Parliamentary questions for 10 October 2016

The Singapore Parliament will sit at 1.30pm today for the 25th session of the 13th Parliament.

91 oral questions and 33 written questions have been scheduled to be asked.

Both Members of Parliament from People’s Action Party and Workers’ Party will be asking the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth whether the current rewards for national sports athletes are sufficient and whether the Government will consider offering equal rewards to Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists. Para-swimmers Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh have won medals in the recently concluded Rio Paralympics, however the rewards that they will get for their effort will be substainly lesser than that of an Olympic atheletic.

In this seating, many MPs are asking the Minister of Transport on whether are there any further plans or measures to reduce the frequency of accidents caused by personal mobility devices (PMDs) or electric bikes colliding with pedestrians.

Nominated Member of Parliament, Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin will be asking the Minister for Home Affairs on the policy reasons for keeping the criteria for obtaining permanent residency and citizenship opaque and whether there are plans to make them more transparent over time.

NMP Mr Kok Heng Leun will be asking the Minister for National Development in respect of the demolition and rebuilding of three units of Ellison Building on whether LTA and URA have considered realigning the North-South Expressway without affecting Ellison Building when the alignment plan was announced in 2011 and whether studies were made before arriving at this option. Both the Singapore Heritage Society and ICOMOS Singapore have issued statements in respond to the authorities’ decision to tear down a conservation building.

In response to the recent appeal by the estate of late Mr Lee Kuan Yew on his transcripts, Ms Sylvia Lim has filed questions to ask the Minister for Communications and Information on the status and outcome of the legal proceedings filed by Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang.

An interesting question that is being filed by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: is on whether the Cabinet offered the family of the late former President Ong Teng Cheong the choice to hold a state funeral. He also asked if the cabinet did so, what was the decision of Mr Ong’s family when offered and if not, what were the considerations by the Cabinet in deciding not to offer a State Funeral to Mr Ong’s family.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan, MP for Mountbatten will be filing a motion on the preservation of Dakota Crescent.

1 bill to be read for the second time, the Central Provident Fund (Amendment No. 2) Bill by the Minister for Manpower and is likely to be passed on the day itself because PAP has majority seats. Citizens are advised to read about the amendment bill to see how much changes the amendment will be making to the CPF scheme and how little debate that there will be on the implications that it will bring to CPF members. (read the bill here)

8 bills to be introduced, which includes the controversial proposed amendments to the Elected Presidency (EP) that was initiated by the current President, Tony Tan and followed through by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. PM Lee convened a Constitutional Commission earlier this year to review the EP and the government has accepted the majority of the recommendations by the review committee.

  • Prime Minister – Credit Bureau Bill.
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security – Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill.
  • Minister for Transport – Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Amendment) Bill.
  • Minister for Communications and Information – Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill. 2016 15
  • Minister for Home Affairs – Fire Safety (Amendment) Bill.
  • Minister for Home Affairs – National Registration (Amendment) Bill.
  • Minister for Social and Family Development – Child Development Co-Savings (Amendment No. 2) Bill.
    Second Minister for Finance – Income Tax (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill.

Below are the questions filed towards the various Ministers

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

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether the Cabinet offered the family of the late former President Ong Teng Cheong the choice to hold a state funeral; (b) if so, what was the decision of Mr Ong’s family when offered; (c) if not, what were the considerations by the Cabinet in deciding not to offer a State Funeral to Mr Ong’s family; and (d) whether the Government will consider honouring all past presidents with a State Funeral when they pass on.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Prime Minister (a) over the last five years, what is the number of civil servants engaged in (i) part-time work arrangements and (ii) job-sharing arrangements; and (b) how are Ministries and statutory boards ensuring more mothers and caregivers are provided with flexible work arrangements.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Prime Minister from FY2012 to FY2016 (a) how many meetings of the Council of Presidential Advisers have been held each year; (b) what is the duration of each meeting; and (c) how many Council members attended each meeting.

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

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs what are the guidelines applicable to (i) permissible public speeches and writings undertaken by senior officials including accredited ambassadors and ambassadors-at-large of Singapore (ii) distinguishing between speeches and writings done in a private capacity and in an official capacity by such individuals and (iii) addressing situations where speeches and writings by such individuals may negatively affect Singapore’s national interest.

