.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Transport as the current design of wheelchair-accessible buses does not provide for means to secure open prams and LTA has deemed it safer for the caregiver to be seated with the child in his or her arms and the pram folded, how can LTA help to ensure inclusiveness in our public transport system to better cater to the needs of families with young children.

Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the Ministry will consider reviewing the current practice of subjecting registered new cars for inspection from the third year onwards to the fourth year instead as increasingly there have been new improvements in car designs and higher safety standards in vehicles; and (b) whether inspection works done by authorised car dealers who provide servicing and maintenance of fairly new vehicles can also qualify as approved inspection works and their reports taken as a proxy for the third year instead of sending the vehicle to an inspection center.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the breakdown in numbers of female bus captains currently employed by the four public bus operators; and (b) whether LTA has any plans to work with the public bus operators to recruit more women to join the bus captain profession especially those seeking to re-enter the workforce.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the implementation of the Green Man Plus Scheme at the pedestrian crossing along Potong Pasir Avenue 1 between blocks 109 and 141 that is currently scheduled for June 2017 can be done earlier so as to aid the elderly and disabled residents living in the vicinity.

Mr Thomas Chua Kee Seng: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how is the COE quota for Category D vehicles being determined; and (b) what is the long-term trend of the allowable motorcycle population in Singapore in view of the needs of low-income workers to own motorcycles due to their work requirements.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Transport whether a taxi stand can be implemented at a suitable location in the vicinity of blocks 216 to 222 at Lorong 8 Toa Payoh at the request of the residents who reside in the area.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for National Development" load="hide"]

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for National Development what is the recourse for HDB residents where there are repeated lift breakdowns, slow rectifications due to shortage of lift parts, lack of qualified manpower to conduct repair works and the lift company has already been penalised for slow rectification but still fails to deliver timely and effective service.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether the Ministry will consider specifying a ceiling rate for lift breakdowns or a maximum period in which the breakdown rate consistently exceeds 0.1 such that the lift company that fails to meet the standard will be barred from operations; and (b) whether the Ministry will statutorily require lift companies to professionally train and certify their lift installation and maintenance workers before deployment.

Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the progress on the independent audit checks of passenger lifts by BCA; (b) what are some of the key findings so far; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider a new lift upgrading programme to help Town Councils replace older lifts that experience frequent breakdowns.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the recent spate of HDB lifts' malfunctions could have been prevented and whether there is an urgent need to step up the maintenance regime and audit checks to ensure high serviceability and safety standards of all lifts.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider (i) tightening the criteria of lift procurements (ii) embarking an open system specification, requiring potential lift suppliers bidding for HDB projects to facilitate use of common parts for their lifts and (iii) setting up a lift expert team in BCA or to better regulate lift maintenance companies and working with the industry to build up sufficient lift maintenance staff to service the lifts in Singapore.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the expected additional cost to Town Councils as a result of BCA's new standards on lift maintenance; (b) whether HDB will provide specific lift- maintenance grants to Town Councils as a result of BCA's modified regime; and (c) whether HDB will consider a subsidy or co-payment scheme for HDB lift parts that turn obsolete prematurely.

Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the tightening of regulations for lift maintenance announced by BCA on 16 June 2016 takes into account the potential increase in demand for manpower in the relevant fields.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the Government's estimated budget for the Estate Upgrading Programme (EUP) for private estates for the next three years; and (b) what is the schedule for calling for EUP nominations each year.

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for National Development how the development of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high speed rail will impact the Jurong East region and neighbouring estates.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider making make it mandatory to cover third party claims under the HDB Fire Insurance Scheme.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the current policy and approval process for granting flat owners subsidies under HDB's Goodwill Repair Assistance Scheme; and (b) whether MPs and grassroot advisors have a role to play in this process and, if so, what is their role.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider extending the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme to seniors living in private estates who have no one supporting them and who have little savings.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development given the construction sector's heavy reliance on foreign manpower, what are the specific incentives and grants available to help businesses in the construction sector, especially SMEs, to cope with the increase in the foreign worker levy.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for National Development whether HDB will include the option to reconstruct apron drains and rescreed void decks under block-related works for Town Councils in its Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) manual.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development what is the status of the review to make it compulsory for all HDB flat owners servicing their housing loans to take up the Home Protection Scheme (HPS).

