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Parliamentary questions for 15 August 2016

The Singapore Parliament will sit at 12.00pm today for the 22nd session of the 13th Parliament.

108 oral questions and 36 written questions have been scheduled to be asked.

One of the key topics in the parliamentary sitting is the defective trains supplied by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang to the Land Transport Authority in 2013.

On 5 July, FactWire News Agency, a watchdog news organization based in Hong Kong released an exclusive report on 35 train carriages belonging to local train operator, SMRT Trains Ltd (SMRT) being shipped back to its manufacturer on 12 June due to alleged existing defects. It was only then that the Singapore public was informed of the defects.

Subsequently, Minister for Transport, Khaw Boon Wan commented that the public was not informed as there is no safety concern created by the defects.

Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir, Mr Sitoh Yih Pin will be asking the Mr Khaw on what are the reasons for the Land Transport Authority or SMRT for not releasing public information on the discovery of hairline cracks on the MRT trains in July 2013 and on their subsequent decision to call on the warranty by shipping the affected trains back to the manufacturer's factory for defect rectification works.

5 other MPs from the Workers' Party will also be fielding questions surrounding the issue to Minister of Transport.

Apart from the parliamentary questions, a few bills including the controversial bill on the Contempt of Court, Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill, will be put up for second reading.

Bills to be read for the second time (and likely to be passed on the same day)

  • SkillsFuture Singapore Agency Bill
  • Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill
  • Government Technology Agency Bill
  • Info-communications Media Development Authority Bill
  • Employment Claims Bill
  • Singapore Workforce Development Agency (Amendment) Bill

Last Wednesday, Nominated Member of Parliament Kok Heng Leun submitted a Public Petition signed by 249 individuals to Parliament, seeking to delay the passage of the proposed bill on Contempt of Court, and to have the bill further discussed in a Select Committee appointed by the Parliament.

Below are the questions filed towards the various Ministers

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

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Prime Minister given SGX's challenges in recent years relating to the quantity and quality of listings, turnover, technical disruptions, risk management, including a half-day disruption on 14 July 2016 (a) whether the Government is optimistic that SGX's performance and reputation can be revived; (b) what role it sees for SGX in broader economic development; and (c) what steps it is taking to work with the SGX management to catalyse the desired outcomes.

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 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.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether the recentlyannounced dedicated Anti-Money Laundering (AML) department within MAS will standardise internal processes in all financial institutions with regard to monitoring and handling potential AML cases; and (b) in what ways will the enforcement functions of the new Enforcement Department be strengthened and how will these differ from past practice.

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether the public sector hires or engages stay-at-home mothers (not staff who go on flexible work arrangements); (b) if no, whether the public sector agencies can engage them for selected categories of work which stay-at-home mothers can perform from home; and (c) if yes, how many stay-at-home mothers are currently hired in the public sector.

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.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Ministry will be able to (i) provide greater transparency on the scoring methodology used to determine a civil servant's Current Estimated Potential (CEP) as well as an officer's CEP score at a point in time and (ii) implement a 360-degree feedback appraisal system for civil servants which is currently common practice in the private sector.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Prime Minister (a) since the introduction of Cooling-Off Day regulations, how many individuals have been investigated by the Elections Department for the publication of electoral advertising on the Internet for (i) the People's Action Party and (ii) other parties on Cooling-Off Day and Polling Day; (b) how does the Department come to be alerted to these individuals' publications; and (c) what are its priorities in selecting the individuals to be investigated.

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

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Prime Minister what measures are being considered by MAS to require banks to upgrade their branch security protocols in light of the recent bank robbery incident at Holland Village on 7 July 2016.