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

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) when will LTA start enforcement action against errant users of personal mobility devices (PMD) and what will be the intensity of such enforcement action; (b) whether other means such as CCTVs or investigations of public complaints will be used; (c) whether persons who have been in accidents with PMDs can seek assistance from LTA; (d) whether lack of PMD licence plates hinders investigations; and (e) whether LTA will reconsider introducing compulsory insurance.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether there are any further plans or measures to reduce the frequency of accidents caused by personal mobility devices (PMDs) or electric bikes colliding with pedestrians; (b) how does the Ministry ensure that PMD users will avoid using roads; and (c) whether new measures will be introduced to ensure that all electric PMDs in use or being brought into Singapore have appropriate speed limiters and that all PMD users adhere to the prescribed speeds.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Transport how can the Ministry improve the safety of pedestrians given the recent spate of accidents involving e-scooters.

Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for Transport whether there has been an increase in cycling or the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs) on footpaths by persons doing so in groups of two or more and whether such usage by groups is supported by the current design of our footpaths.

Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the tendency of certain cyclists and users of PMDs to switch between footpaths and roadways is a danger to other road users and whether the Ministry considers it necessary to address this issue as part of its deliberations on policy about allowing cyclists and PMD users on footpaths.

Ms Jessica Tan Soon Neo: To ask the Minister for Transport what additional measures can be taken to ensure safety for pedestrians and those who use the escooter especially in areas of high pedestrian traffic and on public roads.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many accidents involving collisions between pedestrians and (i) bicycles or (ii) personal mobility devices (PMDs) have been reported over the past one year; and (b) whether LTA will reassess mandating compulsory insurance by owners of bicycles and PMDs to cover third party claims arising from accidents.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the Ministry can provide an update on the plan to allow users of personal mobility devices to share the pavement with pedestrians in the light of recent accidents involving e-scooters; (b) whether the Ministry is considering making it compulsory for users of e-scooters or equivalent to buy insurance plans that covers third party liability and accident damage; and (c) what are the recourses available to victims who are involved in accidents with users of personal mobility devices.

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Transport whether SMRT will continue to publish detailed financial and operating information when it becomes wholly owned by Temasek Holdings.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Transport if the Ministry will consider requiring all buses to be fitted with intelligent sensors to assist bus drivers when approaching curbs at bus stops as a measure to prevent the elderly from falling between the bus door and curb, especially when alighting.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the progress of the implementation of the Silver Zones; (b) how has the Ministry sought to seek support from motorists; and (c) whether it has reduced the number of traffic incidents among vulnerable residents such as children and the elderly.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry will consider replacing covered metal gratings with smooth surfaces along pedestrian walkways with those that have more friction so as to reduce the number of slips and falls especially among the elderly.

Mr Yee Chia Hsing: To ask the Minister for Transport with regard to the MRT train incident on 22 March 2016, whether it is premature for SMRT to take disciplinary action against staff before the conclusion of investigations and the coroner’s inquiry.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) under what conditions does LTA revoke a Taxi Driver’s Vocational Licence (TDVL); and (b) what due process takes place to enable taxi drivers to have a fair hearing before revocation of TDVLs.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether the intended benefit of noise barriers that are constructed along MRT tracks has been achieved; (b) whether the Ministry will consider covering more areas in which residents’ quality of life has been adversely affected; and (c) whether the qualifying threshold can be lowered to less than 67dBA.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what are the plans to augment LTA’s capabilities due to its expanded role covering the new bus contracting model, new rail financing framework and the future SingaporeMalaysia high-speed rail; (b) whether there are plans to restructure LTA to better execute its role as a regulator, asset owner and industry developer; and (c) what new capabilities will be put in place to ensure better governance and service delivery of the rail and bus services under the new structure.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad: To ask the Minister for Transport what measures are in place to ensure that private-hire car drivers including Uber drivers have adequate insurance coverage to cover injuries and damage to passengers, road users and private property.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) what is the reason for the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) renewal period to be fixed at five years and ten years; and (b) whether the Ministry will allow flexibility for vehicle owners, in particular motorcycle owners, to choose the period of renewal of their choice.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) whether LTA will make public the full report of the Accident Review Panel which investigated the fatal accident that occurred on 22 March 2016 near Pasir Ris MRT station; and (b) whether the Panel had concluded that the train driver was at fault and, if so, how was he at fault.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Ministry will consider scanning commuters and their belongings before they enter MRT stations as is being done in a number of other major cities.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Private Education Institution Student Concession Card for secondary-level homeschooled students can be extended to returning Singaporean children who have completed an examination equivalent to the PSLE while overseas.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Transport (a) how many accidents involving unmanned aircraft weighing 7 kg or less have been reported in the last year; (b) whether such aircraft are allowed to fly close to or above residential estates; and (c) whether a few open areas around the island could be equipped with a short runway and designated as special flying parks for enthusiasts.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Transport whether the Government will consider a review of parking enforcement legislation and policy so that private estate residents parking vehicles in front of their own gates without causing obstruction to pedestrian paths or road users can be exempted from enforcement for parking violations.