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for National Development as of June 2016 (a) what is the number of 2-room HDB flats including studio apartments that have been built and left unsold; (b) what is the percentage of 2-room flats on 99-year lease versus flexi-lease that have been sold; and (c) what is the number of flexi-lease 2-room flats including studio apartment that have been returned to HDB and what are the main reasons for such returns.

Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef: To ask the Minister for National Development whether there are national level plans to take enforcement action on the cluttering issue in common spaces of HDB flats and housing estates.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for National Development what are the measures taken to deter pet abandonment and lower the burden of proof in a pet abandonment case so that the irresponsible owner can be taken to task.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for National Development if he can provide an updated listing of completed Estate Upgrading Programme (EUP) and Interim Estate Upgrading Programme (I-EUP) projects in Aljunied GRC, with dates of commencement and completion and a brief description of the nature of works.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) since 1998, how many HDB Studio Apartments have so far been sold by the families upon the death of the lessee; and (b) whether the sale proceeds of the Studio Apartments have been released to the beneficiaries of a deceased's estate who are the children or relatives of the deceased.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the HDB scheme to allot an additional ballot chance for subsequent applications of first-timer applicants for BTO flats who have been unsuccessful for two or more applications in non-mature estates can be extended to include first-timer applicants for mature estates.

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the development and implementation plan for the piece of vacant land directly opposite Bukit Batok MRT station that is bounded by Bukit Batok Central; and (b) whether this land is being safeguarded for the provision of supporting infrastructure and facilities for the growing population in Bukit Batok Neighbourhood 4 and, if so, what are the details of these plans.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how many appeals have been made over the past three years for HDB to exercise flexibility in resale transactions on the ethnic limits under the Ethnic Integration Policy and on what grounds; (b) of these, how many have been rejected; and (c) what are the grounds for such rejections.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) of the land earmarked for HDB development, what is the percentage of undeveloped residential land; and (b) what is the percentage of residential land occupied by flats built in 1986 and before.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for National Development whether HDB will relax the rules and allow the sale of HDB flats to singles in mature estates if the singles have relatives living in the mature estate.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the typical life span of HDB lifts; (b) in the past five years, how many HDB lifts have been replaced before the end of the specified life span as stated at the point of procurement; and (c) of these, how many lifts have been replaced due to unavailability of spare parts.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how many complaints about pigeons have been received by AVA and town councils on average per month over the past year; and (b) what have been done in response to these complaints.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Manpower" load="hide"]

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the current percentage of employers that have an inclusive or multiracial workforce; (b) what percentage of these employers have employment policies that proactively seek to have an inclusive, diverse or multiracial employee base; and (c) whether the Ministry requires employers to make a serious attempt to create an inclusive work environment, starting with their employment policy.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what measures does the Ministry have to respond to and investigate complaints of racial or religious discrimination at the workplace and in employers' hiring policies; (b) what powers does the Ministry have in enforcing such practices and under what circumstances will the Ministry enforce its powers; (c) over the past five years, what are the trends of complaints from workers over discrimination and hiring practices; (d) how can the Ministry get more employers to embrace and adopt the values of diversity and inclusiveness in their employment policies; and (e) what is the level of awareness among workers of TAFEP's role in handling discrimination at the workplace and how can this awareness can be improved.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) between 2011 to 2015, what is the number of complaints that the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) have received on alleged discriminatory practices in the workplace; (b) what is the trend of alleged discriminatory practices by individuals, companies or employers which are based on race and religion; (c) what are the actions taken by TAFEP or the Ministry against companies where the discriminatory practices have been proven to have taken place; and (d) whether TAFEP is vested with sufficient authority to mediate or resolve discriminatory practices that are reported.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what proactive measures are being taken by the Ministry to promote a better work safety culture and prevent further deaths in our workplaces; and (b) whether the increase in workplace deaths is a result of (i) the tightening of foreign worker quotas or (ii) carelessness by employers, or both.

Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef: To ask the Minister for Manpower what are the root causes of the recent cases of workplace injuries and death and whether there are strategic and targeted interventions planned.

Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) if he can explain the need for a difference between workmen and non-workmen in the Employment Act in view of the future employment landscape; and (b) whether PMETs earning less than $4,500 who spend more than 50% of their time doing manual tasks can be regarded as workmen.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how many local employees are currently covered under each of the three portable medical benefits options listed by the Ministry that are eligible for higher tax deductions; (b) how many local employees have been affected by moving from an employer providing portable medical benefits to an employer that does not; and (c) whether the Government will consider implementing a higher tax deduction limit for employers who provide medical benefits under the Transferable Medical Insurance Scheme (TMIS) for their local employees.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry mandates the payment of CPF contributions and Workfare Income Supplement to (i) prison inmates who undergo in-prison training to get them ready for work as well as those who undergo work programmes in prison; and (ii) disabled adults at organisations like the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore who do work for social enterprise programmes.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Health" load="hide"]

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how many Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) cardholders are there currently; (b) what is the breakdown of this figure according to the number of CHAS Blue and CHAS Orange cardholders respectively; (c) what are the common kinds of feedback received on the Scheme; and (d) whether the Ministry has plans to further improve and streamline the Scheme.

Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Health what are the control measures to ensure that participating medical and dental clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) do not over-service and that fees remain competitive.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Health (a) over the past three years, how many complaints have been received from CHAS cardholders against the clinics listed under the programme, especially that relating to medical fees; and (b) whether the Ministry can give a breakdown of the main complaints received and the action taken.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Health in light of the first case of Zika virus infection in Singapore (a) whether the Ministry will issue travel alerts for Singaporeans who are visiting countries which are considered as high risk; and (b) whether there will be a multi-Ministry effort to look into the control and management of infectious disease outbreaks given Singapore's high tourism traffic.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry can consider granting a "No Claim Discount" on MediShield Life premiums for senior citizens who do not make any claims for a consecutive period of three years.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider regulations for food and beverage outlets to display calorie and nutrition information in their menus as part of its war on diabetes and countering rising obesity.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider providing subsidised or free health screening packages for the insured under MediShield Life.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the reason for holders of health insurance policies being required to pay first and be reimbursed later after they are discharged from hospitalisation even though they are fully covered by their insurance policies; and (b) whether the Ministry can look into streamlining the payment process for policy holders who are fully covered by their insurance plans.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether there is a set of national standards to ensure that the care offered in nursing homes meets minimum standards for facilities, space, staff training, experience, hygiene, management and supervision; (b) whether there is third party assessment by a national accreditation body to ensure compliance to such standards; and (c) if not, whether the Ministry will consider implementing such a system.

Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the number of Singaporeans who have signed Advanced Medical Directives (AMDs) each year from 2010 to 2015; (b) what is the total cumulative number of Singaporeans who have signed AMDs; and (c) what is the total cumulative number of cases where healthcare institutions acted on AMDs.

Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for Health (a) between 2013 and 2015, how many senior citizens have been diagnosed with hearing loss requiring the use of hearing aids; (b) how many have applied for subsidies for hearing aids under the Seniors' Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF); (c) how many have been granted a subsidy for hearing aids; and (d) what is the total amount of subsidy disbursed for hearing aids.

Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef: To ask the Minister for Health how frequent is the standard list of drugs and medications of restructured hospitals reviewed especially in respect of costs and prices of brands that have become generic.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how many elderly Singaporeans are currently suffering from hearing impairment and have gone for treatment at polyclinics and public hospitals; (b) how many of them have received subsidies for hearing aids under the Seniors' Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF); (c) what is the average amount that seniors have to pay for their hearing aids after the subsidy; and (d) what happens if an elderly person cannot afford to pay for the remaining amount after the subsidy is given.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Communications and Information" load="hide"]

Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information with regard to IDA's requirement that all public servants' computers with Government email capabilities be delinked from the Internet (a) what are the reasons that prompt such a major review; (b) what are the other solutions that have been considered before arriving at the current guidelines; (c) whether inputs from other Ministries and agencies have been sought in terms of its implementation; and (d) what potential impact will the requirement have on productivity and service delivery of our public servants.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) how will the Government help businesses and organisations protect themselves against the threats behind the move to delink Internet access on public servants' computers; (b) whether the move will affect the development of the Smart Nation platform and its pervasive connectivity; and (c) what steps will be taken to restore public confidence in the Smart Nation vision.

Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information what are the cyber security measures in place in key institutions and installations such as the stock exchange, airports, sea ports, MRT stations, power stations and other critical infrastructure to ensure that the systems and networks of these institutions and installations are protected from cyber-attacks.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) for each year from 2011 to 2015, how much has the Government spent on advertisements and sponsored posts on online media platforms including but not limited to Facebook, YouTube and Google; and (b) what is the breakdown of this spending by each Ministry.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Finance" load="hide"]

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) what will be the impact of Brexit on the Singapore economy; and (b) whether the Government will take any action to mitigate any adverse effect on the stock market and the economy.

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Finance what is the short-term and medium-term impact of Brexit on (i) Singapore's economy (ii) Temasek Holdings' investments and (iii) Government Investment Corporation of Singapore's investments.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) whether the Ministry is taking any action in the aftermath of disclosures made in the Panama Papers; (b) whether any Singapore companies and individuals have been named in the Papers and, if so, who are they; and (c) what is the Ministry's position on Singapore being named by several international news sources as a haven for tax evasion.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) whether income declared for a child by a working mother to claim for Working Mother's Child Relief (WMCR) can exclude (i) the National Service allowance as this should be treated as recognition given to NSmen and their families and (ii) income earned through internships or attachments to encourage the child to learn beyond the classroom; and (b) whether the annual income ceiling of $4,000 of the child for WMCR can be reviewed to keep pace with the rising cost of living and current wage levels.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) how many Ministries and statutory boards adopt the Price-Quality Method for tender evaluations when procuring cleaning, security and landscape services; (b) what is the average percentage of price over quality adopted in such procurement contracts awarded in 2015 and 2016 (to date); and (c) whether the Government will consider adopting a 30:70 ratio for the Price-Quality Method, with 30% allocated to price and 70% allocated to quality as recommended by the Tripartite Committee for Low-Wage Workers and Inclusive Growth (TriCom).

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) what is the reason for the income tax relief for foreign maid levy being not extended to single females who are supporting their aged parents; and (b) whether the Ministry will look into extending the tax relief to cover all female tax payers who have to employ a foreign maid to care for their aged parents.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Acting Minister for Education" load="hide"]

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) how are private Continuing Education and Training (CET) centres contributing to SkillsFuture initiatives; and (b) whether there are plans to expand Earn and Learn Programmes to private CET centres beyond polytechnics and institutes of technical education.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) how do schools currently teach acceptance of diversity and differences and the addressing of discrimination in schools and the community; (b) how much time in the curriculum is allocated to this; (c) what are the considerations that go into designing curricula that meaningfully and thoroughly address issues of diversity, difference, and discrimination at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels; and (d) how does the Ministry intend to improve upon current efforts to address these issues.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what is being done to reduce instances of discriminatory behaviour and speech along ethnic, gender, age or other lines within the community; and (b) what processes are in place to measure the success of such efforts.

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) whether school-going children of returning Singaporeans from overseas can be allowed to take the school re-admission assessments at the local consulates or embassies where they are presently residing instead of having to travel back to Singapore for the assessments.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) how many schools conduct exams or tests immediately or within two weeks after the school holidays; and (b) what is the rationale for having school holidays if students are expected to study for the tests/exams during the school holidays.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) whether the Ministry will offer cycling lessons among its list of activities for students in primary and secondary schools; and (b) whether there is any survey done to find out what percentage of our students cycle to schools.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) what measures are currently in place to provide for the early detection and intervention for young students who have learning difficulties and what more can and will be done to help such students and their parents.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) whether the Ministry will consider conducting a comprehensive and robust Graduate Employment Survey (GES) that covers graduates from all six local universities as well as overseas graduates and graduates from local trans-national university programmes so as to provide a broader data source on graduate employment prospects to complement the GES exercises published by some individual universities.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Home Affairs" load="hide"]

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many residential fires happened in the first four months of this year; (b) whether this is higher or lower than the number of residential fires reported over the same period of the last two years; (c) what are the main causes of the recent residential fires; (d) what is SCDF doing to increase awareness on preventing residential fires; and (e) what percentage of homes currently own a fire extinguisher.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) in what contexts do statutory boards, Ministries or other organisations send job applicants' personal data to the Internal Security Department (ISD) or any other designated department for security clearance; and (b) what safeguards are in place to ensure the accuracy of the information collected and used in the security clearance procedure.