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

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) why is there a lack of inter-agency co-ordination between LTA and ICA in implementing toll collection at the Causeway checkpoints; (b) whether it is a standard procedure for LTA to monitor and review its projects to look for weaknesses; and (c) whether there is communication to LTA officers at all levels on the requirement of interfacing with other Government departments and agencies.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the total number of MRT trains deployed for operations currently; (b) among these, what percentage of trains are not embarking passengers as they need to be sent back to the manufacturer CSR Sifang for depot-level train repairs due for completion in 2019; and (c) in what way has this episode affected the Ministry's plans to improve the reliability of the MRT system.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Transport whether members of the Public Transport Council, board members of SMRT and LTA, and the management of Temasek Holdings were aware of the faults discovered on MRT trains supplied by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang in 2013 and the subsequent train recall exercise.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Transport with regard to the 26 defective MRT trains (a) whether the defects being not "safety-critical" meant that they pose zero safety risks for commuters; (b) why is it most effective for the car-bodies to be entirely replaced when cracks have been found only on the bolsters; (c) what are the risks for cracks to happen on other components of the car-body; and (d) whether the monthly safety assessment is focused only on the found defects or conducted for the entire train.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Transport what are the reasons for LTA or SMRT not releasing public information on the discovery of hairline cracks on the MRT trains in July 2013 and on their subsequent decision to call on the warranty by shipping the affected trains back to the manufacturer's factory for defect rectification works.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Transport whether Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang are liable to compensate LTA and/or SMRT for any loss of use and/or profits (or any other damages suffered) for the downtime of the MRT trains sent back to the manufacturer's factory for rectification in addition to the shipping and defect rectification costs.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the hairline cracks found on the car-body bolster of the affected MRT trains were inherent defects from the time LTA and/or SMRT accepted delivery of the trains in 2011 or defects that were manifested through use and subsequently discovered in July 2013; (b) if the hairline cracks were inherent defects, why were the defects not discovered through earlier routine checks; and (c) if these were defects manifested through use, whether LTA engineers expect the hairline cracks to worsen through continued use.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what did TUV Rheinland's report on the hairline cracks found on defective MRT trains reveal; and (b) whether the Ministry will make the entire report public in the interest of transparency.

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.

Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for Transport whether public transport operators are required to ensure that information about safety and emergency features of public facilities are effectively communicated to public transport users.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how much has the aggressive bidding for COEs by private-hire car companies such as Uber and Grab affected demand and contributed to COE premium increases; (b) what is the reason for LTA's recent block of free access to bidders' information; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider creating a separate COE category for private-hire vehicles.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport why has employers' CPF contribution been added to the calculation of household income in the Ministry's key performance indicator of public transport affordability as set out in the FY2016/17 Budget Book.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport why are permanent residents and work permit holders allowed to apply for a Private Hire Driver's Vocational Licence (PDVL).

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether LTA is ready to install noise barriers along expressways such as BKE and KJE which are very close to high density public housing at Bukit Panjang; and (b) whether LTA will look into lowering the threshold of permissible noise level emitted from motor vehicles on expressways that are near residential housing.

Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Transport whether further measures can be taken to enhance last-mile connectivity with regard to shelters that link private/commercial buildings and properties to bus stops and MRT stations.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the average price of the highest COE bid for vehicles in all the categories in the last three bidding exercises; (b) what is the average price of the winning COE bid in the same period; and (c) what are the considerations in not implementing a payas-you-bid system for COEs.

Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Transport whether there are measures in place to ease congestion and allow for smoother traffic at the KPE as the morning traffic is very heavy due to the bottleneck created by queues of cars exiting to Airport Road.

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 Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the Ministry will review the building of an additional MRT station between Chua Chu Kang and Bukit Gombak MRT stations to serve the large number of residents who will be moving into BTO units in Keat Hong and Chua Chu Kang Towns and the future Tengah Town; and (b) what are the technical and cost considerations in the Ministry's review on such a viability.

Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Transport whether LTA has plans to reduce light pollution on the streets and how will LTA balance the issue of lighting and its impact on safety given that Singapore is the most light-polluted country based on the latest issue of Science Advances Journal.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many of the 169 bus stops that were inaccessible to Wheelchair Accessible Buses (WABs) in 2013 remain inaccessible today; (b) what are the criteria for bus stops to have priority conversion to being wheelchair-accessible; (c) whether consecutive bus stops along the same road are part of this criteria; and (d) when will all bus stops be converted to become WAB-accessible bus stops and whether there is a deadline for this.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the vehicles that are part of the island-wide electric car sharing programme will affect COE quotas.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Transport given that pedestrians have to share footpaths with cyclists (a) whether the Ministry will review the minimum width for all footpaths so that there is sufficient room for both pedestrians and cyclists to use them safely; and (b) when will the Ministry roll out a comprehensive policy to give clarity to the rules governing the use of bicycles, e-bikes, personal mobility devices, and the enforcement and penalties for offenders.

Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what are the service standards for responding to calls made via the emergency call buttons on MRT trains; (b) what alternative action can commuters take to stop a moving train in cases that the station control cannot be reached during an emergency; and (c) how does LTA intend to enhance emergency procedures for commuters on MRT and LRT trains.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether LTA has investigated the reasons why a train car at Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) failed to stop for three stations on 28 July 2016; and (b) in light of reports of jerking actions on some train cars by commuters, whether the BPLRT poses any safety issues for commuters.

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

Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for National Development with the recently announced increase in parking charges for URA and HDB carparks (a) what has been the main increase in cost in maintaining and operating carparks that require the increase; (b) what is the number of vehicles that will be affected by the differentiated season parking charges for second cars; and (c) whether there will be any assistance provided for older vehicle owners who may face difficulties with the increased season parking or hourly charges.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the breakdown of revenue and expenditure annually for operating HDB residential car parks since 2002; (b) what is the estimated cost savings in outsourcing the operation of Electronic Parking System residential car parks to commercial operators; (c) whether the "right-pricing" of HDB car park fees is based on operating costs and that of URA is based on private car park fees; and (d) whether HDB and URA fees should be delinked.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) from 2002 to 2015, what is the total amount of monies spent on the maintenance, repair and upgrading of public car parks vis-à-vis the total revenue collected from parking fees; (b) how is the new parking rate with effect from 1 December 2016 tabulated and derived; and (c) whether the Government is concerned about the effect which an increase on public car park rates will have on private parking rates in malls and offices.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for National Development what is the basis for deciding to increase the car park charges for HDB and URA car parks.

Mr Charles Chong: To ask the Minister for National Development what measures the Ministry intends to take to better safeguard public monies and residents' service and conservancy payments to Town Councils and to recover any improper past payments made by Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC), especially in light of the July 2016 KPMG report on AHTC's financial controls and systems.

Mr Edwin Tong Chun Fai: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the current status of the Estate Upgrading Programme (EUP) for private estates; (b) what are the considerations taken into account in deciding on EUP projects; and (c) how does the Government allocate resources between public and private estate upgrading and maintenance.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for National Development what measures are undertaken under the Estate Upgrading Programme for private estates to better co-ordinate and expedite the works performed by external partners providing telephony, gas supply and other such utilities.

Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Rice Stockpile Scheme and other measures under Singapore's Food Security Roadmap are robust enough to withstand climatic events such as the 2015-16 El Niño and associated drought and heatwave that have affected crop outputs in Thailand, Vietnam, India and elsewhere in Southeast and South Asia.

Dr Lily Neo: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in the past year, how many disputes between co-tenants of HDB rental flats resulted in violence; and (b) whether a review should be carried out to improve the Joint Singles Scheme for the rental of HDB flats.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider increasing the height and weight allowance for local mixed breed dogs approved for living in HDB flats under the Project ADORE scheme as the majority of dogs in our shelters and from the streets do not currently qualify for adoption under the scheme.

Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider (i) allowing residents living in old HDB flats with multi-step entrances the option of renting portable ramps from HDB and complementing this option with retrofitting the flats with permanent ramps and (ii) decentralising the budget and approval process to the respective HDB Branch Offices or Community Development Councils with inputs from grassroots leaders for such initiatives to be rolled out.

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.

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.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how many families have benefited from the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) since its launch; (b) how many of these families have since moved out to their new HDB flats; (c) how many families co-share with another family temporarily in one flat and how many are without co-sharing; (d) how many families have made appeals for rental reductions and what is the number of successful and non-successful appeals respectively; and (e) whether more flats will be made available for PPHS.