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

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 Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for National Development whether there are periodical inspections of HDB buildings to ensure structural integrity especially in mature estates.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for National Development in light of the collapsed sun shield in Tampines (a) whether HDB buildings in mature estates are monitored for structural integrity; (b) whether the designs and materials of older HDB buildings are routinely re-evaluated in light of contemporary data so as to provide an updated risk assessment for (i) internal structural failure and (ii) external facade structural failure; and (c) what other measures will HDB put in place to ensure safety of residents against similar incidents.

Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for National Development what happens to HDB flats that belong to (i) a Singaporean with a foreign spouse who is not a PR or citizen should the Singaporean spouse pass away and (ii) a Singaporean with a foreign spouse who is not a PR or citizen who has Singaporean children who are minors, should the Singaporean spouse pass away.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) since the Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) was launched, how many buyers who applied for a BTO flat under the Scheme have been successful and unsuccessful in getting a flat respectively; and (b) whether there is sufficient help for buyers to live near their parents for mutual care and support.

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 Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) to date, how many HDB blocks under the purview of each Town Council have been selected to be outfitted with solar panels on their rooftops; and (b) how many HDB blocks have been shortlisted for the latest SolarNova tender scheduled for the first half of 2016 and under which Town Councils do these blocks come from.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry can increase the grant allocated to Town Councils given the additional items or amenities required for cyclical maintenance using the Sinking Fund.

Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for National Development in respect of the demolition and rebuilding of three units of Ellison Building (a) whether LTA and URA have considered realigning the North-South Expressway without affecting Ellison Building when the alignment plan was announced in 2011; (b) whether studies were made before arriving at this option and, if so, whether they were disclosed; (c) whether LTA and URA have consulted with stakeholders such as the long-term tenants of the building, residents living in the area and heritage organisations and, if not, what are the reasons; (d) what is the loss in heritage value created by this option; (e) what are the mitigation measures considered before deciding on this option; and (f) why is this decision the best option.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) how does HDB ensure the safety and elderly-friendly features of HDB’s studio apartments in new housing developments are built according to specifications before allowing elderly residents to move in; and (b) who is responsible for fixing such inherent defects if they are detected after the defect liability period.

Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for National Development what laws or regulations are in place governing those who (i) ride motorcycles and other similar vehicles in HDB void decks, pedestrian pathways and parks and (ii) use these areas as convenient shortcuts from HDB car parks to public roads.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider making it mandatory to educate prospective or current residents of “nature-inspired” developments on the appropriate response to wildlife sighted in their areas and why members of the public should not feed wildlife.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in the last five years, how many home owners have been prosecuted or penalised for their air-conditioners falling off from their flats due to improper maintenance; and (b) whether the current measures to protect a person’s safety from falling air-conditioners is sufficient.

Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for National Development whether BCA can enhance the requirement set out in the Code on Accessibility in the Built Environment 2013 for access symbols to be affixed on tables set aside for use by persons with disabilities at eating houses so as to make clear that the fixed seats provided at such tables are reserved for accompanying caregivers, family members or friends of persons with disabilities and not for general use.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what is the progress in the review of the heavy vehicle season parking scheme; (b) when will drivers be able to change their existing season parking location to the location that they desire, subject to availability; and (c) whether there is a plan to build additional car parks for heavy vehicles at Old Tampines Road and Sengkang for residents at Hougang, Compassvale, Rivervale, Anchorvale and Fernvale.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for National Development how does HDB decide on the housing blocks to be given redevelopment priority under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) in the event that their characteristics in qualifying for SERS are similar.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in the past one year, what is the average price difference between BTO flats (with and without subsidy) and resale flats for each flat type in the same district/zone; and (b) what is the average price difference between BTO flats in new towns and mature towns next to the new towns.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in the past one year, what is the average price difference between BTO flats (with and without subsidy) and resale flats for each flat type in the same district/zone; and (b) what is the average price difference between BTO flats in new towns and mature towns next to the new towns.

Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) in the last two years, what is the number of BTO flats that have been returned to HDB after the home buyers failed to meet the conditions stipulated for key collection; and (b) whether HDB can exercise flexibility by allowing these home buyers to sell their existing flat above the racial quota for the block/neighbourhood especially after more than six months of trying to find the right buyer in order to take possession of their new flat.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for National Development how have residents in Yuhua responded to the trial of the Elderly Monitoring System and Utilities Management System and when will these systems be made available to residents in other constituencies.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for National Development for owners of Executive Condominiums who have not completed the Minimum Occupation Period, what sale and accommodation options are available to them when they divorce particularly if they have children.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will consider making it mandatory for all building developers to provide access for future maintenance of the facade of high-rise buildings, such as gondolas.

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for National Development when residents of new estates can reasonably expect free Sunday parking to be made available to them given that normally the response has been to wait for the demand of parking lots to stabilise.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for National Development whether the Ministry will study the use of equivalent-luminance yellow light-emitting diodes (LED) in lieu of conventional white LED light bulbs in public housing estates and shared common spaces in light of the recommendations of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and American Medical Association regarding reducing exposure to blue light in night-time illumination.

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

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Manpower in light of the Q2 2016 Labour Market report wherein it is indicated that there is a rise in the unemployment rate, a lower rate of re-entry and the number of unemployed persons has now outnumbered job vacancies, what is Ministry doing to (i) overcome these three trends including youth unemployment (ii) help the unemployed especially the vulnerable who have a lower re-entry rate and (iii) minimise the skills/jobs/expectations mismatches that have contributed to the unemployment.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) why the rate of employment among locals has remained stagnant over the past 18 months despite the tightening on foreign manpower supply; and (b) what is being done to address and overcome this trend.

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Manpower with the number of redundancies and retrenchment cases reaching record levels in the first half of 2016, how will the Ministry (i) help affected workers especially the PMETs who are the most affected (ii) assist lower-wage workers to find alternative employment quickly and (iii) prepare our workers for new jobs in industries facing poor economic prospects.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether there will be a further rise in job losses in the next 12 months; (b) what are the sectors that are likely to be more impacted; and (c) whether is there a need to tighten up Employment Passes and S-Passes as more local PMETs become available due to increasing job losses and slower job growth.

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Government will review the Employment Pass scheme in light of increasing redundancies affecting PMEs.

Mr Ang Hin Kee: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether there will be enhanced efforts by the various job placement agencies to assist with job matching services for local workers who are retrenched or jobseekers who have been unsuccessful in their job search efforts; (b) what is the Ministry’s assessment of employers’ readiness level in supporting these efforts; and (c) what can employers do to make job vacancies and requirements be made known to jobseekers beyond listing on the national Jobs Bank.

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Ministry has any plans to better help retrenched local workers, particularly PMETs, in their job searching process; and (b) whether the list of Professional Conversion Programmes can be expanded to cover more industries and sectors so that PMETs can have more career options.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Manpower what programmes and initiatives have been created to assist Singaporeans to secure employment and to encourage companies and employers to create new job vocations and opportunities in the present economic climate.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) to date this year, how many PMETs under 40 years of age have been made redundant; (b) what is the rationale to restrict the Career Support Programme for PMETs to those who have been unemployed for six months or more; and (c) whether this restriction to access the programme should be removed for the PMETs.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider upgrading the national Jobs Bank to a national Jobs Registry by (i) making it mandatory for employers to advertise all job openings in parallel within the national Jobs Bank even if the job opening has been advertised through other platforms and (ii) requiring employers to report hiring outcomes to the Ministry.

Ms Jessica Tan Soon Neo: To ask the Minister for Manpower what measures are in place to help displaced workers with new job opportunities and to create more quality jobs.

Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Manpower how are e2i and other relevant job matching agencies beefing up their effort to help Singaporeans find suitable jobs especially those affected by job redundancy.

Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Manpower given the global nature of businesses and the Zika virus threat, whether the Government finds it necessary to raise awareness of employers’ obligations and enable them to put in place response measures such as medical coverage, paid leave and insurance for the protection of female employees.

Ms K Thanaletchimi: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what stringent measures are in place to prevent attempts by groups to use bogus jobs to trick the authorities into approving work permits/passes to foreign workers; (b) what enforcement measures are in place to ensure that employers do not harbour illegal workers; and (c) whether the current penalties are adequate to deter unscrupulous employers from committing such offences of harbouring illegal workers.

Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider reviewing the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS) urgently given that 38% of investors have suffered losses through CPFIS and only 16% of investors in the scheme managed to achieve better than the 2.5% interest rate they would have otherwise earned by leaving their money in the CPF Ordinary Account.

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether he can provide an update on the Ministry’s drive and enforcement in strengthening the Singaporean core including the scrutiny of triple weak companies.

Mr Kok Heng Leun: To ask the Minister for Manpower for each year from 2014 to 2015 (a) what is the number of foreign domestic helpers who have been (i) abused during employment and (ii) abusing the people they are caring for respectively; and (b) of these, what is the number of helpers who have no dayoff monthly or only one/two-days off monthly.

Mr Chong Kee Hiong: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) in the last three years, how many foreigners have been caught for working illegally in Singapore; (b) what are the top three nationalities; (c) what are the top three sectors and occupations they are engaged in; and (d) what measures are being taken to reduce their numbers.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Ministry has asked SMRT for the full grounds for dismissal of the two employees who have been sacked over the fatal accident on 22 March 2016 near Pasir Ris MRT station; and (b) if so, what were these grounds.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the quantum of penalties for workplace safety and health and quantum of compensation for work injuries will be reviewed to promote workplace safety.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Ministry hands out brochures to foreign workers in their native language to educate them about hygiene and work practices here when they first arrive in Singapore; and (b) whether the Ministry is aware that the littering problem in some dormitories is very serious especially during weekends.

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

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider extending the full subsidies for compulsory childhood immunisations recommended under the National Childhood Immunisation Programme for all children who are Singapore citizens at private GP clinics.

Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider providing free immunisations against influenza, T-dap, pneumococcal pneumonia (both Pneumo23 and Pneumo13) and herpes zoster infections for elderly Singaporeans.

Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Health (a) what measures will be implemented to improve the diagnosis and treatment of dementia; (b) whether there is capacity to provide palliative care in dementia treatment; and (c) what support is available to the families of dementia patients

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Health what is the estimated cost increase to employers and the impact on the Budget (as a result of associated tax benefits) involved in making portable corporate medical insurance mandatory.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Health considering that gender bias for Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) can now be blinded, whether the Ministry will consider permitting women with recurrent miscarriages or a history of infertility to seek PGS in Singapore.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Health other than women who are permanent residents or hold Long-Term Visit Pass-Plus passes, whether pregnant non-Singaporean women whose child will become a Singaporean citizen at birth should benefit from Government subsidies for maternity and delivery services at restructured hospitals.

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Health what are the measures in place to detect tuberculosis and reduce its incidence in Singapore.

Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Health (a) which households by income level and housing type have the highest prevalence of diabetes; (b) what strategies are employed to help lower-income families win their war against diabetes; and (c) how is the Ministry working with other sectors to ensure that vulnerable families have access to nutritious, non-processed food given that diet is important in managing the disease but too expensive an option for lower-income homes.

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

Mr Yee Chia Hsing: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether the Ministry can consider requiring pay-TV service providers to reduce their subscription charges on a pro-rata basis when the TV programming content is reduced as consumers may have subscribed to pay-TV services that are bundled with mobile and internet access and the option to cancel pay-TV services alone may not result in savings.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information what is the status and outcome of the legal proceedings filed by the executors of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s estate against the Government in September 2015 on the interpretation of an agreement in 1983 concerning the use of transcripts of interviews conducted by the Government’s then Oral History Department.

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

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Finance in the past 20 years (a) how many Government-related bodies have received qualified accounts or adverse accounts by their auditors; and (b) what are the names of the bodies and the years for which the accounts were so classified.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Acting Minister for Education” load=”hide”]

Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) what is the current employment rate of graduates of special education schools; and (b) what are the efforts to help special needs Singaporeans to find employment.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) beyond having the assistance of allied educators, how does the Ministry ensure that all mainstream schools provide a suitable and inclusive environment for their special needs students where all students can learn to respect differences and develop empathy; and (b) what is the number of special needs students who have switched from mainstream schools to special education schools in each of the past five years and what are the top three reasons given by the students or their parents for the switch.

Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) how do schools handle discussions with students after one of their peers has committed suicide; (b) how do schools work with experts and organisations to support students struggling with suicide; (c) whether every school has access to professionals trained in mental health awareness for students to understand youth suicide; and (d) whether the Ministry can prototype a mindfulness programme that sets aside time for students to have personal and peer-to-peer reflection on how they are dealing with life’s troubles.

Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) what research was conducted amongst teachers and how were their inputs taken into account in the decision-making process for the new PSLE scoring system.

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.

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) whether recent graduates who are seeking employment can leverage on the universities’ resources to seek internships and market exposure opportunities; and (b) whether there is a central database maintained by public agencies or institutions of higher learning for which young graduates can have access to for internship opportunities.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) how many Singaporeans have utilised their Skillsfuture credits so far; (b) what is the total amount of Skillsfuture credit that has been utilised; (c) whether the Ministry intends to provide a top-up to the Skillsfuture credit in light of rising unemployment and the prospect of a skills deficit among some Singaporeans; and (d) on what basis will the Government decide on a Skillsfuture credit top-up for Singaporeans.

[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Home Affairs” load=”hide”] Mr Edwin Tong Chun Fai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what are the considerations in the grant of an exempt operator licence for online gambling; and (b) in the grant of such a licence, what specific measures will be taken to contain and control the potential of remote gambling to cause harm especially to young persons, vulnerable persons and society at large.

Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what are the policy reasons for keeping the criteria for obtaining permanent residency and citizenship opaque and whether there are plans to make them more transparent over time; and (b) what are the circumstantial reasons that justify qualifying a child (under the age of 21) for PR or citizenship while his foreign-born parent, especially those who are the child’s single care-giver, is denied similar recognition.

Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what are the requirements that the stateless need to meet to be recognised as PRs and citizens; (b) whether the stateless can count on having citizen relatives as a positive factor in their applications; and (c) what is the Ministry’s advice for stateless parents who have failed multiple times at getting PR or citizenship for themselves but are now seeking a solution for their Singapore-born children not to be labelled stateless as well.

Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what are the requirements that the stateless need to meet to be recognised as PRs and citizens; (b) whether the stateless can count on having citizen relatives as a positive factor in their applications; and (c) what is the Ministry’s advice for stateless parents who have failed multiple times at getting PR or citizenship for themselves but are now seeking a solution for their Singapore-born children not to be labelled stateless as well.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many arrests have been made last year for attempted suicides; (b) whether police officers making these arrests are trained to follow any specific protocol or approach which differs from arrests for other offences; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider having police suicide prevention practices that do not involve arrests.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the status of the pilot programme for the police to video record statements from suspects; (b) what is the rate of submission of video recorded statements as evidence in trials; and (c) what are the plans to extend video recording of statements from suspects to all cases handled by the police and local law enforcement agencies.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether foreign spouses of Singapore citizens who are mothers of children who are Singapore citizens or pregnant with children who will be Singapore citizens should be issued a special dependant pass so that the mothers will not need to be interviewed by ICA officers at the checkpoints.

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

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Law what is being done to effectively monitor and regulate online providers of legal aid, templates and advice and to ensure that the companies/businesses/legal practitioners providing such an online service are duly qualified and properly regulated by the legal profession and in conformity with the regulations.

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

Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development what are the safeguards to prevent an increase in online gambling addiction in light of the pending approval of exempted online providers.

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.

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development what are the plans or considerations for enhancing home-based care options for young children, seniors and the disabled.

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.

Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what are the past and present reasons underpinning the policy of not recognising children of unwed mothers as legitimate children; (b) what are the best avenues of assistance for single unwed mothers who wish to adopt their own child to make them legitimate but struggle to afford the legal fees to do so; and (c) how does the Ministry protect the welfare of minors whose single unwed mother died without a will and their status of illegitimacy denies them a share of their mother’s assets.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) for the past three years, what is the number of cases of abused women and their children who have sought help from the Ministry for temporary shelter; (b) on average, how long did they stay at these shelters; and (c) whether there is a need for more shelters to be set up.

Ms Sun Xueling: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development what is the percentage of children in a cohort who suffer from learning disabilities and whether there are programmes which the Ministry supports at a pre-school level to encourage children with learning disabilities to learn through play and interaction.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) over the last three years, what has been the number of divorces for each income group of our population and the percentage in relation to the total number of marriages; (b) how many of them involved foreign spouses and what is the percentage in relation to the total number of marriages to foreigners for each income group; and (c) whether there is an upward trend in such divorces and, if so, what are the measures that the Ministry is taking to address the trend.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) how many cases have been mediated by the Commissioner for the Maintenance of Parents in 2015 and 2016; (b) how many cases have been heard at the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents in 2015 and 2016; and (c) what plans does the Ministry have to reduce the number of such cases.