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether ICA can provide free replacement of NRICs at selected intervals of one's lifetime due to fair wear and tear of our identity cards and outdated photographs.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what steps are being taken by the police to deal with makeshift brothels being set up in secluded areas within heartland areas like Punggol and Woodlands; and (b) whether investigations have been undertaken to determine whether there have been any women or girls who are victims of human trafficking at such locations.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether foreign spouses of Singapore citizens and who have at least one Singapore citizen child together can be granted permanent residence automatically after a specified period of time so that the Singaporean family can be complete and stable.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs how many societies have been denied registration by the Registrar of Societies in 2005-2015 and what is the breakdown of cases by different types of reasons for rejection.

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what are the current guidelines for the police when handling complaints of noise and neighbour disputes within condominiums.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether the phone scam suspects arrested recently by several countries have also been involved in Singapore's phone scam; (b) if so, how do the authorities work with the international agencies to bring them to justice; and (c) whether the suspects can be tried in Singapore if found to have committed the phone scam crime in Singapore especially where there are Singaporean victims.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the number of Auxiliary Police Officers (APOs) deployed and the number of CCTVs installed at the Liquor Control Zone (LCZ) in Little India; and (b) whether the APOs conduct vertical foot patrols of the staircase landings of HDB blocks within the LCZ.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs since the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act came into effect on 1 April 2015, how many offenders have been taken to task for consuming alcohol in public places during restricted hours, particularly within the Liquor Control Zone in Little India.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Law" load="hide"]

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Law since the coming into force of the Protection from Harassment Act until 31 May 2016, what has been (i) the total number of cases filed, mediated and resolved (ii) the total number of cases involving workplace bullying/harassment (iii) the total number of cases involving sexual harassment and (iv) the total number of cases involving workplace sexual harassment.

Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef: To ask the Minister for Law (a) how does the Singapore Academy of Law decide on the cases to be reported on its website; (b) what is the duration for which the cases will remain on its website; (c) what are the requirements for their removal; and (d) whether Court of Appeal cases heard in overseas jurisdictions are included in the website or only those heard in Singapore.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Law (a) how many victim compensation orders have been granted by the courts under section 359 of the Criminal Procedure Code in 2014 and 2015 respectively; (b) whether the courts have made any orders of compensation against the prosecution or informant for frivolous or vexatious prosecutions under section 359(3); and (c) what is the range of compensation amounts awarded and for what types of offences.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Law (a) how many young persons aged between 16 and 18 years have been processed for criminal offences through the State Courts in the last three years; (b) which offence types have been most often charged against these young persons; and (c) what have been the most common types of sentences or orders made upon conviction of such persons.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Social and Family Development" load="hide"]

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what percentage of five-and six-year old Singaporeans and permanent residents are enrolled in half-day or full-day pre-school; and (b) for children who are not enrolled in pre-school, what actions are taken on the parents or guardians and what are the reasons given for not enrolling their children in pre-school.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development what safeguards are currently in place to provide for better detection and management of child abuse cases and what more can be done to prevent the number of such cases from escalating.

Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether there are plans to do mandatory testing for autism for babies from 18 to 24 months old so that early intervention can be arranged to mitigate or reverse the condition.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development in support of the Government's policy to encourage more parents to have more children (a) whether the Ministry has considered giving free childcare for Singaporean pre-school children; and (b) how much this will cost the Government if it is implemented.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what measures are being taken to provide holistic assistance for (i) individuals with intellectual disabilities and (ii) their caregivers; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider extending existing subsidies such as the VWO Transport Subsidy Scheme, to cover all persons with disabilities regardless of their financial background.

Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) how many places in Senior Group Homes are currently available; and (b) what has been the take-up rate for these places.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development in light of the higher number of children below the age of seven years with speech delay, autism and at risk of moderate to severe disabilities and the longer waiting time for early intervention services at VWOs, whether the Ministry will consider (i) funding or increasing subsidies to the preschools to train and employ additional manpower similar to the role of a shadow teacher or allied educator in schools and (ii) making recommendations to increase the ratio of teachers to students in preschools who accept these children in the interim.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Trade and Industry" load="hide"]

Mr Thomas Chua Kee Seng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) in view of the ageing and shrinking of the local labour force and the tightening of foreign worker inflows, what are the Ministry's plans and measures to help local companies seeking to expand their business to do so.

Mr Thomas Chua Kee Seng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) what is the take-up rate of the Partnerships for Capability Transformation (PACT) scheme designed to encourage large companies to help their local SME suppliers to upgrade their capabilities; and (b) whether there are plans to improve and enhance this scheme.

Mr Thomas Chua Kee Seng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) whether EDB can continue to directly promote more awareness of business opportunities arising from Singapore-based MNCs, to local SME suppliers or through their relevant industry and trade associations.

Mr Thomas Chua Kee Seng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) what is the impact of China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative on our small and medium-size enterprises.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Culture, Community and Youth" load="hide"]

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth whether there are plans to increase efforts or support for community integration activities at condominiums given the rising trend of rental units and permanent residents residing in these compounds.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) from 2011 to 2015, what has been the number of household surveys commissioned by the People's Association; (b) what is the purpose of the surveys; and (c) what is the total cost of the surveys, cash incentives and NTUC Fairprice vouchers given to participating households in the surveys.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Defence" load="hide"]

Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for Defence (a) what is the impact of the inclusion of SAF camps in the list of places where smoking is prohibited by law on service personnel who continue to smoke; and (b) whether there is engagement of all ranks of smoking or non-smoking personnel to ensure that they understand the reasons for the ban and to obtain their support in maintaining it.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Defence (a) for each year from 2011, what is the breakdown of numbers of regulars, NSmen and NSFs diagnosed with mental health problems as a result of or aggravated due to service; (b) how does the SAF train its commanders to identify and support personnel with mental health issues and ensure compliance with the necessary protocols; and (c) whether the SAF takes responsibility for the treatment and compensation for such cases including that for servicemen who have left service.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for Foreign Affairs" load="hide"]

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs what are the Ministry's plans to reinforce a common ASEAN position on the South China Sea issue in light of the recent joint statement by China, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos in view of the fact that Singapore is currently the ASEAN-China dialogue partnership coordinator.

[/accordion] [accordion title="Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
" load="hide"]

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether it is standard procedure for recycling bins to be emptied into a single receptacle by public waste collectors at the point of collection; and (b) if so, what is the objective of asking residents to separate the waste into different bins for different recyclable items.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources what are the Ministry's plans and timeline to set up a hawker center in Chua Chu Kang Town.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether section 21 of the Environmental Protection and Management (Vehicular Emissions) Regulations applies to hybrid cars which have their combustion engines switched off (with transfer to the use of an electric motor) when the car is stationary.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the tray return initiative for hawker centres started in 2012 has been implemented for all NEA-managed hawker centres; (b) if so, what is the total cost of the initiative; (c) whether and how the initiative has been assessed for its success; (d) whether the initiative has reduced the number of cleaners needed; and (e) how is the tray return system integrated with the food waste recycling trials at the two hawker centres undergoing these trials.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what are the immediate plans for appointing community volunteers as auxiliary officers to assist NEA in performing its functions; (b) what enforcement powers will be given to the volunteers; and (c) how many volunteers will be deployed and for what purposes.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the Ministry currently collects data on the amount of unsold food discarded by supermarkets every year; and (b) if it does, how much unsold food is discarded and, if it does not, whether it will consider collecting such data.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources what are the development plans for the wet market and hawker centre at Block 511, Bedok North Street after the expiry of its lease in October 2017.

[/accordion] [/accordions]