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 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.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what are the criteria for converting heavy vehicle parking lots into normal parking lots and vice-versa; and (b) what are the plans for lorry parking in the Changi Village area in view of its proximity to Changi Business Park and Changi Airport and the past conversion of heavy vehicle parking lots to normal parking lots in that vicinity.

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

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Manpower in light of job layoffs hitting a seven-year high (a) how successful have current support schemes been in helping Singaporeans, particularly PMEs, secure new jobs; and (b) what additional measures will the Government implement should the unemployment situation deteriorate further.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Manpower with regard to the Report of the Auditor-General for FY15/16 on the Ministry's purchase of a Document Generator System (DGS) (a) whether there is a provision made for the integration of a DGS in the original specifications for the $27.49 million Foreign Domestic Worker System (FDWS); (b) who advised the Ministry to procure the additional DGS at a cost of $432,407; and (c) who are the suppliers of the FDWS and DGS.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the only document that is recognised for a female employee to qualify for maternity protection under the Child Development Co-savings Act and Employment Act is a medical report certifying her pregnancy; and (b) whether a female employee who qualified for maternity protection may appeal against unfair dismissal if she was dismissed after making known her pregnancy but suffered a miscarriage thereafter.

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what recourse does an employer of a foreign domestic worker (FDW) have when the hired FDW already has a mental illness, cancer or critical illness which may not be discoverable at the time of hiring and these are excluded from the compulsory insurance cover; and (b) whether it can be mandated that these illnesses be areas of coverage in the compulsory insurance which FDW agencies and/or employers of FDWs need to procure.

Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how many current HDB lessees have reached their (i) Valuation Limit (VL) or (ii) Withdrawal Limit (WL) for the use of their CPF Ordinary Account to service their home loans; (b) how many appeals have been received by CPF Board or HDB in 2014 and 2015 for the continued use of CPF to finance HDB mortgages; and (c) how many appeals have been successful.

Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) if he can provide an update on the effectiveness of the compulsory day off policy for foreign domestic workers; and (b) for 2014 and 2015, what is the number of (i) foreign domestic workers who do not have a weekly day off (ii) foreign domestic workers who are not compensated if they do not have a weekly day off (iii) complaints which the Ministry has received about employers not granting rest days and (iv) complaints which the Ministry has received about employers not compensating foreign domestic workers in lieu of not taking their weekly day off.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider imposing the criterion that in order to qualify for the Silver Support Scheme, eligible Singaporeans must have been citizens for at least a certain number of years.

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether balances in the Medisave accounts of deceased members can be deployed by family members to fund the funeral expenses of the deceased members according to their wishes.

Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how many foreign employee dormitories are currently licensed; (b) how many licensed operators have had enforcement actions taken against them; and (c) whether there have been any cases of breach of licence conditions which have resulted in revocation of licences.

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

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.

Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry monitors and exercises oversight of public healthcare institutions that procure manpower from recruitment agencies with these agencies being the employer of the workers as there are cases where these workers are placed under the agencies' contract terms with perpetual renewal of their contracts without permanent tenure.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether Singapore's organ transplant rate has increased since the launch of the "Live On" campaign in 2008; (b) how does the rate compare with those of other countries with similar quality of life; (c) whether there is adequate training of and buy-in from doctors in intensive care and emergency units to improve the organ retrieval rate; and (d) whether a review of the opt-out system and consideration of the mandated consent system is now timely.

Dr Lily Neo: To ask the Minister for Health whether the recent occurrence of a cluster of tuberculosis cases is of alarming concern and whether he can provide an update on the reason for such occurrence.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Health (a) in the last three years, what proportion of Medifund recipients visit more than one public restructured hospital or public specialist centre in the same year; (b) what proportion of such recipients require more than one means test to qualify for Medifund across the restructured hospitals and specialist centres that they visit; and (c) to what extent are medical social worker records portable across restructured hospitals and specialist centres so as to expedite means testing for needy patients.

Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry exercises oversight of the tender evaluation method in the procurement of manpower services or outsourced services in the restructured hospitals and institutions; (b) whether these contracts comply with the PriceQuality Method (PQM) of evaluation with 70% allotted to quality and 30% allotted to price; and (c) what is the minimum duration and percentage of such contracts that conform to PQM out of the total awarded tenders in the last three years.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the average percentage of patients referred by private GPs to Accident and Emergency (A&E) Departments in Government hospitals and not warded; and (b) how can the Government better help such patients from being subjected to excessive medical charges as they would be billed by the GP and A&E Department for the same illness.

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will review the Standard Drug List to include medication that doctors frequently prescribe for common age-related illnesses.

Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for Health (a) how many Medifund applications have been made in the past five years; (b) of these, how many have been rejected and what is the breakdown of the reasons for rejection; and (c) of the applications approved, what is the median, 20th percentile and 90th percentile quantum of Medifund grant disbursed in each case.

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

Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) what are the limitations and requirements applicable to reporting on election matters by the mainstream media on Cooling-Off Day; and (b) what are the differences in requirements applicable to the mainstream media and licensed online news sites in respect of reporting on election matters on Cooling-Off Day and what is the rationale for the same.

Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information with regard to MDA's action after a complaint has been made about a same-sex kiss scene in the musical Les Miserables (a) why did MDA decide to take action; and (b) what was the process undertaken by MDA which led to their decision.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) what due diligence and oversight processes have been exercised by MDA prior to it providing financial support to RGM Entertainment and RGM Group in 2010 and 2011; (b) what lapses occurred in MDA's due diligence and oversight processes in this case, if any; and (c) what measures has MDA since taken to strengthen its due diligence and oversight mechanisms in making such awards.

Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information regarding surveys of public opinion undertaken by Government agencies or statutory boards (a) under what conditions are the results of such surveys not published; and (b) how many instances of such opinion surveys have been published in 2010-2015 versus those that have not been published.

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

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Finance whether the outlook of lower long-term financial returns as reflected in the annual reports of GIC and Temasek Holdings indicates that the Net Investment Returns Contribution from the financial reserves will be lower going forward and whether that will have an impact upon the Government's ability to balance the overall budget and to fund committed long-term programmes.

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) whether the Government needs to review its dependence on Net Investment Returns Contributions from Temasek and GIC to fund its budget given the tough investment environment and modest growth prospects; and (b) whether any long-term spending programmes will be affected if long-term returns from both portfolios end up materially lower than in previous periods.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Finance whether the lapses and inadequate financial controls reported by the Auditor-General in its Report for FY15/16 uncover any systemic flaws and how will the public sector entities strengthen their management of public resources to prevent future occurrence.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Finance whether the Report of the Auditor-General for FY15/16 has highlighted any repeated breach of financial regulations by any Ministry and, if so, whether any action will be taken against officers who fail to take remedial action to rectify the breaches.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) how are demand aggregation contracts for outsourced manpower services called for by Vital (the agency for shared services within the public sector); (b) what are the measures in place to ensure that the terms included in such contracts are fair and reasonable and that workers are not shortchanged; and (c) what measures are in place to ensure that procurement officers for such contracts are kept upto-date on changes in employment laws to ensure that workers in outsourced contracts are bound by fair employment terms.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) in the last three years, how many Government construction projects have been awarded to local engineering companies and how many to foreign contractors for projects above $200 million; and (b) how many of these contracts have been awarded to the lowest tenderers.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) what is the reason for the increase in the difference between the corporate tax rate and the rate of effective tax payable between FY2014 and FY2015; and (b) why is there a significant gap between the chargeable income and effective tax paid depending on the industry sector.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Finance whether he can explain the rationale behind the personal income tax relief cap in greater detail especially in light of the effect it has on the Working Mother's Child Relief scheme.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Finance whether the public sector's procurement guidelines include "lemon" provisions for full replacement, rather than repair, in the event of significant defects being found in a significant proportion of supplied products.