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) over the past one year, what proportion of problem gambling cases has a history of online gambling; (b) what proportion of cases is primarily online gambling; (c) what proportion of cases has found online gambling to be a gateway to offline gambling; and (d) what are the safeguards which the Ministry will introduce to safeguard the public from the harm of online gambling should local betting providers enter the sector.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Trade and Industry” load=”hide”]

Mr Seah Kian Peng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) given the weak economic indicators for the past several months including rising unemployment, slower growth projections and a weak global economic outlook, whether a recession is imminent and, if so, what are some of the measures that the Government is contemplating.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) (a) when did the Competition Commission of Singapore first receive a complaint alleging that EM Services Pte Ltd was refusing to supply lift parts for the maintenance of lifts in HDB estates; and (b) which other companies were investigated by the Commission.

Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) for each year from 2012 to 2015 (a) what is Singapore’s indigenous GDP; (b) what is Singapore’s per capita indigenous GDP; (c) what is Singapore’s indigenous GNI; and (d) what is Singapore’s per capita indigenous GNI.

Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) why the Ministry has stopped publishing the indigenous GDP and GNI in the annual Yearbook of Statistics since 2013.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) how is the Government addressing the sharp fall in private investments which has been contracting for the past two and a half years; (b) what is the Government doing to check the rising number of firm closures this year; and (c) how will falling private investments and economic restructuring affect job creation in the medium term.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) how is the Government helping companies to remain competitive in the global market; (b) whether there are improvements in productivity across various sectors; and (c) whether the Ministry has looked into how local price increases from labour, materials, transport to a stronger Singapore dollar, are impacting on the overall business cost.

Assoc Prof Randolph Tan: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) what has been the achievement rates of expected jobs creation from investment commitments made in the last five years; (b) whether an under-supply of suitable manpower was a factor affecting investment commitments at any point during that period; and (c) whether the Ministry anticipates challenges in the supply of manpower to fill the 16,800 jobs that EDB has reported that its 2015 investment commitments are expected to create.

[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for Defence” load=”hide”] Miss Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Defence whether the SAF will train all servicemen on techniques of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of the automated external defibrillator considering that it is a basic and crucial form of first-aid in the event of a terror attack.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Defence with regard to the recent case where an NSman took the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) on behalf of another NSman (a) how did he gain entry into the camp and whether there was a security lapse; and (b) whether a review was carried out to tighten the security following this incident.

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

Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what is the current value of awards for Paralympic medallists under the Singapore National Paralympic Council Athlete Achievement Awards scheme; (b) whether more can be done to recognise the efforts of our Paralympians; and (c) whether more can be done to raise public awareness of the inspiring stories of our athletes who go through much more challenges than able-bodied athletes.

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether the current rewards for national sports athletes are sufficient; and (b) whether the Government will consider offering equal rewards to Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists.

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether Singapore’s Paralympians should be equally rewarded and recognised as our Olympians for their sporting excellence; and (b) whether disabled athletes should be accorded the same level of infrastructural, funding and training support from the Government as ablebodied athletes.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what are the qualifying criteria for Grassroots Leaders (GRLs) to apply for BTO flats and ECs under the special HDB scheme; (b) how many GRLs benefited from this scheme from 2006 to 2015; and (c) what does the HDB scheme entail.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what is the rationale for pension contributions of $366,000 and $802,000 for 2016 and 2015 respectively as reported in the PA’s Annual Report for 2015/16, when the pension scheme no longer exists; (b) why have these amounts been previously classified as “termination benefits” in past reports; and (c) who are the beneficiaries of these payments.

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) how many grassroots leaders and advisers who receive Government benefits are members of the People’s Action Party (PAP) branches but not volunteers with the People’s Association (PA); and (b) how many are both PAP members and PA volunteers.

Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether the statement of accounts and financial statements of the 2015 South East Asian Games will be disclosed to the public; (b) if so, when and, if not, why not; and (c) whether there are any net gains or deficits incurred by the 2015 SEA Games 2015 and, if so, what are they.
[/accordion] [accordion title=”Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
” load=”hide”]

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether the Ministry will consider imposing a charge on plastic bags at supermarkets.

[/accordion] [/accordions]
For just US$7.50 a month,