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

Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) what is the purpose of the tertiary education study loan schemes; (b) what is the Ministry's response to the recent findings by the Auditor-General's Office on outstanding student loans; (c) what is the Ministry's action plan in response to these findings; and (d) how will the Ministry ensure that it will not over-react and continue to be sensitive to Singaporean tertiary students with valid reasons for delays in their student loan repayments.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) in the past 10 years, how many foreign students had intentionally defaulted on fulfilling their scholarship bonds; (b) how much scholarship monies has the Ministry managed to recover from these students; (c) how much of such scholarship monies remain uncollected; (d) what is the average length of time taken to recover monies from defaulters; (e) how many defaulters are deemed to be non-contactable anymore; and (f) how much scholarship monies are written off to date.

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) what is the role of Nanyang Polytechnic International Pte Ltd and its relationship with Nanyang Polytechnic; and (b) how does the Ministry intend to address the findings of the Auditor-General in its Report for FY15/16.

Dr Chia Shi-Lu: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) in light of increasing incidents of sexually offensive and 'sexualised' activities during orientation activities at the National University of Singapore over the last decade (a) what are the regulations in place to protect students in our tertiary institutions from physical abuse and harassment; (b) whether these regulations are standardised across our polytechnics and universities; (c) what checks and enforcement are in place to ensure that the regulations are adhered to; (d) how many students or staff have been found guilty and have had to face disciplinary action and how were they punished; and (e) whether any civil or criminal suits had been filed as a result.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) whether the Ministry has a code of conduct to prohibit sexually inappropriate or degrading activities in institutions of higher learning and schools; (b) what measures have been taken to ensure adequate oversight by university staff on students organising such activities; (c) how many complaints has the Ministry received in the past five years and what actions have been implemented to prevent recurrence; and (d) why safeguards have not been put in place to prevent the recent incident in the National University of Singapore.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) in light of the reports of sexual harassment and abuse during orientation activities at the National University of Singapore (a) whether the Ministry has been monitoring this situation in all our tertiary institutions and keeping track of the number and nature of incidents reported; and (b) whether resources have been provided to our institutions to ensure the safety of our students.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) since the Compulsory Education Act came into force in 2003 (a) whether there has been 100% enrolment for primary school and, if not, what are the challenges; and (b) how many parents are charged each year for failing to send their children to attend primary school.

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) what percentage of existing SkillsFuture courses has elements associated with professional skills training; (b) whether customisation of courses is allowed to cater to the needs of different industries; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider a SkillsFuture package tailored for women planning to transit back to the workforce to enable them to have skills that are relevant to current market demand.

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.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) in the past five years, how many students have dropped out of secondary school after completing their primary school education; and (b) what has been done to encourage these students to continue their secondary education.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) whether it has plans to address the increasing trend of youths purchasing sexual services in Singapore and abroad.

Mr Darryl David: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) whether Spanish is offered as a third language option to students in our schools and, if so, what is the take-up rate of Spanish as compared to the other third language options.

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) what percentage of special needs children are currently receiving education in mainstream schools and in special education schools; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider building more special needs schools in housing areas with a higher proportion of children and hence a likely higher proportion of special needs children.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) whether there will be a new primary school, secondary school or junior college built in Fernvale in Sengkang and, if so, when will they be built.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) from 2010 to 2015, how many international students in polytechnics and universities have not fulfilled their scholarship bonds each year; (b) when did the Ministry put in place additional measures to track these students; and (c) what improvements in default rates have there been since the Ministry enhanced its efforts to track scholarship recipients.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) what is the role of the universities' management in administering their freshmen orientation camps; (b) from 2014 to 2016, what is the number of freshmen orientation camps organised by the students in each of the public universities; (c) of these, how many of these camps have had their activity programmes amended as a result of the intervention by the respective universities' management; and (d) what are the measures the public universities will take to prevent inappropriate activities from occurring again during orientation camps.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) in the past 10 years, how many foreign students did not complete their scholarship bonds after graduating from NUS and NTU; (b) how do the two universities follow up on the scholars who fail to serve their bonds; and (c) how much damages have not been collected due to nonfulfilment of scholarship bonds.

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

Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether he can provide an update on how our safety and security preparations have measured up thus far, bearing in mind the Ministry's recent SG Secure initiative and lessons noted from the recent terrorism-related attacks around the world

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in light of the observation by the Auditor-General's Office that the Singapore Police Force had overpaid $2.63 million in allowances to Volunteer Special Constabulary officers (a) what is the cause of the overpayment that has not been not uncovered since 2008; and (b) what steps has the Ministry taken to prevent such overpayment from happening again

Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what are the special considerations behind the amendment of Regulations under the Police Force Act and retroactively applying them to regularise seven years of over-payments (2008-2015) to Volunteer Special Constabulary officers; (b) what measures are being taken to prevent such control lapses in future; (c) whether the retrospective approvals of the allowances are permitted under the Police Force Act; and (d) whether any action will be taken in respect of the officers who approved the revised allowances despite not being authorised to do so.

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.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many people have been arrested for phone scams in the past two years; (b) how many cases are currently under investigation; (c) how many scams are run by mainland Chinese targeting especially elderly citizens; (d) whether the Ministry will look into how it can more speedily alert the public, in particular the elderly, to any new phone scams; and (e) whether the Ministry will consider enhancing penalties against phone scammers.

Dr Chia Shi-Lu: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how is the recruitment drive to attract more Singaporeans to the Police Force progressing; (b) how many have joined in the last two years; (c) what is the retention rate; and (d) whether there are plans to expand the number of Neighbourhood Police Posts.

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.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what are the measures taken to educate drivers, especially of large heavy vehicles, to occupy the most appropriate lane based on their legislated speed limit; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider (i) imposing stiffer penalties on errant drivers of vehicles with legislated speed limit and on their companies if found speeding or driving at the wrong lanes (ii) having greater enforcement on errant drivers who flout speeding limits (iii) introducing the speed limiter blinking lights for vehicles with legislated speed limits and (iv) having a more rigorous course for drivers, especially work permit holders, assigned to drive heavy vehicles.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the general profile of youths caught for shop thefts; (b) what are the common reasons given by these youths for committing shop thefts; and (c) what are the targeted measures in place to address the root causes of shop thefts by youths.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs how are Home Team departments re-designing their jobs so that Home Team officers' efforts can be more productive and older officers can continue to be productive even in their later years.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs for each of the past five years, what has been (i) the number of loan shark harassment cases reported (ii) the number of offenders who have been arrested for offences relating to loan shark harassment and illegal money lending activities and charged in court and (iii) the number of offenders who have been sentenced to imprisonment and caning respectively.

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 Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the status of the review on the need to repeal marital rape immunity as stated by the Government during the 32nd Human Rights Council; (b) when immunity from marital rape will be repealed; and (c) whether this will be a total or partial repeal with exceptions.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in light of the increasing trend of roadblock evasions (a) how is the Ministry protecting police officers at such roadblocks; (b) how can road users be better protected during consequent car chases; and (c) whether there is a need to review the current legislation to deter roadblock evasions.

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

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Law (a) what processes are put in place to inform and assist bereaved families on the process of administering a deceased's estate; (b) how many legal aid applications have been granted deductions by the Director of Legal Aid over the past three years and of which, how many have been for bereaved families facing financial hardship; and (c) whether the Ministry has plans to review the disposable income and capital for legal aid means testing.

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

Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development how can the Ministry urgently implement and communicate a nationwide action plan to help families in need to apply for the appointment of Deputies for family members who have lost their mental capacity due to accidents, dementia or other disabilities.

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.

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what are the mechanisms put in place for early intervention of possible child abuse where young children under the age of five are placed in the care of parents who have a history of drug abuse or mental illness; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider an inter-Ministry monitoring effort for children who are at risk of child abuse to prevent such abuse before it happens.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) in the last three years, what has been the number and percentage of each cohort of Singaporean children who have not attended pre-school; (b) what is the typical profile of these children; (c) what are the main reasons preventing them from receiving pre-school education; and (d) whether the Ministry will consider making pre-school education compulsory.

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.

Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the Ministry can further assist persons with special needs who require replacement for aids such as (i) motorised wheelchairs and (ii) cochlear implants and other hearing aids throughout their lives.

Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development over the last 10 years, what is the number of children born in Singapore who (i) do not have a father named on their birth certificate and (ii) have a father named on their birth certificate but the parents are not married on or before the date of registration of birth.

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

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) what are the identified sectors to be covered under the $4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme; and (b) what are the sector-specific measures to help qualifying companies in the identified sectors.

Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) (a) whether the Ministry foresees a reduction in the supply of rice from countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, India and elsewhere in Southeast and South Asia due to the 2015-2016 El Niño and associated drought and heatwave; and (b) how might such a reduction impact rice prices in Singapore over the rest of the year.

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.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) (a) whether the Competition Commission of Singapore regards sole distributorship agreements as anti-competitive under the Competition Act; and (b) if so, what are the preferred modes of redress for sole distributorship agreements.

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

Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth with regard to the Report of the Auditor-General for FY15/16 on the redevelopment of the Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall (a) how were the consultancy services for construction of the bin centre procured; (b) how many consultancy sessions were made and what is the number of manhours spent; (c) whether the construction difficulty was anticipated and whether the cost was within the initial budget; (d) what were the various consultancies done during the refurbishment of Victoria Theatre and how much did they cost; and (e) what contributed to the lack of 'robustness' in assessing the consultancy fees.

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.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth with regard to the upcoming survey on intangible cultural heritage (a) how will the vendors be evaluated for their expertise in conducting the survey; (b) whether all findings of the survey and findings from previous research done by the National Heritage Board will be released to the public and, if not, why not; and (c) whether there will be extensive public consultations in the creation of the national inventory.

Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth with regard to the intangible cultural heritage survey commissioned by NHB (a) whether a 16-month period is sufficient for a survey of such a scale; (b) whether the many other cases apart from the 150 cases will be covered; (c) whether there will be another survey conducted and, if so, when; (d) how will the agency conducting the survey be selected; and (e) what will NHB do with the survey and research results.

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

Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Defence whether he can provide an update on Singapore's deployment to support the multinational coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in light of recent terrorist incidents across the world as well as the recent arrest of Singaporeans under the Internal Security Act.

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

Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources in light of the recent low water levels in our water catchments as well as extreme climatic events in the long term, what can be done to ensure a stable and long-term supply of water.

Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the price of water now reflects the full cost of water services including the cost of transporting waste water and the building of all water infrastructure; and (b) if not, what is the extent of the Government subsidy and to what extent will prices have to rise in order to reflect full cost recovery and not just the long-run marginal cost of water.

Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether the provision of average water consumption figures of households of the same housing type in the same block or street to allow consumers to compare and contrast their consumption patterns with their neighbours has been effective in spurring water conservation.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources if he can provide an update on PUB's efforts in the past two years to support companies with high water utilisation rates in their initiatives to recycle or re-use water.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether domestic households can pay a lower water conservation tax when their water bills show that they have used less water than the national average for their housing type for a consecutive period of six months.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether the Ministry will implement a national emissions trading scheme as an instrument for Singapore to meet its COP21 commitments.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) for the past five years, how many cases of feedback have been received each year from residents against other residents smoking at their own flat's window or common corridor being affected by the secondhand smoke; and (b) whether NEA has plans to address this issue.

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether NEA will consider extending the demarcation of nonsmoking areas in selective public areas in Punggol that are outside of the list of smoke-free areas covered under the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act so as to protect our children from secondhand smoke.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether the Ministry will consider reducing the licensing fee for street hawkers selling tissues to a nominal fee as these hawkers are usually in dire financial situations.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether forensics such as DNA analysis can be made use of to identify recalcitrant high-rise littering culprits so as to curb such highly antisocial behaviours.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether the food centre and market at Block 511 Bedok North Street 3 is scheduled for improvements under the Hawker Centres Upgrading Programme or any form of renovations after its lease expires in October 2017; and (b) if not, what are the reasons.

Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) whether there is a comprehensive national plan for managing e-waste; (b) how does NEA facilitate e-waste recycling in Singapore; and (c) what are the statistics on the rate of e-waste recycling by entities differentiated according to commercial, Government and/or households categories.

[/accordion] [/accordions]